Penguin Random House | London, 05/11/2020

Audiobooks For Hospital And Prison Radio Stations

Subject: Corona, Media & Services, Society
Country: Great Britain
Category: Charitable Donations

Penguin Random House UK is donating audiobooks to the nationwide radio stations for hospitals and prisons in the country with the aim to offer comfort and escape to patients and prison inmates. They are among the groups that are especially cut off from the outside world due to the lockdown.

Audiobooks have experienced a boom in popularity in recent years. Now, the lockdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic have given them even more momentum. Never before has it been more “in” to listen to audiobooks for distraction. Since this applies to both patients in hospitals and inmates in prisons, Penguin Random House UK has now decided to provide these institutions with audiobooks. The publishing group is donating 30 specially selected audiobook titles to Hospital Radio as well as National Prison Radio, each broadcast nationwide in the institutions. Siena Parker, Head of Creative Responsibility for Penguin Random House UK, said: “Listening to an audiobook can help you escape into another world. We hope that these donations will help to offer comfort, lift spirits and provide much-needed entertainment to some of the people most affected by the current crisis.”

The Hospital Broadcasting Association is a charity supporting a network of 200 volunteer-run hospital radio stations which broadcast direct to patients’ bedsides in every National Health Service (NHS) hospital in England. Since there are strict limitations on visiting patients in hospital during the current crisis and therefore even less distraction, radio is taking on an especially important role. Nigel Dallard, a Trustee of the Hospital Broadcasting Association said: “Whilst some patients might have a smartphone or tablet and the ability to download e-books to read whilst in hospital, many will not. This kind offer from Penguin Random House will enable hospital radio stations to broaden the entertainment they are able to offer to include audio books as well as the music-led programs that are the mainstay of hospital radio, helping to relieve the anxiety and boredom of a stay in hospital.” The audiobooks include titles by bestselling authors such as Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake, Kate Atkinson, Philip Pullman, Laurie Lee and Katie Fforde.

For National Prison Radio, Penguin Random House has selected titles by Stormzy, Lee Child and Andy McNab, as well as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, among others. Lee Child will be taking part in a Q&A for broadcast on the radio station, with inmates submitting questions in advance. The radio station is made by prisoners, for prisoners, and is broadcast live into the cells of 110 prisons across England and Wales. The station is run by the Prison Radio Association charity and aims to communicate with prisoners and engage them in deduction, debate and community – aiming to reduce recidivism. 76% of prisoners listen to the radio station. Currently, prisons in the country are subjected to particularly strict lockdown measures since they have confirmed cases of coronavirus which might spread quickly through the institutions. A prisoner at HMP Channings Wood said: “Listening to audiobooks helps me with anxiety and stress release.”