Ipswich/Aldeburgh: John Alborough’s 40 years on the air for patients
18:45 21 July 2014
He’s just completed four decades on air, has listeners around the world and can’t be kept away from the studio, even by heavy snowfall.
John Alborough has been presenting on Ipswich Hospital Radio since 1974, dominating Thursday evenings with his ever-present show.
The programme is called the Alborough Festival, a twist on the well-known summer event in Aldeburgh.
Mr Alborough, who lives in Syleham on the Suffolk/Norfolk border, said he first went along after another volunteer mentioned it to him in conversation.
And since then he hasn’t looked back, saying the best thing about the role is the reaction from patients when they have a request played.
“The hospital is still very much the focus and there’s nothing better than walking onto a ward and talking to someone,” Mr Alborough said. “It’s something for them to talk about as a distraction from illness.
“We have more little letters and notes and emails than we’ve ever had in all these years because the system is so improved.
“Now it’s digital and people listen through proper systems with the headphones you use on your phone, it’s a much better quality.
“We’re also on the web so people can send in requests from home for someone in hospital.”
Regular listeners to the Alborough Festival can be found in Poland, Dublin and South Carolina.
And Mr Alborough doesn’t like to disappoint those tuning in – even when the elements try to keep him away.
During a snowstorm in the 1970s when he was living in Debenham it became clear the journey into Ipswich was not going to be a successful one.
So instead the previous presenter stayed in the studio to run the desk while Mr Alborough did all of his links over the phone.
Despite all the technological advances, the station still plays vinyl records and has a substantial collection.
Mr Alborough said they are very proud of the collection and added they were sometimes asked to lend records to the fledgling BBC Radio Suffolk.