The initial seeds of Celtic Music Radio go back to 2003 when a group of like minded people realised that this genre of music and the culture of Scotland was not getting the exposure it deserved, and that artists were marginalised and perceived a ‘social gain’ need to support emerging new artists and to keep the culture alive.
The team included people with a wide range of radio experience as well as a background in Glasgow’s folk club scene, higher education in music and technical expertise.
Celtic Music Radio then moved to accommodation at Livingstone Tower within the city campus of the University of Strathclyde in the summer of 2006.
Celtic Music Radio Limited (SC271561) was registered at Companies House, Edinburgh on 4th August 2004.
Applying for an Ofcom broadcast licence
After an unsuccessful bid of a full time Community Radio licence in June 2005, the group decided to progress by putting into practice elements of the licence proposition using Celtic Connections, as a showcase and trial.
An Ofcom RSL (Restricted Service Licence) was arranged to tie-in with the Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow during January 2006 with Celtic Music Radio on 106.6 FM broadcasting for the first time from The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall for the 22 days of the festival which included 66 hours of live stage performance broadcast.
Pictured left include Gordon Hotchkiss and siting Bill Morris at the first broadcast of Celtic Music Radio during Celtic Connections in January 2006.
A broadcast team was assembled including experienced broadcasters such as Gordon Hotchkiss (formerly of Radio Clyde) and a mix of individuals new to broadcasting, production and presentation including Bill Morris and Liz Clark. Students from the Broadcast Journalism course at Bell College, Hamilton, Lanarkshire (now UWS) and students in HNC Radio Broadcasting and HNC/HND Sound Production from North Glasgow College also supported the first broadcasts.
During 2006 a relationship with the University of Strathclyde brought about a partnership to deliver mutual rewards in educational gain and support.
Building the studio base
Celtic Music Radio acquired broadcast studio equipment in July 2006 which was formerly used at Lanarkshire local commercial radio station Clan FM/107 The Edge.
This made Celtic Music Radio self sufficient for a second RSL which was granted for Celtic Connections 2007.
An ‘Awards for All Scotland’ National Lottery grant enabled a computer playout system to be purchased which allowed the station to launch an internet streaming audio service.
The internet service launched on Monday 3 September 2007 to coincide with another Ofcom RSL broadcast for the 8th Scottish International Piano Competition 2007, a festival of piano playing and music from 5-15 September 2007 from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Glasgow and The City Halls, Candleriggs, Glasgow.
Ofcom Community Radio full-time licence
Celtic Music Radio applied for a Ofcom Community Radio licence applications in January 2007 was awarded an Ofcom Community Radio Licence on 11 July 2007 to broadcast to Glasgow on 1530 AM on the medium wave band.
During the summer and autumn of 2007, the station progressed building the new transmission facility.
The transmitter and aerial system was commissioned by Ofcom engineering staff and given the all clear for Celtic Music Radio to commence regular programming transmissions on 1530 AM at 15:30 on Wednesday 16 January 2008.
Going from strength to strength
Celtic Music Radio on 1530AM and streaming on the internet continued to develop programming and connections within our community of interest.
During 2008 singer-songwriters such as Ciaran Dorris, Mary Kathleen Burke and Stevie Lawrence joined the team. Their individual style of programming adds another layer of unique flavouring to Celtic Music Radio as well as making much valued links to Scotland’s music community.
In September 2009 the first fundraising concert was held at the Old Fruitmarket in Glasgow. Supporting Celtic Music Radio by appearing on the bill were: The Duplets, Craig Jeffrey, John Malcolm, Dean Owens, Kim Edgar and Eliza Carthy.
Celtic Music Radio also broadcast many concerts from acts such as Red Hot Chilli Pipers, Juliet Turner, Yvonne Lyon, Wendy Arrowsmith, Bellevue Rendezvous, Bruce Molsky, Patrick Bullen & Vivien Scotson, The Duplets, The National Youth Pipe Band, and Rallion amongst many others.
The Celtic Music Radio Album of the Week is covetted by the bands and performers who received the award. Such artists have included: Dave Gibb, Alan Reid & Rob van Sante, Andi Neate, The Paul McKenna Band, The Sands Family, John Malcolm, Craig Jeffrey, Aly Bain & Phil Cunningham, Nick Keir and Ockham’s Razor.
Celtic Music Radio continues to cover the Celtic Connections festival every January with our listenership peaking at 105,000 during the 2015 festival.
In January 2010, Celtic Music Radio Limited registered as a Scottish Charity with OSCR, the Office of Scottish Charity Regulator with the registered Number SC041172. This allows applications for grant funding to further expand activities. You may wish to donate towards our running costs.
Switchover to FM
Celtic Music Radio applied to Ofcom for an FM broadcasting licence and was successful with an award announced on 17 July 2012.
Ofcom allocated Celtic Music Radio the 95 FM frequency to cover Glasgow city and the station launched on 95 FM at 12 noon on Tuesday 1 July 2014, closing down the 1530AM service.
Transmission on 95 FM across Glasgow brought Celtic Music Radio to a new audience in many parts of the city with improved reception and better sound quality.
A New Home
After moving from Livingstone tower, Celtic Music Radio spent a short time in Buchanan House with Glasgow Caledonian University.
In February 2016, the station moved to its current base in Kinning Park, Glasgow.
After much hard work, our team has created 3 broadcast studios in our new home. As well as a room where we hold house concerts, we also have a brand new kitchen!
We continue to develop Celtic Music Radio for the benefit of our listeners and the musicians we seek to support.
Watch this space!