Sunderland at Wembley: Hospital patients can enjoy the action thanks to historic broadcaster

Radio Sunderland for Hospital will be providing live commentary direct from Wembley Stadium of Sunderland AFC’s appearance in the Checkatrade Trophy Final direct to the patients in Sunderland’s Royal Hospital.

By Katy Wheeler
Thursday, 28 March, 2019, 11:55
Bill Bowes, front, with other volunteers from Radio Sunderland for Hospital

The afternoon of March 31, 2019 will be etched into the minds of Sunderland fans everywhere as the Black Cats make their first Wembley appearance in five years when they do battle with Portsmouth in this season’s Checkatrade Trophy Final.

The date will also see Radio Sunderland for Hospitals broadcast live commentary from the game direct from their own sports team at Wembley Stadium for the first time in their 66-year history.

The station, which is run entirely by volunteers, commenced broadcasting in during the 1953/54 season, then providing commentary of Sunderland AFC’s home games live from Roker Park direct to patients of Sunderland’s hospitals. The station has in the past provided coverage of select other local sporting events, but this will be the first time their own team have broadcast live from outside of the region.

Chairman Bill Bowes, who will be anchoring the afternoon’s broadcast, said: “We covered all the home games in the preliminary rounds, so for this occasion we are planning a special edition of our “Sports Scene” programme starting at 2 o’clock, which will be broadcast exclusively to the patients in Sunderland Royal Hospital.

“Through the magic of digital technology we will be able to bring all the atmosphere and action from kick-off until the final whistle. To be able to do a live outside broadcast direct from Wembley is a big achievement for a hospital radio station!”

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Joining Bill on the afternoon’s coverage will be commentators Sean Terry and Jamie McLean, who will be at Wembley Stadium. “The thing with this being a local hospital radio station is that the commentary can be done with red and white-tinted spectacles” said Jamie, who joined the station in 2015.

“It really can provide patients with some additional emotional investment. It is essentially a programme by Sunderland fans, for Sunderland fans – and it should certainly be a fun afternoon. Let’s just hope the result goes the way the majority of us are hoping!”

The commentary will be available for free to patients of the hospital by tuning in to the “Hospital Radio” channel on their bedside media units. As all the radio channels on the units are available free of charge, there will be no cost involved with tuning in and hearing the milestone event.

However, unfortunately due to licensing restrictions, Radio Sunderland’s online Internet feed will not be carrying the programme.