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The Herald Interview s Dave Hurford

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DaveHurfordSOME OF the greats of radio started out on hospital radio.

Also, former Radio One DJs Mike Smith, Chris Moyles and Scott Mills – to name but a few – started their broadcasting careers in what were little more than spare hospital cupboards with rudimentary soundproofing and Heath Robinson set ups.

There is a somewhat stereotypical view that hospital radio is not ‘real’ radio because it just caters for the people in the hospital the cupboard happens to be in.

However, hospital radio has joined the 21st century at the Prince Phillip Hospital in Llanelli, as Radio BGM takes to the airwaves and streams live online across the internet.

The Herald paid a visit to what still looks like a cupboard just inside the entrance to the hospital. On opening the door, we were met by Danny, a cheerful, bearded, and zesty soul. There was no sign of a cassette recorder or vinyl – and no sign of bland oldies churned out hour after hour to a captive audience. Danny was playing it all digital and all current music. He had his iPhone linked up to something he called ‘Periscope’, which he explained was streaming video of himself presenting the show to a much wider audience.

The Herald wanted to know what exactly was going on in this thoroughly modern cupboard /studio. Who better to ask than one of the driving forces behind the set-up, Dave Hurford. Dave is a Llanelli man born and bred and attended Old Road Primary School before heading for the posh end of town and enrolling at St Michaels School on the Bryn. We began by asking Dave how he had become involved in radio.

He said: “St Michaels was focussed on learning and it taught you to not just sit down and accept things. It gave you a kick to go out and get what you wanted. I never really looked at it as being a posh school – it

was just a good education. It was a strict upbringing and the school was ruled by a headmaster with a rod of iron. I used to do radio shows and the technical stuff. I always wanted to go into broadcasting but at that time your career path was mapped out – you either went down the mines or into the steelworks. I left school and began a career at Theatre Elli followed by work at a TV company and eventually a stint at Swansea Sound.”

Dave gave The Herald the low down on how Hospital Radio had started. He said, “It started back in the early 1970s in Bryntyrion Hospital. There was a small team of like-minded people interested in getting a hospital radio station together. It was meant to improve people’s time in hospital, helping them to relax. There were a lot of valves and vinyl at that time. The early beginnings were held together on a wing and a prayer. It is not an idea that was unique to Llanelli – it had been trialled in a number of hospitals. It was popular and gained support.”

Dave eventually went to work at the BBC where he works to this day. He is also a sound engineer at the Llanelli Talking Newspaper. Speaking about the early days in radio, he said: “There were a lot of people involved back then who had backgrounds in media. I was self-taught and learned as I went along. I used to do the presenting and the technical stuff. Like all kids, I had practiced in my bedroom with a microphone and cassette player. It was the ‘in thing’ to do to listen to the top forty and record it with your voiceover.”

There is no doubt that hospital radio plays an important part in serving the community. We asked Dave if there was still a future for hospital radio.

He told us: “Hospital Radio is one of these strange mediums which seems to have battled on for many years. Some are approaching 50th anniversaries. It is an amazing milestone when you think how much digital media is available. It is testament to the fact that it has found its own little niche.

“It is so local that you can almost touch it. We get volunteers coming in and we have to ground them to the notion that this is a very local service.

“It is easy to misconstrue hospital radio. It is a huge opportunity for people who are interested in developing a career in radio. There are people looking to change careers and this offers them a chance to learn something new.”

Dave continued: “The Llanelli Talking Newspaper is also important to me and I am very pleased to be associated with that. We take a copy of the talking news and import that onto our system and we play that out on the radio. We are always looking for volunteers. The youngsters we have here move on to university and some go on to work in the industry.”

Dave explained how the programming worked and offered some advice to anyone looking to go into a career in broadcasting.

“We have several programmes that go out through the week. We have a professional play-out system, which helps make it a very professional seamless play-out. It can actually run on autopilot, which means that the people coming in don’t have to have an intensive level of training. The programmes vary depending on the age of the people presenting them.

“I would recommend starting with Hospital Radio if you are thinking of going into broadcasting. It gives you a great chance to hone your skills. We are always looking for volunteers so if anyone is interested, they can pop in or contact us via our website : radiobgm.org. uk.”

