Monty Lister interviews The Beatles

Radio Clatterbridge to celebrate 70th anniversary on Friday 9 April

Radio Clatterbridge will mark its 70th birthday with a special day of programmes on Friday 9 April. 

The station began broadcasting in 1951 when members of Port Sunlight Boys Club hit upon the idea of taking a record player onto the wards to play music for patients to entertain them.  

Initially it had a mixed reception: those closest to the speaker complained it was too loud, while those at the far end of the ward couldn’t hear the music.  

But the hospital authorities were convinced the idea had merit and agreed to fund a studio and a transmission system connected to each bed, and programmes were also broadcast to Cleaver Hospital in Heswall via a telephone landline.   

The station famously recorded the first radio interview with The Beatles in 1962, at Hulme Hall in Port Sunlight (pictured top).

Early volunteers collect patient requests
Early volunteers collect patient requests

Founder member Monty Lister – who sadly passed away in 2019 – also recorded conversations with huge chart stars including Sir Cliff Richard, Bill Haley and Gracie Fields, as well as one of the last interviews with Eddie Cochran before his untimely death in a plane crash.

Extracts from some of the interviews will be broadcast as part of the birthday celebrations, along with other archive audio and the most popular requests from the last seven decades.  

Radio Clatterbridge Chair, Steve Evans, said: “We’re really proud to have been serving the Clatterbridge Health Park for 70 years, in particular over the past year when the NHS has played such a vital role in the battle against Covid-19.  

“The pandemic means we can’t have studio visitors or a big get-together for members past and present, but we will be marking the occasion by playing the most requested songs from over the years along with vintage interviews and telephone conversations with members past and present.  

“Sadly, some of the individuals who played a pivotal role in making the station the success it is today have passed away in recent years, including founder member Monty Lister and our patron Sir Ken Dodd. Fortunately, our extensive audio archive means their memories and recollections will live on forever.   

“Despite the passage of time, our prime aim of providing music therapy for patients remains the same. We know from the feedback we get from listeners that there is still a place in 2021 for a hyper-local radio service providing requests, relevant information and entertainment.”  

The studio is ready after its deep clean
The studio today

To find out more about Radio Clatterbridge’s history, click here.