Monday, March 03, 2008

From The Radiocroft back to The Palace of Sheep

I feel sorry for the local BT engineers, who respond like lightning to...well. Lightning strikes that fry the Hillswick telephone exchange. But over the past five weeks, my ISDN (Integrated Systems Digital Network) line has melted down no less than four times, all but once sending my daily radio show into a disastrous tailspin and necessitating a mad dash by car into Lerwick. Twice we've lost chunks of the show, on Friday (after just travelling all the way from Aberdeen) the entire first hour. And it cannot go on. Psychologically and emotionally, the unreliability has wreaked havoc on me, my producers and my engineers.

So, reluctantly, I've abandoned thousands of pounds worth of equipment and begun what looks like a long period of daily travelling to and from the BBC studios in Lerwick to do the programme. True, there are advantages: there are people at BBC Radio Shetland to talk to, there are newspapers to buy and coffee shops to visit. But the peat-fired cosiness of The Radiocroft, reached by bicycle or on foot from home, is no more.

Perhaps it was always too good to last. But with BT pushing the notion of homeworking and the future availability of broadband for audio broadcasting looking attractive, it seems a shame that after five years of successful Radiocrofting it should all fall apart so suddenly. What on earth is wrong?

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