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Carmarthenshire Archives’ new building officially opened

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ON MONDAY, November 28, Cllr Rob Evans, Chair of Carmarthenshire County Council, unveiled a specially designed plaque to commemorate the official opening of the brand new Carmarthenshire Archives building.

The official opening was attended by year 6 pupils of Ysgol Y Dderwen, along with their Headteacher Mr Dylan Evans, who designed the plaque by compiling various artwork and sketches that are housed at the Archives.

Established in 1959, Carmarthenshire Archives is the local authority archive service for the County of Carmarthenshire and the new building is located at St Peter’s Street, Carmarthen. 

The service is home to our extensive collection of historic documents that date from the 13th century to the present day. The collection includes archives, maps, books, photographs, videos and sound recordings. It is the Archives’ mission to preserve and make its documents available for general study and research.

Admission to Carmarthenshire Archives is free and open to anyone who wishes to use the Council’s records. Most of its services are free, but we do charge for some extra services and help.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Leisure, Culture and Tourism, Cllr Gareth John commented:

“Congratulations to the pupils of Ysgol Y Dderwen, they have designed an excellent and appropriate plaque that is inspired by the treasure troves of our archives. It was wonderful to welcome them to the official opening so that they can see their work take pride of place at a building that holds great significance to us in Carmarthenshire. 

“This is a brand new and modern building that is fit to keep and protect our county’s most precious historical documents. 

“But of course, these documents are meant to be viewed and studied by school children, students, academics and anybody who has an interest in Carmarthenshire’s rich history; and this excellent facility provides the perfect space for people to come and view these treasures.”

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Llandeilo gas works to begin say Wales & West Utilities

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WALES & West Utilities will shortly begin work to upgrade gas pipes in Llandeilo.

Wales & West Utilities has liaised with Carmarthenshire County Council to plan the work and it has been agreed that work will commence after the town has celebrated the Festival of Senses.

The £123,000 investment scheme, which is essential to keep the gas flowing safely to heat and power local homes and businesses, will begin in New Road on 21 November. This section of work will be complete before Christmas and Wales & West Utilities will return to the town next year to undertake further work in the Crescent Road area. Barring any engineering difficulties, work in the town will be complete by the end of February next year.

Wales & West Utilities Adam Smith is managing this gas pipe upgrade work. He said: “Working with the Council, we have planned this work to accommodate the needs of the town.

“While most of the gas network is underground and out of sight, it plays a central role in the daily lives of people across Llandeilo. Whether it’s heating your home, making the family dinner or having a hot bath, we understand how important it is for your gas supply to be safe and reliable and there when you need it.

“We know that working in areas like this is not ideal, but it really is essential to make sure we keep the gas flowing to homes and businesses in the area, and to make sure the gas network is fit for the future. We’ll have a team of gas engineers on site throughout the project to make sure our work is completed as safely and as quickly as possible while keeping disruption to a minimum.

“This work is essential to keep the gas flowing to local homes and businesses today, and to make sure the gas network is ready to transport hydrogen and biomethane, so we can all play our part in a green future.”

Our Customer Service Team is ready to take your call if you have any questions about our work. You can contact them on freephone 0800 912 2999.

Alternatively, you can contact us on Twitter @WWUtilities or Facebook.com/WWUtilities.

Wales & West Utilities, the gas emergency and pipeline service, brings energy to 7.5m people across the south west of England and Wales. If you smell gas, or suspect the presence of carbon monoxide, call us on 0800 111 999 straight away, and our engineers will be there to help any time of day or night. Before visiting, we’ll ask you to let us know if you or anyone in your household, is experiencing Coronavirus symptoms or self-isolating. We’ll still come and help you: but our teams will take some additional precautions to keep us all safe.

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Police appeal following theft of items from Home Bargains Crosshands

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OFFICERS from Dyfed Powys Police have confirmed that they are investigating the theft of items, including a Christmas Nutcracker Ornament valued at £129.99, from the Home Bargains store in Crosshands, Carmarthenshire.

The theft occurred at about 12:40pm on Tuesday, 27th September 2022.

Officers have carried out all possible lines of enquiry, and are now appealing for help from the public.

They would like to identify the people in the CCTV image, who may have information that could help the investigation.

Anyone who knows who the people are, or if you believe you are pictured, contact Dyfed-Powys Police.

This can also be done either online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.police.uk or phoning 101.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

Please quote reference DPP/2006/27/09/2022/02/C

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.

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