Programs

This page of my web site describes all of the radio programs available on the Internet of which I am aware that would be of interest to aficionados of traditional Scottish music as played in Cape Breton. These programs are scheduled for a fixed time slot (daily or weekly) and are sent out over the air waves at a local radio station at the same time as they are made available to Internet listeners. Some programs are also available as podcasts for some time after the initial broadcast, often as long as one to three months. Other programs, many on the BBC, are available for on-demand listening, i.e., can be heard at times other than that when they are broadcast, though typically this is only for up to a week after the initial broadcast.

I have included a few programs from Scotland, Ireland, and the United States that I find worth listening to because of the common heritage they share with Cape Breton music, though the music has clearly gone in very different directions; while you will hear little to no Cape Breton music on these programs, I expect you will enjoy them as much as I do.

In this web page, programs are ordered first by day and then by time slot (both using Eastern Time) and, if there are multiple programs in the same time slot, they are listed alphabetically.

If you know of any Internet radio programs that are not listed in this area of my web site that should be, please let me know using the feedback address in the footer below.


Weekdays (Monday through Friday)


A’ mire ri Mòir

Time Slot
Mondays through Thursdays at 10h03-12h GMT [5h03-7h ET] and Fridays at 10h03-11h30 GMT [5h03-6h30 ET] on BBC Radio nan Gàidheal
URL
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007jdf6
Description
Mòrag Dhòmhnallach (Mòrag MacDonald), the hostess of this fine show, has a gorgeous speaking voice and a fine ear for traditional music. Broadcast in Gaelic, of which I understand only a handful of words, it offers a fine mix of Gaelic songs, often a cappella, pipe tunes, and dance tunes (more accordion is heard than fiddle, though the fiddle is not entirely absent). And there’s definitely Cape Breton music on the show played by Cape Bretoners, though that’s not the show’s emphasis.
Comment
I have become addicted to this show; the music is simply tremendous! The hostess of the show often concludes with a phone call to one of various friends that lasts a few minutes; given my near total lack of Gaelic, I only get a clue to what they’re discussing from the occasional English word or place name that crops up, but I love listening to the musical rhythms of the speech as the conversation progesses. Enjoy!
Note
The URL above takes you to the program’s page, where you will find a choice of five on-demand programs from which to choose. Click on the appropriate “Listen now” button to listen to the corresponding program. If you are there at broadcast time, click the button labelled “Èist beò” in the upper right to listen to the show being aired.

Wednesdays


Cape Breton Fiddle Tunes

Time Slot
Wednesdays at 22h05-23h AT [21h05-22h ET] on 89.7 FM “The Coast Radio” (CKOA), Glace Bay
URL
http://www.coastalradio.ca/shows.php
Description
David Gillis hosts an hour show of almost exclusively Cape Breton fiddle music (although a piano solo is usually offered once during each show), featuring fine Cape Breton musicians as heard on the recordings they have made, from the very earliest albums through today’s, taken from his obviously extensive collection. Many of the cuts played in past shows I had not heard before, though I had indeed heard of the great musicians featured on them. He strikes an impressive balance between the old and the new, giving a very fine sampling indeed of the best traditional Scottish music in Cape Breton over the years it has been recorded.
Comment
I first became acquainted with this show in early 2011 and its variety and excellence have quickly forced it onto my “must listen” list. In many respects, it is like a selected tour through the great audio archives at the Celtic Music Interpretive Centre in Judique, one of the very few places where one can hear music like that played on this show. Do tune in!

David indicates in a e-mail that his show is now carried on CKJM on Sundays as well. He also writes that he tries to ensure that the Wednesday broadcast does not duplicate the Sunday broadcast in the same week. That means you get to hear two different top-notch shows each week!

Thursdays


Crunluath

Time Slot
Thursdays at 16h03-17h GMT [11h03-12h ET] on BBC Radio nan Gàidheal
URL
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007jdhn/
Description
This show, broadcast in Gaelic, presents programs featuring pipe music.
Comment
Only pipe music is played and some Canadian pipers (PEI and Calgary on one show) are featured. It is quite enjoyable.
Note
The URL above takes you to the program’s page, where you will find the lastest program available on-demand. Click on the “Listen now” button to listen to the corresponding program. If you are there at broadcast time, click the button labelled “Èist beò” in the upper right to listen to the show being aired.

