Radio Officers on BBC Alba

We have received the following information from ROA member Hamish Taylor concerning the broadcasting of a programme of interest to Radio Officers. The channel is BBC Alba whose target audience is Gaelic speakers in Scotland and the programme will be predominantly in Gaelic but with sub titles.


I’ve just had confirmation that our programme will be aired within the Trusadh series on BBC Alba on Monday 3rd. March from 2100 to 2200 and repeated the following evening, Tuesday, 4th. March from 2200 to 2300.

For those of you who might not be familiar with BBC Alba, I repeat the following details :

BBC Alba is available throughout the UK on the following channels :
Sky Channel 143,
Freesat Channel 110,
Cable through Virgin Media Channel 161
On-Line through BBC iPlayer.

It is also available on Freeview Channel 8 in Scotland only.

Alba is on air from 1700 to about midnight. At other times of the day the channel broadcasts the radio programmes going out on Radio nan Gaidheal.

I’ve already seen a post-editing, pre-presenter voice-over version of the program and I think it’s fine, although perhaps it focuses a bit more on the use of Morse Code than on the broader and deeper role of the R/O. However, irrespective of how much filming is done, (and we must have done more than 10 hours!), all documentaries are edited to hold the interest of the viewing general public, and I think this one will achieve that quite well. If one of us was editing it, the programme would be very different, but possibly less meaningful to anyone except ex R/Os. Whatever verdict we might come up with, I would suggest we are quite lucky that MacTV took it on – I suspect it would really be that or nothing, and at our age, we possibly couldn’t afford to wait much longer.

I’ve already approached the editor of “Back-in-the-Day” to put a substantial article in, possibly for the April or May edition – or it may even stretch to a series of two, and he has whole-heartedly agreed to take it.

Hope you enjoy the programme.


7 Replies to “Radio Officers on BBC Alba

  1. To save Tony burning dvd’ s – a copy on this website for members ONLY to access?.
    This could also be a great opportunity to enlist many new members from the isles especially now there’s a possible reunion afloat to visit the Watt College where the majority of the island boys ( choughters!!! ) attended

    Bob mclachlan
    New zealand

    • Bob, I think we have copyright issues with that plan. I do not think we would be allowed to do that by either the BBC who aired the programme or the private company that actually created it on their behalf. I will, however, ask Hamish to investigate as he has the contacts.

  2. Tony

    Unfortunately BBC I-Player is only available for 7 days after the program has been aired. Would appreciate a copy burnt to DVD.

    Geoff Valentine

  3. I enjoyed the programme very much. It was diverse in its content especially the discussions Hamish had with former R/Os. Every R/O will have his own experiences of Morse, for me it was always a source of satisfaction raising GKA, DAN and others from the South China Sea area during monsoon conditions when the static in the headphones could compete with the Niagra Falls roar. It was also great to see the Watt College and those lecturers, forever remembered who introduced us to the mysteries of marine radio.
    I would liked to have seen a little more of the R/O at work, though I do not know how much library footage if any the BBC had available. I agree, Tony this was a programme worthy of a wider audience. What started with the heroic beginnings of Titanic and progressed through WW11 into the vibrant 50s, 60s until the final demise of the R/O must produce material for future programmes. In thanking Hamish, I hope Wave Messangers was the preamble for further viewing.

    Rob Armstrong

  4. Three days after the broadcast many emails have been flying round congratulating Hamish on his stellar performance during the programme. I watched as did many others and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was good to see our former profession getting so much airtime albeit on a minority (no offence intended) channel. Elements of the programme were excellent and as I said to Hamish I thought some of it was a bit superficial but as he rightly responded it was intended for a general audience not just for hypercritical former R/O’s. Many of us attended Watt College in Greenock at some stage and that got a couple of minutes of airtime.
    For those of us that do not have the gift of the Gaelic the subtitles were essential but there were also substantial parts of the programme in a language most of us can understand!
    The programme will be available on BBC iPlayer until early April I think but I have the programme saved on Sky+ if anyone would like a dvd burned.

Leave a Reply