Motown, microphones and mistakes: Recorder reporter takes to the airwaves on Goodmayes Hospital radio

“I hate the sound of my voice!” is not something I expected to be broadcast saying on live radio.

But, as I learnt at my first appearance on The Jumbo Sound, radio is not a predictable affair.

I also learnt that the ‘on air’ light really means you are on air and people can hear what you say even if music is playing - won’t be making that mistake again.

I was invited along as a guest at the resident station at King George and Goodmayes Hospital to experience a live show.

I joined Tuesday night show Sounds Easy with presenter Phil Lester and fellow DJs Martin Levin, Neil Perkin and Jack Target.

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Phil has been doing the easy listening show for nearly a decade.

He said: “I answered a call for volunteers from Goodmayes Hospital and after six weeks of training I had my own show.

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“When I first saw all the knobs and switches and sliders, I thought I was going to pass out.”

Looking at the bewildering array of sliders, switches, buttons and screens, I knew how he felt.

But luckily, with Phil at the helm I didn’t have to worry too much about pressing the wrong button and frying the equipment.

The Jumbo Sound broadcasts through King George Hospital and Goodmayes Hospital and to anyone who wants to listen on the internet.

So sitting at the mixing desk with a giant microphone in front of me, I started to get a bit nervous.

Phil eased me in gently by asking me a few questions about the life of a local journalist.

So I told him about the team at the Recorder and what we all get up to before getting to choose a song (Through the Grapevine by Martin Gaye - classic).

I was gently grilled on reporting life, famous people I’ve met, interesting experiences and even the complaints the paper gets (not many).

As a journalist, it was bizarre to be on the other side of the questioning but I got used to it and relaxed into the routine of chatting between tracks and choosing songs in no time.

I’m not usually an easy listening person so my music taste came off as a tad bizarre, veering from Motown to Tchaikovsky.

The Waltz of the Flowers, from The Nutcracker, offered rich punning opportunities to Martin, who asked if they were self-raising.

Unfortunately, he wasn’t mic’ed up for the audience to appreciate the joke.

In fact, they missed a lot of off-air banter between accountant Martin, student Jack and technician Neil.

They are all old hands at The Jumbo Sound, which started at Goodmayes Hospital in 1977 and expanded to King George Hospital when it opened on the site in 1995.

It gets a small grant from the NHS trust but is run entirely by volunteers and relies on donations to cover running costs.

I was not the first guest in the studio that has hosted MPs and mayors for the many fundraising shows.

We joked, chatted, played requests and occasionally sang along and in no time the show was over.

It was great fun being on the airwaves but in the future, I think I’ll stick to print. For everybody’s sake.

To listen to The Jumbo Sound or get involved, visit

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