SCOTLAND’s radio landscape is changing and the country’s newest station will aim to use that to its fullest advantage.

Broadcasting online from new studios in Arbroath, Westway Radio went live yesterday with a small team of like-minded professionals who want to bring the “local” back to local radio.

Station director and drivetime presenter Jason McCagh has been involved in the industry for a quarter of a century, since he first entered the studios of Radio Tay in Dundee as a 15-year-old schoolboy. He presented programmes there, then Radio Forth, Kingdom FM, Original and Central and was one of the team who set up Go Radio in Glasgow.

He’s joined by former Tay presenters Dave Price and Erin Linton, and Dave Knight, who was one of the original Real Radio team.

“We have a good strong line-up at Westway,” said McCagh. “I hate the way that the radio industry’s gone, so I thought ‘let’s do something’ and bring back some fun into it rather than the way radio has gone … absolutely pear-shaped.”

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He said “huge corporate companies” who had bought up stations across Scotland had stopped caring about the listeners, as well as their staff. Jobs had been cut back and many presenters had been left looking for work and didn’t speak out about it through fears of jeopardising the possibility of cover shifts once or twice a year.

When McCagh first went into Radio Tay the whole industry was overseen with an iron rod by the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA), now Ofcom, which has relaxed existing rules and turned the industry into a free-for-all. “Ofcom have a lot to answer for in the way the radio industry’s gone,” said McCagh. “It’s madness, so we thought we’d do something different, albeit we’re online only.

“The radio industry’s changing and a lot more people are showing interest in listening to local radio on their smartphones and smart speakers and so on, so it’s definitely changing.

“Because we’re online we’re not limited to the TSA [the geographical total survey area used to gauge listener figures] where the listeners are based.

“We’re looking to bring back local radio into Angus and Fife, but we’re focussing mainly on Scotland and we’ve had some people tuning in today from Glasgow and Edinburgh, so there are people listening from outside our TSA.”

One of the major differences between Westway and other commercial stations is their playlist … there isn’t one.

McCagh said that would be down to the listeners: “We want to involve the listener in what we play ... If we give them what they want, they’ll tune in for longer and they’ll stick with us because all the other stations are playing to a strict rulebook of schedules ... but we can play what we want, when we want.”