ANYONE who tuned into Generate Radio on Friday will have had the pleasure of the company of Donald Strachan for the whole day as the former Berwickshire High School teacher embarked on his second 24 hour broadcast in a year.
The volunteer DJ took to the mic for the marathon stint to mark the station’s second birthday, just weeks after they missed out on a Scottish New Music Award for ‘Radio Station of the Year’ by a mere three votes.
Donald’s aim was to use his 24 hour stint to highlight and showcase the growing range of volunteers and content that Generate now boasts and with in-studio guests and calls fielded from all over the world he cetainly achieved it.
Many of Donald’s fellow Generate presenters joined him on air as did local band Easter Street who performed a three track live session; Borders Youth Theatre who performed a short live piece and two of his former pupils, Toby Young and Kirsty Ellison who debuted their song ‘Dance of the Glade’ which was recorded specially for Friday’s event.
Having had time to reflect on what was his second successful day-long broadcast, Donald said although things did get a little frantic at times he thoroughly enjoyed himself once again.
“I had great fun just as I did last year,” he commented.
“Having done it before I knew it was going to be good; I got a real buzz from it first time round.
“The best thing about this year was the fact that Generate now has so many more volunteers and different programmes. I wanted to give a flavour of all things that go on at the station.
“People were coming in who were in the schedule but others were just coming in unscheduled. Things got a little hectic around 5 when the Youth Theatre came in as I knew I had a Skype call coming in from a musician at 5.15 and another at 5.45. Rather than take the calls earlier, record them and edit them I wanted to do them live as you can be more spontaneous.
“When I first started doing shows everything was scripted and timed to the second but now I do a lot more things off the cuff.”
Donald said that the skills he encompassed during his three decades of teaching often come in handy when he’s on the radio.
“Being a teacher for as long as I was I had to learn to adapt and be flexible which is very important for live radio as you never quite know what is going to happen.
“When I retired I decided to get involved with Generate as Kyle and Oscar (the station’s managing directors) are a real inspiration.
“I said I’d help out by doing one show two hours a month but then that became three hours and then a weekly show and now a do three hours on a Tuesday and two on a Saturday.”
As well as having a blast while doing it, Donald used last Friday’s 24 hour broadcast to encourage people to donate to Generate’s ongoing fundraising campaign.
As a community radio station they reply on support from listeners and local businesses so Donald was understandably upset when he found out on Monday night that a Generate fundraising tin had been stolen from Duns Golden Fish.
“Whoever stole the tin has effectively stolen from the whole community and it was a bit of a kick in the teeth after Friday had gone so well.
“Thanks to so many wonderfully generous people from around the world the show was a great success and we did manage to raise a healthy sum as a result of the whole team pulling selflessly together.
“To discover the theft of what could well have been the fullest of our cans has certainly taken a bit of an edge of the feeling of satisfaction that I shared with many others after the show had ended.”
Anyone with information about the theft should contact Duns Police on 01361 882222.