Fridays


Fiddlers Green

Time Slot
Fridays 19h-19h30 AT [18h-19h30 ET] on K-LEE Radio 1600 AM (Baddeck)
URL
http://www.kleeradio.com/
Description
This show features Cape Breton fiddle music, most of it from contemporary artists, but some is older.
Comment
The music is excellent.

Saturdays


Tiompan

Time Slot
Saturdays 11h03-12h GMT [6h03-7h ET] on BBC Radio nan Gàidheal
URL
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007jddb
Description
Mairead MacLennan features Celtic music and new releases in this show, broadcast in Gaelic.
Comment
The music is an eclectic mix of Celtic music, much of it non-traditional, including some songs in English. My Gaelic dictionary translates the show’s name as “cymbals”. And indeed the music tends to be a bit noisy, though I find it quite listenable.
Note
The URL above takes you to the program’s page, where you will find the lastest program available on-demand. Click on the “Listen now” button to listen to the corresponding program. If you are there at broadcast time, click the button labelled “Èist beò” in the upper right to listen to the show being aired.

Take the Floor

Time Slot
Saturdays 13h05-15h GMT [8h05-10h ET] on BBC Radio Scotland
URL
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0079g5m
Description
According to the web site, this show presents “the very best of Scottish dance music.” A previous, more informative, version of the web site said that it is the “longest-running radio programme in Scotland. It began in the 1930s on the Scottish Home Service under the title ‘Scottish Dance Music’ to be renamed ‘Take the Floor’ in 1978 when Radio Scotland came on air.” Hosted by Robbie Shepherd, it “plays the best in Scottish dance music with live sessions from bands the length and breadth of the country, recordings from the archive, profiles of musicians young and old and special features on leaders in the field of traditional music.”
Comment
I have become a pretty regular listener to this show, which features contemporary Scottish dance music played by Scottish dance bands. The accordion dominates the fiddle, making it very different from Cape Breton dance music, but since I love accordion music, this is not a problem for me. If you’re a fan of Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham, I suspect you’ll love this show.
Note
The URL above takes you to the program’s page, where you will find the lastest program available on-demand. Click on the “Listen now” button to listen to the corresponding program. If you are there at broadcast time, click the button labelled “Listen Live” in the upper right to listen to the show being aired.

A Thousand Welcomes

Time Slot
Saturdays 9h-12h ET on WFUV (Fordham)
URL
http://www.wfuv.org/programs/athousandwelcomes
Description
This traditional Celtic music show ranges across the entire Celtic world.
Comment
Recommended.
Note
If you miss a show when it is aired, you can listen to it from the archives. As of this writing, shows from the past three weeks are available.

Vinyl Café

Time Slot
Saturdays 9h05-10h ET on CBC Radio Two [see the note section for other options]
URL
http://www.cbc.ca/vinylcafe/home.php
http://www.cbc.ca/vinylcafe/listen.php
Description
This show is not listed here for its music: although a fair amount of music is played on most shows, very little of it is Celtic (and much of it I don’t even like). Instead, this show is included here for its wonderful story-telling, a great Celtic art not often enough encountered these days. Stuart McLean is a grand master of this art and I really enjoy his work, which appears on nearly every show. Much, though not all, of it features a fictional Toronto family, Dave and Morley and their children Stephanie and Sam; Dave’s roots are in the fictional town of Big Narrows, Cape Breton, and some of the stories have even taken place there. But it is the essential human interest of these stories, not their siting, and Stuart’s humour and humanity and art in their telling which make them memorable. If you don’t know of his stories, you owe it to yourself to listen.
Comment
Highly recommended for its stories.
Note
Because the CBC broadcasts across the entire country, this show can be caught as it airs in the various time zones; those used to its previous time slot of 10h05-11h ET, for example, can still catch it at that hour by listening to the Central Time Zone station rather than to the Eastern Time Zone station (which will be airing an altogether different show). The Vinyl Café is also broadcast on CBC Radio One from 23h05-0h on Tuesdays and from 12h05-13h on Sundays; it is available on a number of US radio stations: see http://www.cbc.ca/vinylcafe/listen.php for all of the possible options. Many of the story segments are available as weekly podcasts; see here for more information and links.

Ceílí House

Time Slot
Saturdays 21h02-22h GMT [16h02-17h ET] on Radio Telefís Éireann Radio 1 (Public Service Broadcaster of the Republic of Ireland)
URL
http://www.rte.ie/radio1/ceilihouse/
Description
This program, presented by Kieran Hanrahan, is “one of RTÉ Radio’s most popular programmes of traditional Irish music and song”. Over 40 years on the air, it broadcasts from all around Ireland, at house parties, competitions, festivals, and other events.
Comment
Much of the commentary is in English, but Gaelic is definitely spoken on this show as well. The music, however, needs no translation. This is a very fine series!
Note
Archives of previous shows—to as far back as 2004!—are available from the URL listed above (click on “Programme Archive” in the centre column), so you can listen to any of these shows whenever you want.

