Rockers rally round to save DJ Tom's Friday night show

RAGING rock fans are battling to save a veteran DJ's show after it was axed by radio bosses.

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Fans of Tom Russell's Friday Night Rock Show gather to protest after it was taken off the airwaves after 30 years Picture: Colin Templeton
Fans of Tom Russell's Friday Night Rock Show gather to protest after it was taken off the airwaves after 30 years Picture: Colin Templeton

Listeners to Tom Russell's Friday Night Rock Show were outraged to discover it had been taken off the airwaves after 30 years.

Having been a staple of former stations Rock Radio and Real XS, new owners XFM decided to pull the plug, with the final broadcast going out on Friday, April 4.

Since then, more than 5500 people have signed up to a Facebook campaign to save the show.

Karen Pollock, founder of the campaign, had been tuning in to Tom's show for decades.

She said: "It's such a shame, lots of people have grown up with it.

"It has been running for the past 30 years and, just like that, it's been pulled."

Karen also fears the move to cut the show signals the decline of rock music coverage across the country.

"We now don't have the outlet for the rock because there isn't really another station in the Central Belt that plays it," she said.

"The cancellation is just a further demise of the rock scene in Scotland."

A petition has been sent to Richard Park, executive director of Global Radio which owns XFM, calling for it to be made into a rock station, similar to previous station Real XS.

Angry listeners rushed to sign the appeal, with almost 500 signatures received on the first day alone.

Tom Russell said he was "humbled" by the response of his listeners, but was unable to comment further as he is still employed by XFM.

Tom said: "It is lovely that so many people have made nice comments but I will be on air for four hours every Saturday and Sunday morning, and will do my best to help keep the flame burning for all types of rock music here in Central Scotland."

Veteran DJ Tom has helped to launch the careers of many bands, including The Almighty and Gun, and musicians across the country have joined the bid to bring back the show.

Derek 'Fish' Dick, from 80's rock group Marillion, Dan Reed from the Dan Reid Network and Kentucky rockers Black Stone Cherry are just some of those who have given their support.

Fish wrote on the campaign page: "We need people like Tom more than ever before to throw an honest light on rock music and to continue to introduce new young talent to the airwaves.

"He championed us with air plays when we were struggling to make headway and, over the years, I have conducted several interviews with one of the most eloquent and charming men on Scottish radio."

When questioned by the Evening Times, a station spokeswoman refused to respond to campaigners' concerns, and said the station was "overwhelmed by the positive response to XFM returning to Scotland this week."

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