I was surprised and delighted to receive the honour of being designated as the Arbroath Citizen of the Year 2013 by the Rotary Club of Arbroath in conjunction with the Arbroath Herald.
Whilst being very grateful, I am not convinced that I am worthy of such an accolade, as, after all, I am simply doing what I enjoy – most of the time…
I perceive my first interest in radio as being at the age of three or four when I caused minor damage to my parents’ Ecko 23 radio whilst attempting to “find the man in the radio who was speaking to me”. Fortunately, I was not chastised for my interference in radio at that juncture. That was to come much later, when I ran a radio station. I was fortunate to be influenced by the most exciting era on British radio history, the formative years of 1960s offshore radio, that instilled in me, and many of my radio counterparts, an appreciation of good commercial music-based radio, and a determination to defend the station rigorously, whenever necessary, regardless of the odds.
Thereafter, I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time to expand hospital radio locally, and, on recognising an area of unmet need for sub-regional commercial radio, establishing RNA FM, the ILR in 1998. Needless to say, this was not achieved alone. From my earliest days in hospital radio in May 1969 to the present, I have been in an extremely fortunate position to be accompanied by Ian Clark, to whom I am eternally grateful, as I am fully aware that my ventures in radio would not have reached fruition without his excellent technical expertise and advice. There have been many others throughout four decades to whom I am indebted both within, and outwith, RNA.
The happiest times have been the opening of each RNA station, the gaining of the restricted service radio and commercial radio licences, the awards of the Lord Lieutenant’s Certificates of Commendation to both Ian and me, the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service to RNA in 2007, the award of the BEM to our most elderly member, Bert Shepherd, in 2012, and the Citizen of the Year Award 2013.
The saddest time was the death of 17 year old school presenter, Hazel Robertson, from meningitis, in 1998, which still upsets me to this day. She intended to follow a career in the media, having been influenced, to some degree, by her work with RNA.
In summary, the success of RNA is the result of everyone’s efforts, which I merely coordinate.
Malcolm J B Finlayson
31 May 2013