Old Glasgow Club
Minutes of an Ordinary meeting of the Old Glasgow Club held at Adelaide’s, 209 Bath Street on Thursday 8th September 2011 at 7.30pm
Ms Sannachan (President)
Ms Sannachan welcomed all familiar and new faces to her first Ordinary meeting as President. She complimented Mr Gordon on his term as President and thanked him for a smooth hand over.
Ms Sannachan then explained the fire drill.
There were apologies from Eileen Campbell, George Campbell and Lizette Thomson.
The minutes of the last ordinary meeting held on Thursday 14th April were approved, proposed by Sam Gordon and seconded by Margaret Thom. There were no amendments or matters arising.
Ms Sannachan hoped that everyone had a good the summer and that those who participated in club events had an enjoyable time. The feedback from the summer outing was very positive, if only the weather had stayed that way!
The Tappit Hen Bowling tournament was won this year by Isabel Haddow and Ronnie Knox. Ms Sannachan presented Mr Knox with the trophy.
Mrs McNae welcomed everyone to the meeting and commented that the even though there had been no lectures over the summer the club had still been busy with a stall at the Southside Festival and a presence at the Newlands & Auldhouse and Govanhill festivals.
The 2011-2012 leaflets were available and the club would be grateful to any members who could distribute them. The Open Doors day events of the 17th and 18th September would be a great opportunity to circulate leaflets.
September is a busy time with Open Doors weekends around the region. Mrs McNae also pointed out that the BBC Reel History Roadshow would visit Kelvingrove Galleries on the 9th and 10th of September showing archive cine and Pathe films from the BBC Archives.
On the 18th September the Story of Glasgow will be shown at the GFT and there will be an accompanying photography exhibition, “Beautiful Glasgow”, in Café Cosmo.
Mrs McNae commented on the excitement around George Square with the filming of “World War Z” starring Brad Pitt with Glasgow doubling as Philadelphia. She also added that another Hollywood film “The Cloud Atlas” starring Halle Berry and Jim Broadbent was scheduled to start shooting around Montrose St which would double for downtown San Francisco. This September sees exciting times for Glasgow.
Mr Brian Henderson thanked the Club in helping him with an enquiry from a local history group member. A photograph had been identified as the 1905 Pollok House staff dance at Pollokshaws Burgh Halls.
Ms Sannachan introduced Mr Tony Currie who would talk to us on the birth of Radio Clyde. Mr Currie is a broadcaster and writer who is currently a continuity announcer and transmission director for BBC Scotland at Pacific Quay. In 1973 he was the first voice heard on air on Radio Clyde, Scotland’s first independent local radio station.
Mr Currie described a brief history of radio broadcasting in Scotland, from the early, amateur broadcasts of Frank Milligan and George Garscadden in 1922 from 202 Bath Street (the plaque at 141 Bath St commemorates the site of the transmitter). These would be broadcast at night using George’s daughter Kathleen as announcer. This radio station became the basis of the BBC's first Scottish radio station when it was taken over in 1923. Kathleen was then invited by the first station director to join the BBC as a programme assistant. Originally her Children's Hour programme was broadcast only from Glasgow but from 1928 onwards it was broadcast throughout Scotland.
In 1964 Ronan O’Rahilly introduced the “pirate” radio station Caroline off the coast of Essex. Shortly after, in 1965, Tommy Shield’s Radio Scotland 242fm first broadcast from the “Comet” off territorial waters in the Firth of Forth. This station had Scottish announcers, regional accents and adverts. Despite being hugely popular it was not a commercial success and ceased broadcasting in 1967. There was no commercial radio venture in Scotland again until the Independent TV authority advertised for companies to provide a commercial station in Glasgow. Radio Clyde won the tender against Radio Glasgow and in 1973 the station was born.
Radio Clyde was created by a consortium of businessmen and entertainers including Kenneth McKellar and James Gordon. In 1973 its studio was in the Anderson Cross Centre. Mr Currie recalled his interview with DJ Andy Park on the 11th October 1973 where his demo tape was unceremoniously thrown back at him. By 12th November 1973, with 6 weeks to go until the launch date, Radio Clyde 261 was fully manned but the studio was still a building site.
Mr Currie then played a familiar suite of jingles from the Radio Clyde archives, all produced by Dolores Clayman and vocalised by Margaret Savage. Suddenly the Radio station was real at least to the staff. Test transmissions were broadcast from the 7th December 1973. Mr Currie played us a recording of the first stereo broadcast. The studios were officially opened on 14th December 1973 and some programmes were pre-recorded for Christmas day broadcast.
At 10.25 on 31st December 1973 Radio Clyde was live on the airways. There were a few teething problems: The newsreader Paul Murricanes’ microphone didn’t work and he had to sprint into another studio. Hampered by the many journalists and visitors in the building he made it to another mike with only a slight delay. The first song played was aptly “The song of the Clyde” by Kenneth McKellar who at that time was a shareholder in the company. Mr Currie commented on how interesting a character Mr McKellar was. Most people remember him for his tenor voice but he was also a scriptwriter for people such as David Frost and Monty Python. He also had a short lived comedy programme which Mr Currie also worked on.
After the bells on 1st January 1974 there was a live link up to Glasgow Cross for the Hogmanay celebrations. Mr Currie also manned the telephones all night.
Mr Currie then reminisced about some of the original characters on the “261 team”.
Mr Currie has written a book (“Not Quite All Together Now”) about the experience which recounts all of this and more.
Members and guests then asked some questions.
Q. Is it true that radio reception changed after daylight?
A. Yes. Medium Wave was almost unusable in the dark. Band width shrunk to 20 miles.
Q. Who brought in sports commentator James Sanderson?
A. Mr Currie said that his wife, who also worked at the station was responsible for introducing him.
Q. The first advert on the station was for police recruitment and was over 1 minute long. Was this too long and did anyone respond?
A. Definitely too long, advert times were cut to 30 secs or less and no, no-one responded.
Q. As someone who has worked in both the radio and television industries what do you prefer?
A. Definitely radio. Television is complicated since there are many people between you and the audience. With radio it is just you talking directly to the people out there.
Vote of Thanks
Mr Graeme Smith thanked Mr Currie for his highly entertaining and amusing talk.
The photograph was of the stone in Glasgow Green commemorating the spot in 1765 where James Watt conceived the idea for a separate condenser for the steam engine which he patented in 1769
Next Directors Meeting- Thursday 6th October 2011
Next Ordinary Meeting – Thursday 13th October 2011
Ms Sannachan wished all a safe journey home.
P Cairns, Recording Secretary.