Radio Barnsley - Broadcasting Days.

I first introduced to broadcasting by our friend, the late Jac Hannaford, it was during the 1980's and in those days it was Hospital Radio.   Jac trained me and I had great fun, when I was eventually allowed to operate "the desk".     I would broadcast on a Wednesday evening.  The evening before, after gaining permission from the ward staff at Barnsley General Hospital, I would ask patients if they would like a request to be played on the radio for them I loved that aspect of broadcasting chatting to patients and sometimes listening to their life stories.   Unfortunately I had to give it up when I injured my spine for the second time.

In the mid 90's YMCA Radio Barnsley was formed:- many of the previous hospital radio members were still with the organisation.

A Restricted Service Licence could be granted twice a year and sometimes three were squeeze in, depending upon the time span between the licences.  The regulations set by the then Radio Authority were very strict,  Stan being a Chartered Accountant was asked to be treasurer.

After about a year he was asked to present the Jazz programme, which lasted two hours, he nearly fainted but duly presented himself for training,  It was great helping him to get the tracks together for his programmes, fortunately he has a large collection of jazz cd's.  

Stan just as he was finishing broadcasting his "Two Hours of Jazz", he is looking relieved that all has gone well.


 I got the bug again and asked if I could re-train, the equipment was completely different to the days of hospital radio, I nearly fainted when I saw it.  I shall never forget the night I broadcast "solo", it just for one hour, playing Golden Oldies, I became to be known as "Old Mary", thanks to Dave Richardson who had shown such patience whilst training me.

Jac Hannaford, a much missed friend.  He and Dave Richardson were stalwarts of Radio Barnsley


Studio 2 at YMCA Radio Barnsley.

Below, I am broadcasting from Studio 1 - we had three studios, one was kept free for people preparing their programmes, training purposes and interviews.


I finished up, broadcasting the "Classical Music Hour" on Sunday evenings, two hours of  "Golden Oldies" (Thursday nights)  which I did on my own.

Sunday mornings Stan and I would broadcast together for two hours 7am-9am, my cousin Tony used to come into the studio to answer the phone, take requests and do anything else needed.  It was great fun, Tony was a natural comic, and I had to make sure that the on air red light was off at times, he made us laugh so much.  There was also quite a bit of marital strife whilst the tracks were being played.

Somebody taking my photo when they should have been in the studio with me.

I loved broadcasting although I was rigid with nerves, waiting for the "on air" red light to go on, the best part for me was people ringing in asking for requests.  One particular regular caller was called Percy, he used to try and beat me, by asking for requests which he thought we wouldn't have, it became quite a contest as the weeks went by.  One night I had just come off air and handed over to the next presenter, when the phone rang it was Percy.  I thanked him for his support and we had a chat and a laugh, just as I was ready to put down the phone, he said, "eeeh lass, dunt thank mi, I enjoy listening to thee to see how many misteks tha meks".  Talk about being brought down to earth with a bump, I still laugh about that call.

Stan presented the Jazz programme which lasted for two hours, he was lucky that he has a very extensive collection of cd's, this programme was very popular and he would get many entries for the competition cd.

We spent hours at home preparing for the broadcasts, every track was written down on a card and put the playing order,  there were a few arguments over the use our hi-fi unit.

YMCA Radio Barnsley soon built up a reputation for good broadcasting and although our licence was supposed to cover a six miles radius from the town centre, it extended much further than that.  I would guess that it was heard over sixty miles away.

There was a team of presenters, producers, office staff and others who were very enthusiastic, we all worked well together.  Eventually due to the efforts of Dave Richardson, Rotherham College funded Radio Barnsley for an "accrediation course".  This course was intended to give presenters a qualification in broadcasting, I can't remember if I was pushed into taking the course or if I volunteered, I was probably pushed (thanks Dave).


Waiting to start, just a tad nervous.

The team at YMCA Radio Barnsley was very friendly and we used to help each other out as and when we could.


Happy Days!





The course was in three parts, "Beginner Intermediate and Advanced".    I had no problem with the beginner and intermediate parts,  after all, I had been broadcasting for some time, the advanced (final) was a lot harder.   One ot the tests was conducting an interview without rehearsing, after much thought, I asked my tutor if I could interview our grandson, Kieron.  It was a joy, Kieron was only nine years old but he was keen to participate.  The last question  I asked him was, "What is your favourite piece of music", this was the one thing which I had to prepare, to make sure that I had the music.  He asked for "Spring" from Vivaldi's Four Seasons, I was somewhat taken aback.

I was relieved when I passed with a credit.

Sadly, Restricted Service Licence were stopped and this brought mine and Stan's  broadcasting to an end.

Radio Barnsley is still broadcasting on the internet,  below is the link to it's website, if you wish to listen in.