By Bruce Rodger, Celtic Music Radio It all began a few weeks ago with a simple conversation over a cup of coffee.... We're Celtic Music Radio, a Community Radio station that broadcasts Celtic, Folk and Scottish-influenced music to the greater Glasgow area. We've been broadcasting continually since January 2008, and before that we had produced several RSLs in conjunction with Celtic Connections, a major music festival which takes place in Glasgow every January/February. Contrary to what some people may assume, our playlist isn't "Tartan, Haggis and Shortbread". We work closely with the traditional music courses at the Universities and music academies. We play lots of contemporary material from local musicians, singer-songwriters and upcoming bands. Good traditional music rather than tourist cheese. Lots of folk and world music. Americana. Blues. Even the occasional "pop" track, as long as there's a celtic/Scottish/folk connection. It's a unique mix, and one that seems to work. The conversation was between two of our presenters. "St Andrew's day is in a few weeks. The Patron Saint of Scotland. I've got a 2-hour show scheduled that day - I think I'll make it an all-Scottish playlist." A very simple concept, and it would probably have made an interesting show on it's own. But by the time the coffee pot had been emptied, the idea had grown. A full 24 hour live broadcast, with an all-Scottish playlist, Scottish guests, Scottish features, Scottish everything! But let's not do it in a parochial way - let's find the best music and guests, and produce a showcase. By this weekend, a dozen of our presenters had been converted to the cause. The Sunday schedule hadn't changed very much other than the addition of a live "night shift", but each of the regular presenters had arranged some very relevant and interesting guests, and an appropriate playlist. We had contacted other community stations throughout the country. If they had any traditional/folk programming, could they send us an audio "greetings card"? Several did, and we played these out throughout the day. Some even offered to use our overnight programming instead of their usual overnight jukebox or sustaining service, so overnight we were heard in other corners of Scotland. We had some big names from the folk and traditional music world in the studio that day, some just for a chat, others doing live sets. These live sets ranged from a simple "one person and a guitar" up to having two full bands - a 4 piece and a 5-piece - in the studio at the same time! The studio was a wee bit cramped at that point. We had guests from the arts and politics world, including a government minister. We made contact with lots of ex-pat performers and listeners, and phoned them on-air. We even did a live link-up with a traditional music show on Mana'o Radio in Maui, Hawaii! The intention was to do a 24-hour live broadcast, midnight to midnight, with all-Scottish content, and we have approached the Guinness records people to verify the uniqueness of this event. In the end, we actually did 27 hours live - Gordon Hotchkiss started the proceedings at 10pm on Saturday with a "setting the scene" broadcast, with the main event kicking off at Midnight, and he was due to also do the final 10pm-midnight session on Sunday. However, we couldn't get him to go home, and eventually dragged him away from the microphone at 1am, when we rebroadcast a 9-hour "highlights" programme. It all finished a few hours ago, and we've had lots of positive feedback. Hopefully the press coverage and sponsorship - we had some very good competition prizes - will have brought in a few more listeners, and raised the awareness of the station. It has been a tiring, but very enjoyable experience! Bruce. -- Bruce Rodger Technical Director Celtic Music Radio bruce at celticmusicradio.net
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