An internet radio station operating out of Scotland is to celebrate its tenth birthday next month by broadcasting live, with all its volunteer presenters – including former Herald newspaper diarist, David Belcher, and well-known music broadcaster, John Cavanagh – in attendance.
What usually happens with Radio Six International is that programmes are recorded in advance and then set up for streaming on the internet at times to suit audiences switching on their computers in different parts of the world. But on the 13th of next month, the station – which is run by BBC Scotland announcer, Tony Currie – is to broadcast live, non-stop for 24 hours.
Being an internet station, there will be, at any one time, only a limited number of people able to 'tune in', because of bandwidth restrictions. But those able to gain access to www.radiosix.com will be treated to a continuous stream of mostly 'world music' plus news, on the hour, every hour.
Currie has a radio studio in the basement of his Glasgow home and it was son, Leo, who – ten years ago – suggested he start up an internet station.
Begins Currie: “Because of my background in radio, including helping found Radio Clyde, I had assumed that setting up a radio station was a long, drawn-out affair, involving a couple of years before you knew whether your broadcasting licence application had been accepted or rejected. Leo said: 'It's ten to five, do you want to start at five?'”
About 90 minutes of music each day is commercial, and requires to be paid for. But Radio Six International neither carries advertising nor charges for the programmes it provides other stations, including 18 hours a week for WorldFM in Wellington, New Zealand, and five hours for Big L International, in the Netherlands.
“I pay for it, because it's my hobby, as other people pay to watch football,” adds Currie.
The rest of the station's output is mainly made up of music by unsigned acts, looking to be showcased.
With listeners in 172 countries and 33,000 listeners a year logging in, the programmes of this not-for-profit enterprise can also be heard on AM, FM and shortwave frequencies.
Every week, specially-produced programmes are recorded in studios in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Belfast, Derby, London, West Virginia and Los Angeles and electronically beamed to the station’s HQ on Glasgow’s south side before being delivered to its international audience.
Previous live broadcasts have included a programme from a former pirate radio ship anchored off the coast, a series of performances from Glasgow’s ‘Arches’, and a St Andrew’s Night concert for all of Scotland’s west coast community stations.
As well as Currie, Belcher and Cavanagh, other volunteers include John Collins, Thea Newcomb, Graham Anderson, George Burton, Kenny Tosh, Karen Miller, Spike Naismith, Robert Wallace, Moira Kerr, Diana Luke, Mike Marwick, Dominic Forbes, Tim Jones, Dan Roberts, Judy Gruber and Alyson Woodhouse.