Record Hospital is the underground rock department on the Boston-area radio station, WHRB 95.3 FM. Harvard undergraduates and alums serve as the department's DJs and hold administrative positions within the department such as Music Director. "Departments" at WHRB refer to a group of members who work collaboratively on a specific area of the station's operations (i.e. Business, Classical Music, Jazz, Record Hospital, etc.) Record Hospital is usually referred to as "RH" by members of WHRB.
"Record Hospital" began in 1984 as the name of the new WHRB program aired by the station's Rock Department, replacing the department's "Plastic Passions" program. It was started by a small group of dedicated DJs who were interested in broadcasting music that did not have a significant presence in mainstream radio or other media, notably Patrick Amory and Jim Barber. It has continued in this same vein and plays a variety of punk, hardcore, indie pop, noise, psychedelic, no wave, and other forms of underground or experimental music. The music played generally falls under the DIY ethic.
Record Hospital's predecessor program at WHRB's Rock Department (as it was then called) was Plastic Passions. The Plastic Passions show took its name from a song of the same name by The Cure.
Rock Comment Book
Since its inception, Record Hospital DJs have maintained a "Rock Comment Book" (RCB) to keep in touch with the rest of the department and keep up to date with the changing national music scene. These books are all kept in the department's record library and are accessible to all members. The Boston Phoenix conducted an interview with current members in Spring 2008, presented a sampling of old RCBs, and described them as "Pre-Internet Message Boards."
Record Hospital Fest
The department hosts an annual fest every spring. Past performers have included Ampere, Off Minor, Daniel Striped Tiger, Sinaloa, Death to Tyrants, Lucky Dragons, Dreamhouse, Carlos Giffoni, Tim Hecker, The Body, Heathen Shame, Libyans, Social Circkle, Brain Killer, Tiny Hawks, and the Skaters.
Record Hospital has been known to host a number of local and touring bands in the station for live broadcasts of their sets as well as for recordings. Past bands have included Ho-Ag, Caspian, Conversions, Daniel Striped Tiger, The Folk Implosion, Portraits of Past, and Brain Killer.
Alumni from the department, referred to as ghosts, have become well known as writers, journalists, music industry executives, and musicians themselves. A few of the more notable ghosts include Patrick Amory, journalist Kelefa Sanneh, writer Douglas Wolk, blogger Peter Rojas, writer Zach Baron, James Barber (ex-Geffen exec; former boyfriend of Courtney Love), literary critic Stephen Burt, members of Fat Day, Eloe Omoe, Lucky Dragons, Miss Teen Schnauzer, and Bishop Allen (formerly in the group Pissed Officers).
- Record Hospital, .record hospital., retrieved 2008-10-05
- Boston Phoenix article, Ancient Pre-Internet Message Boards Unearthed at Harvard, retrieved 2008-10-05