A new radio station that promises to shake up the local broadcasting scene launches soon. Eddie Gibb tunes in to the new sound of Scotland.

It could have been a country and western station. a 24-hour news service. or even a Christian-based broadcaster. but it wasn‘t any of these. Then for a while we thought it was going to be a cross between Radio 2 and Radio Scotland. inevitably tagged the People Is Friend of the air. But it isn't going to be that either.

Scot FM. winner of last year's battle for a licence to broadcast across Central Scotland. turns out to be much more adventurous than was apparent from company chairman Sir David Steel's early comments. The formula. according to the station‘s managing director Tom Hunter. is ‘rock ‘n‘ talk‘.

‘We’re not interested in English news. International, European and Scottish news

is where we’re at.’

The rock will be very much ofthe adult orientated variety. The playlist of well over 1000 tunes already programmed into the station‘s jock- baffling computer system rounds up most of the top-selling CD artists from Q-land: REM. Simply Red. Bryan Adams. Sting. Like Richard Branson‘s AOR station Virgin 1215 launched last year. Scot FM comes with an unwritten pledge never to play 2 Unlimited or their ilk. The music is chosen to ensure

T?‘t“-*‘§<e \ '.~.-'.

The main presenters at

its core adult listeners aren‘t tempted to

reach for the dial. But music isn‘t really the primary objective of Scot FM. Most of its

presenters are journalists rather than

DJs so there will be no Smashie ‘n‘

Nicey backchat. Scot FM is talk radio

with music. not the other way round. The station‘s star signing is Chris

Mann. lured back to Scotland from

London‘s LBC fora reputed £130,000

; salary. ‘We find it incredible.‘ wailed

one ‘insider‘ to the Scottish Sun. ‘How can he be worth that much? He‘ll be earning four times tnore than the rest of us.‘ Big salary stories. lirst allowed to run then modestly denied. are an established PR stunt for any corporate launch. Whether or not it‘s true. the story set the tone for Scotland‘s newest commercial radio station -- thrusting. aspirational. slick.

The main outlet for new music will be Scotrock. a weekday evening show by Bruce Findlay. former Simple Minds manager. who promises to play young

Scottish bands with some specially-

recorded sessions. plus news and gossip

for the local music scene. Plans are

E taking shape to include arts coverage. with information on upcoming events. 1 during Gerry Burke‘s afternoon show.

Hunter has a raft of statistics corralled to prove Scottish listeners are ready for more choice. Certainly Radio 1's much

publicised haemorrhaging of listeners ; demonstrates a fundamental shift in the radio market. in London. well over half of all listeners tune into commercial

stations. of which there are many to chose from. including specialist music. pure talk and ‘Gold‘ classics.

In Scotland. there's the BBC. plus Clyde or Forth. depending which side ofthe country you live on. Clyde is reckoned to have 50 per cent ‘penetration‘. if you‘ll excuse the jargon. which means around halfthe

Scot FM’s leith H0: (left to right) Gerry Burke, Paul Martin Davis. Chris Mann and Brian Ford

people that could listen to it do. and Forth has similar reach. Hunter offers this as evidence that there‘s room for another station: surely they can‘t all be happy with the existing choice. he argues. According to Scot FM- commissioned market research. 80 per cent of listeners are unhappy with the speech content of their favourite radio station.

‘The thing about not being the BBC is that we can be a bit more anarchic. Radio Scotland just goes at you with its own agenda, we’ll give a voice to the ordinary listener.’

‘The thing about not being the BBC is that we can be a bit more anarchic.‘ says Hunter. ‘Radio Scotland just goes at you with its own agenda. we‘ll give a voice to the ordinary listener.‘ Phone- ins will form a large part of the speech- based content. including a late night show presented by Margo McDonald

(or mamma Scotland. as Hunter

cheekily refers to her). For hard news. Scot FM is tooled-up

to offer a different service from its

commercial competitors. Unusually. it has passed over the London-based lRN news service subscribed to by most

independent stations and opted for Reuters as back-up for its team ofeight

journalists. ‘We‘re not interested in

English news,‘ says Hunter. ‘lnternational. European and Scottish

news is where we‘re at.‘

if Scot FM‘s presenters are as punchy

as its managing director. it promises to

start rattling a few cages.

Scot FM begins brunt/castings 0/1

F riduy [6 September on [00.3/7M (m the west must and 10]. [FM on the east

I Songs for Bosnia is a new mini album from Edinburgh Direct Aid uniting top Scottish musicians such as Donnie Munro of Runrig with Mick MacNeil and Derek Forbes (both formerly of Simple Minds) and The Poozies‘ Mary MacMaster. The album also features two versions of a haunting song from Bosnian singer Edin Topic. All the artists gave their services free and the manufacture ofthe disc has been sponsored. All proceeds will be used to deliver aid direct to the people of Central Bosnia. .S‘migsjor Bosnia is available from record shops or by mail order (CD £3.99/cassette £2.99 inc. p&p) from ‘Clamjamfray‘ Edinburgh Direct Aid. 29 Starbank Road. Edinburgh EH5 3BY.

I Charter 88 The Edinburgh section of this constitutional reform pressure group is organising a series of open meetings at the Friends Meeting House. 7 Victoria Terrace. Edinburgh. over the autumn and winter. The initial meeting on Thurs 15 Sept at 7.30pm will discuss Campaigning Priorities and Charter 88 Demands.

I Rust Action Faslane Peace Camp has organised a mass action for Mon 19 Sept to demonstrate against the arrival of a second Trident submarine at Faslane. the increased road construction there and the Criminal Justice Bill (which would outlaw future actions at Faslane). Gather at the Peace Camp from Sat 17. The Peace Camp is at Shandon. a few miles up the A814 from Helensburgh. phone 0436 820901 for further details.

I LETS Trade Two Local Exchange Trading Schemes in Glasgow are holding exchange events where new members will be welcome. The West Glasgow LETS meet at the Cottier Theatre. Hyndland Street on Wed 14 Sept at 7pm. contact P. Boase on 041 339 3064. Kelvingrove LETS meet at 2/R. 6 Melrose Street on Wed 21 Sept at 8pm. phone Tao on 041 353 1546 to confirm.

I Benefits The Edinburgh Lesbian Line (Mon—Thurs. 7.30—10pm. ()31 353 1550) is holding a fundraising Country and Western. women only disco on Sat 10. Rpm—lam. at the Cafe Royal. 17 West Register Street. Entry £3 (£1.50). The Glasgow Gay and Lesbian Centre Project is holding a fundraising ceilidh at the People‘s Palace. Winter Gardens. Glasgow on Sun 18. 7pm—midnight. with the Cameronian Ceilidh Band. Entry £6 (£5).

I Advance Notice SEAI). Scottish Education and Action for Development is holding a conference on ‘Shifting the Balance: People. Power and Participation‘ at the Caird Hall. Dundee on Sat 1 Oct. 10am—5.30pm. The conference will be of interest to ‘anyone who thinks democracy isn‘t working particularly well in Scotland and wants to make it work a little better.‘ according to SEAD‘s director Linda Gray. Registration costs £10 (£4 low income) and forms are available from 031 225 6550.

I It you have news of any events or courses which you want publicised in this column, please iorward them to ‘Actlon’ at The list, 14 High Street, Edinburgh EH1 HE and include a day- time phone number.

The List 9——22 September 1994 5