Sunday, June 23, 2013

Debacle in Shetland: Radio in Shetland

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, I derive a lot of pleasure from listening to radio stations in interesting locales. One of the highlights of spending some time in Shetland was listening to the radio as I drove my hired car around the islands.

Folks in the States will be familiar with NPR/PBS, which you can find in most areas of the States. Of course, NPR/PBS tends to carry a lot of local programming. In the United Kingdom, the BBC is sort of like NPR/PBS on steroids. It's available pretty much everywhere, with multiple stations catering to a variety of audiences and tastes. It's sort of difficult to describe, because it's so different than what radio is like in the States.

Shetland has its own BBC radio presence, and you can listen to their morning bulletin and Good Evening Shetland program(me)s online. In addition to BBC Radio Shetland, there's also the Shetland Islands Broadcasting Company, which plays current hits (more on that tomorrow) and regular Shetland news updates - I can't remember whether or not those updates are the Shetland morning bulletin. When I was in Shetland, the hourly bulletin was focused on a British television drama about Shetland that was going to be continued. The bulletins combined local news with a sort of collective excitement that anyone outside of Shetland would know that Shetland was still there.

One of the cool things that I remember from listening to Radio Shetland was a song that was played a few times while I was driving around. It's by the local band Toxic Flames, and it's called Catch a Shadow. I was sort of skeptical at first, but it turns out that the band consists entirely of high school students who have written, recorded, and distributed their music, and done it all in Lerwick. Have a look at the video:

I, for one, downloaded the mp3 from their website, and was glad that SIBC had brought the song to my attention. In fact, as I'll note tomorrow, SIBC Radio brought several songs to my attention.

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