April 30, 2002

‘Pipeline’ To Be Hosted by West and Wallace

“Pipeline,” BBC Radio Scotland’s weekly piping program, will be hosted jointly by Gary West of Perth and Robert Wallace of Glasgow. The two will present separately, alternating programs.

The move comes after Iain MacInnes, the founding presenter and producer of the program, announced that he will take a one-year sabbatical from the show to research and write a book on piping in the 20th century.

Along with West and Wallace, the new producer for the program will be Sean Purser.

Like MacInnes, Gary West is very well know and highly regarded in piping and Celtic music circles. A former member of the Vale of Atholl Pipe Band, he now devotes much of his time to folk music, having recently released The Islay Ball, a new recording on the Greentrax label. He has also played with several successful folk groups, and it is thought that he, like his predecessor, will bring a balanced and informed approach to the show.

Robert Wallace is currently the principal of the College of Piping and editor of both the monthly Scottish digest, Piping Times, and the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association’s Pipe Band bi-monthly magazine. Wallace’s appointment as part-time presenter of “Pipeline” gives him unprecedented journalistic power in the piping world.

Wallace has been embroiled in controversy recently after sharply rebuking a government grant to The National Piping Centre, contending that the money should be spread to the College of Piping. Many feel that Glasgow can and should support only one major piping facility. The Piping Times has also been sharply critical of “Pipeline,” publishing regular disapproval of the show’s content and MacInnes’s style.

“These are big shoes to fill,” said one “Pipeline” listener. “Iain MacInnes has truly brought the BBC’s piping programming to a whole new level. He’s also not attached to any organization or band, which made him completely objective in his views. Let’s hope Wallace and West will do the same.”


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