Lightning strikes and school hols silence Isles FM

The new purpose built Isles FM Studios on Seaforth Road, Stornoway.
The new purpose built Isles FM Studios on Seaforth Road, Stornoway.

The Isles FM airwaves fell silent recently for the longest time since the local radio station began broadcasting in 1998.

Earlier this month the Western Isles’ community station was off air for a week after a lightning strike knocked out its transmitter.

But it was the islands’ school holidays which were the cause of the delay in fixing the fault as mainland engineers struggled to travel to Stornoway as the Isle of Lewis CalMac ferry was so busy!

Isles FM stalwart, presenter and director Glen Denny, expanded: “There was a fault with the transmitter which was caused by a lightening strike at some point and this affected the equipment.

“The wait to fix it though was a wait on our engineers coming over from the mainland,” he continued. “They couldn’t get on the ferry as it was booked out with the summer holidays.

“They ended up coming round by Tarbert; and it only took a couple of hours to fix once they were here!”

Glen added: “It’s been one of the longest times we’ve been off the air in our history though.”

Isles FM serves the Western Isles chain as a community radio station and – discounting a couple of weeks ago – broadcasts to its island listeners 24 hours a day.

The station recently moved to its purpose built home on Seaforth Road, Stornoway; and provides a continuous mix of local news, information and music, with a focus on the community to provide a voice for community groups and organisations.

And Isles FM has proved its worth to the Western Isles time and again, especially in times of disruption due to bad weather with updates, travel info and news. With the transmitter now fixed it’s been business as usual for the radio station– with this week seeing a number of HebCelt special guests and gigs.

From Wednesday to Saturday this week, Isles FM will broadcast its Festival programs with interviews and performances from 1pm to 5pm daily.