VOLUNTEERS at Radio Millport have told how a team of five plucky presenters battled to keep the station on air during the coronavirus pandemic.

With many of the station’s team forced to shield in the last few months, Stevie Muir, Paul Dundas, Liz Dundas, Paul Dillon and Alan Cawley kept them on air by broadcasting from home round the clock.

Station manager Stevie Muir, pictured, says the feedback from island residents and listeners further afield has been fantastic - and believes the famous five at Radio Millport played a major role helping them through the crisis.

He said: “The station drew a great response from people who said it raised everyone's spirits during lockdown.

“A few have said it was a great way to communicate with family and friends whilst shielding by asking for songs and submitting requests.

“I think that people who listened and got involved were very grateful and happy to have the service still operating.”

More than half of the station’s presenters were forced to give up their shows during lockdown as they had to shield on the island.

Stevie says the effect of this can be huge as for many of the volunteers involve themselves in the station as a distraction from everyday life.

He explained: “Whilst the station had an impact on the lockdown, lockdown has had an impact on the station as well. We have lost over half of our presenters as they fall into the high-risk category.

“We have had people that cannot continue their shows because it requires others to be in the studio from different households.

“For many, the whole point of the station is the love of music and how it connects us all, and it is also a way to escape the pressures of everyday life.

“With a global pandemic ongoing, mental health is important and music is a great way to relate to their feelings and passion and without this outlet it can have an effect on their own wellbeing.”

Stevie says the pandemic has also had a huge impact on Radio Millport financially, but he is hoping to secure funding to keep the station running.

He said: “The pandemic has hit us hard. We deemed it unfair to ask sponsors and advertisers to pay when their business had to close because of restrictions.

“With little cash left in our account, we were limited to the amount of equipment we could supply presenters with to broadcast from home.

“The main aim for now is to secure another three years of funding. Thankfully it is only running costs now as equipment has been updated recently.

“Once that has been secured we will reopen the station itself - and hopefully bringing in new presenters as well.”