About 480km northeast of the southern tip of South America lie the Falkland Islands, a British overseas territory and sprawling archipelago (writes Monica Lillis). Falklands Radio provides information and entertainment for up to 15 hours a day to its approximately 2,800 residents. Here the station’s news editor, Traighana Smith, tells us about its beginnings and memories of the 1982 Falklands war.
Tell me about the history of the station.
A radio service has been broadcasting here since 1927. Our building on John Street in Stanley has served as our home since 1955 and supports two modern studios, from where we provide our community music and news. In our early days, international news was posted 8,000 miles to us from the UK in the form of newspaper clippings. We were also sent programmes from the BBC regularly; there was no escaping The Archers [a long-running radio drama] even here! Now we have five full-time employees, bolstered by more than 20 freelance presenters.
How did you become involved with the station?
I moved to the Falklands from Scotland in 2016 and have a background in television broadcasting. I began working at the station as a freelance presenter in 2018, taking up the position of journalist a year later. And now I’m news editor.
Audio clips of Falklands Radio on 530 kHz, recorded from Puerto Natales, Chile, in 2007 by a visting DXer. Recorded using a Degen DE1121 receiver with a Degen DE31 portable loop antenna.
© Chris Mackerell Collection, Radio Heritage Foundation
Who is your most popular DJ and why?
Myriam Booth is our most iconic presenter. She began working at the station in 1961 and her knowledge of music is second to none. She presents two shows a week. There is nothing about country and rock’n’roll that she doesn’t know.
What song is played most on the station?
During the day we play a mix of modern music but in the Falkland Islands, country music always wins. “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” [by Jimmy Buffet] is a firm favourite.
What are some memorable broadcasting moments?
One of the most memorable broadcasting moments in Falklands Radio’s history, and indeed broadcasting history in general, is when the studio was invaded by Argentinian soldiers in 1982. The station manager at the time, Patrick Watts, was broadcasting as it happened and his phrase “…get that gun out of my back” has been played in numerous films and documentaries over the past 40 years.
What local spots do you and your colleagues enjoy hanging out at?
For drinks it’s Falklands Beerworks and for the best chicken curry on the islands it’s the Victory Bar.
© MONOCLE Weekend Edition May 28, 2022
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