Thomas Prag - Moray Firth Radio founder, and later regulator

Aug 16, 02:33 PM
A man who never hankered after a job in radio, but was to be recognised as the driving force behind one of the most successful early small local radio stations – Moray Firth Radio based in Inverness.

In this hour of ‘Radio Moments Conversations’, Thomas Prag confesses to an easy upbringing and his laziness, before falling into the BBC. He recalls his early training days – in Bush House and pushing the buttons for Alan Freeman on the legendary Pick of the Pops before moving to BBC Radio Oxford at launch. He tells of helping to establish and then manage the BBC Radio Highland opt-out as the Corporation wrestled with quite how to deal with radio across Scotland.

When Moray Firth won the area’s commercial radio licence, Thomas tells he was tempted into joining the team to run what was judged a highly risky venture at a time when other even larger commercial stations were failing and stations of this scale were rare. Thus began his lengthy tenure which took the station into profitability; and its success recognised by regulators, awards judges – and its many listeners - as something quite special. Thomas opens-up about his proud legacy in ‘community radio’ - alongside the challenges of the job – and the impact of its personal pressures.

After leaving the station, he tells of how he how was appointed to both the Radio Authority and, later, Ofcom – and how he felt about the role of a regulator and about the demands of the licence application process. Then – his rich and busy life since and how his learnings from life in radio continue to be put to use in the community he loves.

In his own words, this is the Thomas Prag story.

Hear the whole ‘Radio Moments Conversations’ series  here – and sign up for the regular podcast for this ongoing series. Music by Larry Bryant.