I CAN’T remember when I stopped listening to BBC Radio Scotland but at some stage in the last few years, I must have.

I almost unconsciously decided that there were better places to seek education, information and entertainment and voted with my ears, so to speak.

Of course, that would have partly been due to the change that has taken place in the varied way most of us now get our news, comment and opinion.

We have become our own curators of content, getting a bit from the internet, some from social media and the rest from a few trusted media outlets, like this paper. We no longer stick with a provider through thick and thin.

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But thin also had something to do with my deviation from Radio Scotland. Increasingly, the station has had little to offer except pop music, football and phone-ins.

It falls well short of being a truly national station, reflecting and representing who we are and enhancing our national conversation with – and about – ourselves.

I admit that providing that type of service for the diverse nation of Scotland by means of only a single English language channel would be difficult – particularly whilst BBC Scotland is still part of a metropolitan and Unionist UK BBC which controls the purse strings and appoints the management.

The UK national BBC radio service is very different, presenting as it does a wide range of options over a number of stations with speech prominent on Radio 4, classical music on Radio 3 and sport and rolling news on Radio 5 with other music catered for by Radios 1 and 2.

Once you get over the Unionism, Radios 3 and 4 in particular transmit good programmes that are still – for the most part – true to the mission of the BBC which is given in their Royal Charter as being to “act in the public interest, serving all audiences through the provision of impartial, high-quality and distinctive output and services which ​informs, educate​s and ​entertains​”.

Yet even accepting the budgetary and resource constraints applied by London-based management, Radio Scotland is currently more of a national disgrace than a national station and that situation has been made plain in the last week as a campaign develops to save three long-running radio series threatened with the BBC management axe.

These deal with classical music, jazz and piping and are being junked, no matter the rhetoric, not only for cost reasons but also because they make a distinctively Scottish cultural contribution to a station that no longer wants such a thing.

Take “Classics Unwrapped”. It gave the now champion violinist Nicola Benedetti her first radio recital aged 12 and at the end of last year, the remarkable blind keyboardist Ethan Loch played live on it.

It has devoted programmes to the Royal Conservatoire Junior Department and shared performances from the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland.

And, most importantly, it has played a crucial part in ensuring that the making of music within Scotland – particularly by young people – is reflected back to Scotland and encouraged to continue and develop.

The Scottish jazz legend Tommy Smith has started a petition on Change.org to try to save the Jazz Nights series, as well as Classics Unwrapped and Pipelines.

He points out that the country is producing some very fine young jazz musicians, honed – as he was – by listening to the greats and experimenting with their musical colleagues.

He has also questioned the timing of the decision given that it comes only a few months after young Scottish stars like Fergus McCreadie, Ewan Hastie, and Georgia Cecile won the best and most coveted UK jazz prizes.

Meanwhile the already miserly number of piping programmes on the entire BBC – one on Radio Scotland and one on Radio Nan Gaidheal – will be cut to a single offering.

The Piping Times, which broke the story of the cuts, has predicted the programme will most likely consist of recordings alone, with no coverage of major competitions.

The station has already abandoned original drama, this very week on documentary (Audrey Gillan’s recent podcast on Bible John excepted) and its political, social and religious analysis is almost non-existent.

Add to that the inadequate nature of its news and current affairs and the pending destruction of most of its distinctive music offerings (some folk and world music continues but they must be hanging from a shoogly programming nail), and the current woeful, football-heavy schedule and even more woeful bog-standard local radio playlists will become not just the norm, but all there is.

Consequently, whilst supporting and winning the campaign to save the three series is necessary (and I would encourage everyone to get behind it as loudly as possible) it would not be a sufficient step forward.

We actually need a campaign to save Radio Scotland from the mismanagement of those who are currently in charge – in both Glasgow and London.

Papers like this counterbalance the right-wing press and its desire to destroy public service broadcasting everywhere, so their role in helping to imagine and then campaigning to achieve a real national radio service would be hugely helpful and influential.

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I am sure readers of The National have hundreds of good programme ideas and a clear vision of what a National Radio station should deliver to and for Scotland. It is time to hear them, perhaps through a national inquiry and debate, instituted by a Holyrood Committee, that looks at what the station now is and what it should be.

There is an element of the Emperor’s New Clothes in any discussion of Radio Scotland.

We assume that it can’t be as bad as we fear it is, but that is only because most of us have given up listening to it.

As a matter of fact, it is worse and we should say so loudly and repeatedly and go on doing so until either it gets better, or independence allows us to establish a Scottish Broadcasting Company.

A Scottish BBC which takes on and renews for Scotland, that admirable mission to provide “impartial, high-quality and distinctive output and services which ​inform, educate​ and ​entertain”.