Pipeline

Time Slot
Saturdays 21h05-22h GMT [16h05-17 ET] on BBC Radio Scotland
URL
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0079g6v
Description
According to the web site, this is the “definitive pipe music programme, featuring news and recordings from the piping world”. A previous, and more informative, version of the web site said that “Gary West presents music and news from the heart of the piping world with pipe band tracks, CD releases, and weekly recording sessions featuring top solo players from Scotland and overseas.” He also dips into his “archives from time to time, with recordings dating from the 1940s to the present, and a chance to hear some vintage music and comment from the great pipers of the past.”
Comment
I regularly listen to this show and I greatly enjoy what I hear. A lot of the tunes are familiar to me from Cape Breton; the 2007 January 6 show had some pipe tunes written in Cape Breton and the 2007 December 15 show featured the MacKenzie brothers from Mabou Coal Mines in Cape Breton.
Note
The URL above takes you to the program’s page, where you will find the lastest program available on-demand. Click on the “Listen now” button to listen to the corresponding program. If you are there at broadcast time, click the button labelled “Listen Live” in the upper right to listen to the show being aired.

Atlantic Airwaves

Time Slot
Saturdays 17h05-18h AT [16h05-17h ET] on CBC Radio 1 (Maritimes)
URL
http://www.cbc.ca/atlanticairwaves/
Description
“Each week the program features a new CD release or studio session by an Atlantic Canadian artist and a live segment featuring an artist or group recorded in concert in the Maritimes.” [web site]
Comment
The music is often popular/rock, but one does hear a number of traditional musicians as well; it’s just that the emphasis is not there. They do air the occasional Celtic Colours concert, e.g., “The Unusual Suspects” and “Bards and Ballads”.

Aiseirigh nan Gàidheal (The Awakening Gaels)

Time Slot
Saturdays 18h-19h AT [17h-18h ET] on CKJM 106.1 FM (Chéticamp) or 92.5 FM (Pomquet) (Chéticamp Community Radio)
URL
http://www.ckjm.ca/english/radio/viewshow.cfm?id=41
[see also http://www3.ns.sympatico.ca/aiseirighnangaidheal/]
Description
A bilingual Gaelic-English program originating from CKJM in Chéticamp and hosted by Geoffrey May and Rebecca-Lynne MacDonald-May of Margaree Harbour, it features a wide variety of music, from Gaelic song to Celtic instrumental music to Celtic rock. Many Cape Breton musicians appear on these shows.
Comment
Recommended.
Note
Ten of these shows, recorded in 2001 for the Highland Community Radio in Scotland, are available as permanent archives; see here for more information.

Sundays


Celtic Crossings

Time Slot
Sundays 7h-9h ET on WRSI, “The River”
URL
http://wrsi.com/celtic-crossings/
Description
Louise Dunphy’s program features mostly Celtic music, with interviews and commentary between the selections.
Comment
I’ve heard some very good music on this show I’ve not come across elsewhere; however, judging by the shows I’ve heard to date, you may also hear music that is (to my ears, anyway) not distinctively Celtic; although a good deal of “modern” acoustic music is played, some fine traditional music is also to be heard as well.

The Thistle & Shamrock

Time Slot
Sundays 7h-8h ET on WFUV (Fordham University) [see Note for other options]
URL
http://wfuv.org
http://thistleradio.com
Description
Fiona Ritchie’s wide-ranging Celtic roots music show covers primarily the British Isles but also includes American Celtic music and ranges further abroad (Brittany, Galicia, Cape Breton).
Comment
Recommended.
Note
This show airs (at many different times) on many National Public Radio stations in the United States. For a list of the possibilities, see this web page for US stations and this web page for international outlets. This program is also available as a weekly podcast; see here for more information and links.

Ceol na nGael (Music of the Irish)

Time Slot
Sundays 12h-16h ET on WFUV (Fordham)
URL
http://www.wfuv.org/content/ceol-na-ngael
Description
This “most popular Irish radio program in New York celebrated its 35th anniversary in February, 2009” [web site]; it features news from Ireland; requests; mainly traditional, but occasional Irish pop/rock selections.
Comment
Pretty nice mix, all told.

