The man who ‘invented’ Radio Scotland

Radio Scotland


Tommy Shields
Mr. T. V. Shields

Mr T. V. Shields — known mostly as Tommy — is the managing director of City and County Commercial Radio (Scotland) Ltd. the man who created Radio Scotland from a dream, through phenomenal trials and tribulations, to reality.

He is a Glaswegian, a former newspaper reporter and war correspondent who became the owner of his own advertising agency in Glasgow.

During a spell as publicity manager for the dynamic millionaire, Lord Thomson of Fleet, he was preparing a biography of his employer and found out that the Thomson empire was founded on commercial radio.

Some years later, now a successful advertising man, he watched the start of offshore radio in Europe with interest, and began to plan a similar enterprise which would serve Scotland.

The station which swings to you on 242 is the result.

The task of raising capital, finding a ship and suitable transmitting equipment, and ensuring that the enterprise was legal and worthwhile, was not an easy one.

Tommy travelled hundreds of miles only to find that potential ships had sunk, had been claimed by people to whom the owners owed money, were too small or too large, or were dangerously rusty.

Working 16 hours a day, often as many as 20 hours a day, he nursed the “Comet” through the transitory period when it was a bare hull, stripped of light equipment, through the time when technicians swarmed over her like Lilliputians transforming a metal Gulliver, and through the marathon, nerve-wracking tows in which tugs took the “Comet” completely round the coast of Great Britain.

As well as supervising the mechanical installations, Mr Shields set up an administrative headquarters at Radio Scotland House, which is just off busy Byres Road, in the thriving west end of Glasgow, and organised programming and advertising sales divisions.

Despite his meticulous attention to the smallest business detail, he also found time — and still does find time — to personally reply to vast amounts of the correspondence which comes to Radio Scotland. He also handles personally the intricate arrangements necessary to operate airtime appeals for a wide range of Scottish charities.