Radio Forth: One final visit to Forth House as station set to move

This week I visited the Radio Forth original studios for the last time.

By John Murray
Monday, 23rd May 2022, 12:16 pm

For 47 years they have broadcasted to the Lothians in Fife from studios appropriately enough in Forth Street Edinburgh but will now move to a floor in the St James Quarter leaving behind the memories and legacy from that was the first commercial radio in the east of Scotland.

They opened in January 1975 with the Pilot single ‘January’ and as that record flashed to number one, a new era began.

It was a decade later I joined, having served an apprenticeship on Kirkcaldy’s hospital radio winning national awards along the way - but Forth for me was big time.

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John Murray outside Forth House for the last time (Pic: John Murray)

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They dominated radio in Fife and with disco roadshows we came to meet Jay Crawford, Bob Malcolm, Steve Jack, Graham Jackson and future Radio 1 star Mark Goodier playing for an hour to packed rooms like the Abbotshall Hotel, Dutch Mill, Cuinzie Neuk and Birksgate Hotel in Victoria Road.

Huge speakers would dominate the stage and the DJ would come along at peak time for an hour with giveaways. I would host shows for their holiday relief initially then get my own programming with producers like the late Colin Somervile and Margo Macdonald.

Our Monday Monday magazine programme, which I hosted with Mark Hagen won the Scottish Radio Industries Award for best magazine programme.

Grant Stott back in the Radio Forth studios (Pic: John Murray)

Quite a few Forth formers were there too and stories were plentiful from Scott Wilson, Donny Hughes and Grant Stott.

Technology has advanced since my last visit, but many racks of telecoms, patch bays and machines remain but unused.

Hundreds of jingles and adverts on tape survive on sealed tapes – or ‘carts’ as they were called.. I would play these on six players in the studio for my own shows or when operating for remote broadcasts such as shop openings, special events or the regular weekly show from 222 High Street.

End of an area for Radio Forth (Pic: John Murray)

The shop here had merchandise to sell and just a microphone link back to Forth Street, where the stars of the day from Adam Smith Theatre would be interviewed live while I played the records and links, ironically, back in Edinburgh.