Celtic Twilight

Time Slot
16h-19h ET on WUMB (University of Massachusetts, Boston)
URL
http://wumb.org/programs/GailGilmore.php
Description
Hosted by Gail Gilmore, this program presents all kinds of Celtic music, including a significant amount of Cape Breton music.
Comment
If I’m home, I always listen to this fine program, taking time out for supper and the evening news. Highly recommended. This program has no podcast nor on-demand listening feature, but there is a corresponding stream, described here.

Cape Breton Fiddle Tunes

Time Slot
Sundays at 17h-18h AT [16h-17h ET] on CKJM 106.1 FM (Chéticamp Community Radio)
URL
http://www.ckjm.ca/english/radio/viewshow.cfm?id=63
Description
David Gillis hosts an hour show of almost exclusively Cape Breton fiddle music (although a piano solo is usually offered once during each show), featuring fine Cape Breton musicians as heard on the recordings they have made, from the very earliest albums through today’s, taken from his obviously extensive collection. Many of the cuts played in past shows I had not heard before, though I had indeed heard of the great musicians featured on them. He strikes an impressive balance between the old and the new, giving a very fine sampling indeed of the best traditional Scottish music in Cape Breton over the years it has been recorded.
Comment
I first became acquainted with this show in early 2011 and its variety and excellence have quickly forced it onto my “must listen” list. In many respects, it is like a selected tour through the great audio archives at the Celtic Music Interpretive Centre in Judique, one of the very few places where one can hear music like that played on this show. Do tune in!

I learnt of CKJM’s airing of this show from an e-mail David sent me and can confirm that, as of 2011 March 13, it can indeed be heard there. It is occasionally bumped by other programming, e.g., telethons, so, if it’s not there one week, try again the next week. He also writes that he tries to ensure that the Wednesday broadcast does not duplicate the Sunday broadcast in the same week. That means you get to hear two different top-notch shows each week!

Highland Fling

Time Slot
Sundays 18h-19h AT [17h-18h ET] on 101.5 FM, “The Hawk” (Port Hawkesbury)
URL
http://www.1015thehawk.com
Description
Bob MacEachern’s excellent show features traditional Scottish musicians; he sometimes has interviews of Cape Breton fiddlers and usually presents at least one “historical” recording from what seems to be a vast library spanning well over thirty years.
Comment
Always a “must-listen”, this is one of only two Internet radio shows I know of on which you can hear the likes of Arthur Muise and Angus Chisholm. The starting time is a bit variable; you should tune in before the start of the hour, as the show sometimes starts early. If you visit this web page, you can listen to earlier broadcasts of Highland Fling whenever you like. 101.5 The Hawk is the 2008 East Coast Music Association award winner for small-market radio stations; congratulations, Bob and all the staff at The Hawk!

The Cèilidh

Time Slot
Sundays 19h-20h AT [18h-19h ET] on CJFX 98.9 FM, “X-FM” (Antigonish)
URL
http://www.989xfm.ca/
Description
Barry MacKinnon hosts this show, which features mostly Cape Breton musicians and Cape Breton fiddle music: a recent show had cuts by Melody and Derrick Cameron, Dara Smith MacDonald, Hamish Moore, the Barra MacNeils, Charlie MacCuspic, Mac Morin, Ashley MacIsaac, Joe Confiant, Morgan MacQuarrie, Douglas Cameron, J. J. Chaisson, Rita MacNeil, and the North Atlantic Strings. This is a very fine mix which I enjoy a lot.
Comment
Recommended.

Downeast Cèilidh

Time Slot
Sundays 19h-20h ET on WUMB (University of Massachusetts, Boston)
URL
http://wumb.org/programs/MarciaPalmater.php
http://ceilidh.org/
Description
Hosted by Marcia Young Palmater, this show features traditional music from all over the Maritimes (Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Cape Breton, and mainland Nova Scotia), enhanced by Marcia’s deep knowledge of this area and its music and culture.
Comment
This unique show is a “must-listen” for traditional music fans; its kitchen party atmosphere never disappoints. Broadcasts for the past three months are available for on-demand listening at http://ceilidh.org/ web site—just click on the record album cover identifying the broadcast which you wish to hear. This program is also available via a podcast subscription by clicking on the podcast icon in the upper left corner of the http://ceilidh.org/ web site. Finally, all programs since 2007 September 8 are also available from an archive; see the archive entry here for details on how to access the archive.