Celebrating Scotland’s radio volunteers keeping community stations on the airwaves

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THE hard work and dedication of island volunteers who help keep local radio station Isles FM on the airwaves is celebrated in a BBC ALBA Trusadh programme featuring stories from community stations around Scotland.

Set up in 1998 and the most north westerly community radio station in the UK, Isles FM has been a great success leading to plans being put in place for a new purpose built building to replace the station’s current home.

Isles FM is just one of a number of such stations which daily keep listeners up to date on local information and news as well as adding hours of music and entertainment to the mix.

Trusadh: Community Radio takes a look at this army of volunteers who keep radio stations broadcasting and, although each community station is unique in profile and the programming it provides, the dedication of the volunteers is common to all.

In Fort William, Nevis Radio’s longest serving volunteer presenter is Calum Smith, who has – for the last 16 years – shared his own blend of traditional Gaelic songs every Thursday evening from a personal collection of over 200 well worn tape cassettes.

On the south side of Glasgow, the profiles of two community radio stations are significantly different – Sunny Govan continues to go from strength to strength and recently featured on Channel 4’s ‘The Secret Millionaire’ when they received a significant donation towards the work the do in championing the underprivileged within their challenging broadcast area.

And the city’s Awaz FM was the first radio station in Scotland to be granted a licence which allowed them to serve their predominantly Asian audience. The show looks at how they’ve now expanded their service to embrace smaller immigrant communities in there area.

John Joseph MacNeil first got into community radio as a founder of Siar FM on his native island of Barra. Having moved to Glasgow recently, Trusadh meets John Joseph as he continues his passion for community radio with his own how in Glasgow on Celtic Music Radio, on the north side of the city.

Moving to the islands and over in Skye, the diversity of volunteers on local stations I amply demonstrated by DA MacLeod from Portree who is a pharmacist by day and a radio presenter by night!

Viewers will see DA in action as one of a group of three presenters of Balaich nam Port, a popular traditional dance music series programme which is broadcast every Friday night, and goes out on Cullin FM and Two Lochs Radio.

Trusadh: Community Radio – on air on Monday, March 7, at 9pm – offers a snapshot of local community radio stations and the enthusiastic army of volunteers who give there area a voice – and an insight into the amateur DJs who have become celebrities in their local region!