Edinburgh’s short-lived radio show of the 2000s that debuted as the UK’s biggest ever flop

Launched in February 2006, Talk 107 was the first local commercial radio show outside of London in the UK.

A division of Talk Sport, the station covered the city of Edinburgh and the region surrounding the Firth of Forth until its final broadcast in December 2008.

With a range of news, sports and morning talk shows, the station was poised to be a hit – albeit barely scuffed in its two years of operation.

By the end of its first year on air, average listeners sat at around 16,000 a week and Talk 107 had the lowest debut of any UK radio station in history, as well as the smallest station radio station interviewed from Scotland.

The original line-up of presenters included Mike Graham, former editor of the Scottish Daily Mirror, who hosted the mid-morning show The Independent Republic of Mike Graham.

Now working for Talk Radio, Mike recently made headlines after an interview with a spokesman for protest group Insulate Britain, when he claimed it was possible to grow concrete.

Elsewhere in the program was Graham Stewart, who now presents Reporting Scotland for BBC Scotland.

Following the release of the station’s initial ratings reports, Talk 107 attempted to shake up the schedule and attract more listeners.

Scottie McLue, Colin Lamont’s on-air character, was asked to host a late-night show Sunday through Thursday.

Scottie has become a bit of a viral sensation recently, posting updates on TikTok (Image: Youtube – Colin Lamont)

With a controversial past, Scottie had landed in hot water while working at Scot FM in the 90s after complaints to the watchdog about his views on gay men and women and his use of language.

Having changed his reputation, Scottie remained at Talk 107 until March 2008, when the station swapped many segments in favor of its sister station’s shows; Talk Sports.

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The Sunday afternoon sports reports were replaced by a similar transmission from Jeremy Kyle direct from London.

In April, former MSP Tommy Sheridan was dropped by the station after deciding he was being too aggressive.

At the time of his dismissal, Sheridan was also appearing in court with an ongoing investigation into whether he lied in a 2006 lawsuit against the News of the World.

A spokesperson for Talk 107 said the decision to get rid of Sheridan had nothing to do with the lawsuit.

They said: “Tommy’s style of broadcasting was quite confrontational.

People don’t want to hear that, they want more balance.

Tommy Sheridan was fired from Talk 107 for being too
Tommy Sheridan was sacked from Talk 107 for being too “controversial” (Image: UTV – Talk 107)

It was Talk 107’s fourth departure in a short time, with Scottie McLue, Mike Graham and Susan Morrison leaving the station within weeks of each other.

Despite their best efforts, no swapping of presenters or celebrity names was going to save Talk 107 and it was announced that the station was for sale.

After being sacked, Mike Graham told The Scotsman his feelings about the station’s future.

He told them, “I feel pretty sad at the news because I always thought Talk 107 could have been a hit.

“But I can’t say it was a complete surprise to learn he’s for sale.

“Everyone talks about consolidation, small stations are centralized, all information comes from a hub.”

Media watchdog Ofcom has ruled out the option of switching from an all-vocal format, meaning any interest in buying Talk 107 would force the buyer to go ahead without any musical segments.

In the end, the owners of Talk 107 UTV received no license surrender offers and eventually returned the station to Ofcom.

By the end of 2008, the station had 37,000 listeners out of a potential 1 million according to Radio Joint Audience Research, reaching just 1.2% of its audience.

A campaign launched in 2007 warned listeners to enter at their own risk, which most people apparently took to heart (Image: UTV - Talk 107)
A campaign launched in 2007 warned listeners to enter at their own risk, which most people apparently took to heart (Image: UTV – Talk 107)

It was reported in 2008 that 11 permanent jobs and up to nine freelance positions were lost when Talk 107 ceased production.

At the station’s closure, UTV General Manager Scott Taunton said: “It is disappointing that after an exhaustive search, we have not been able to find a buyer for Talk 107.

“We explored a number of options, including a proposed management buyout, but none proved viable – so unfortunately we had no alternative but to close the station.”

Talk 107 staff were notified of the closure on December 23 with Drive Time presenters Mark and Marissa making the announcement live at 5:20 p.m.

The station intended to stop broadcasting at 10 p.m. on December 24, although broadcasts ended 24 hours earlier.

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