Newspaper campaigns

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Daily Record, February 1930

The Daily Record ran a campaign against the 1929 policy of centralisation.

Many letters against the proposal were also published. Some worries were expressed that such a Board ‘would be likely to over-emphasise the Scottish influence’ to the detriment of programmes from elsewhere, although the paper was clear that it was ‘wholly against any kailyardising of Scottish programmes’. Others wondered whether there was enough Scottish culture of merit to justify a separate programme among the nation’s ‘monotonous tunes’, difficult to understand poetry, and poor singers. One correspondent suggested that the type of dour and dry programming favoured by Sir John Reith should serve as a warning against a ‘strong Scottish influence’ in broadcasting! And, even if it was desirable to have more Scottish autonomy in broadcasting, could part-time board members with little experience of broadcasting really make decisions better than the existing Scottish Region management?⁠[1]

January 1947

On 3 January 1947, the Scotsman published a letter from Robert Boothby MP, in which he complained "that during this New Year period the Scottish programme has achieved the apparently impossible by reaching hitherto unexplored depths". Mr Boothby referred to "various horrors to which hour after hour we have been subjected" and mentioned as the "climax" the substitution of Scottish items for the concert by the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Bruno Walter.

This letter stimulated more letters to the Editor about Scottish broadcasting than had appeared for years. In all, the Scotsman published 53 letters, at least one appearing daily between 3–20 January. There were leaders in the Edinburgh Evening Dispatch (January 9), The Scotsman (January 10), and the Aberdeen Bon Accord (January 16). There was also discussion of Boothby's views by the Executive Committee of An Comunn Gaidhealach in Stirling, when they decided that they would "not pay him the compliment" of going into action against him.
  1. Daily Record, 4–12 February 1930.