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Birth of a New Sound (clip)

The opening of one of the first independent radio stations - Radio Tay

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This amateur documentary charts preparations for the launch of commercial radio station Radio Tay, one of the earliest independent radio stations in Scotland. The clip features interior shots of the radio studio being set up including the installation of electrical equipment. We see shots of the transmitters in Dundee and Perth. Staff prepare for the opening - a man typing on a manual typewriter, shots of telephones. Valerie Dunbar rehearses and Gerry Quinn goes on the air for the first time with the first tune 'The Road to Dundee' on 17 October 1980. Shots of records on turntables and tapes. Exteriors of the radio station building including the Radio Tay logo.

Questions & Activities


  • What type of footage is this?
  • What work is still to be done?
  • What does independent radio mean?
  • What would a radio station look like now?
  • What radio stations can you name?
  • What kinds of technology can you spot?


English / Drama: Edit the footage into a news report or TV trailer for the new radio station. Alternatively build it up as the trailer for a sitcom about a fictitious radio station giving character and back stories to the people illustrated.

Media Studies: Research why independent radio started. What is the difference between public service broadcasting and independent radio. Discuss the importance that independent radio plays in our lives today and the value of having a broad range of radio stations for the local community.

Business studies: Look at the logo and the jingles used. How would you go about targeting your audience and branding your radio station?

English / Expressive Arts: Write a news report for broadcasting on your radio station.

Music: Create a jingle for your radio station.

Media Studies: Compare this clip to the 'Pre-Opening of Radio Clyde' - discuss the differences and similarities both with the filmmaking styles, but the stations and how they run.

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-002-255-C
Resource Rights Holder Courtesy of Colin Johnston
Project Ref 2126
Date 1980
Genre Amateur, Documentary
School Subject Music, Media Studies, English, Economics, Art and Design, Technologies, Drama, Expressive Arts
Who Colin Jonston (filmmaker/producer)
Where Dundee
Event Radio, Advertising, Media
Attributes Colour, Sound
Clip Length 8:08
Film Length 22:56