A hundred years ago, on December 2nd, the BBC aired its inaugural Gaelic programme shortly after unveiling its Belmont Street studios in Aberdeen.

A variety of content is planned to commemorate that groundbreaking broadcast from Station 2BD, as the first BBC radio station in Aberdeen was known. The intention is also to reflect on the evolution of Gaelic broadcasting up to the present day.

The initial BBC radio broadcast in Gaelic took place on Sunday, December 2, 1923. It featured a 15-minute religious address by Reverend John Bain, recorded at the High United Free Church in Aberdeen.

This marked the inception of a radio service that eventually evolved into BBC Radio nan Gàidheal, launched in 1985, following expanded programming through BBC Radio Highland and BBC Radio nan Eilean.

Another significant milestone occurred in 2008 with the launch of the television channel BBC ALBA, operated in partnership between the BBC and MG ALBA, the Gaelic Media Service. Various content will commemorate this milestone, including the Gaelic news service, BBC Naidheachdan, broadcasting live from Aberdeen on Friday, December 1, on Aithris na Maidne and Aithris an Fheasgair on BBC Radio nan Gàidheal, as well as An Là on BBC ALBA. This content will also be available on digital platforms. Earlier in the week, BBC ALBA’s Eòrpa assembled a panel to discuss the future of the language, and this program can be viewed on BBC iPlayer.

BBC Radio Nan Gàidheal’s “Chuala Mi” series features the station’s current presenters and staff sharing memorable broadcast moments and the kind of radio that inspired and captivated them. This series includes a curated playlist from the Gaelic radio library and can be listened to on demand on BBC Sounds.

In “Craoladh na Gàidhlig aig 100,” broadcaster Kenny MacIver guides the audience through the story of Gaelic broadcasting over the past century to the current radio, television, and online services, connecting audiences worldwide.

A Centenary Reception is planned at BBC Scotland’s Pacific Quay centre on Friday, December 1, where current and past staff, presenters, and contributors will gather to mark the milestone. In Inverness that same evening, journalist and broadcaster Donald Morrison will deliver the Gaelic Society of Inverness Lecture on the life and work of Gaelic broadcasting pioneer Fred MacAulay.

On “Mac’illeMhìcheil” on BBC Radio Nan Gàidheal on Friday evening, John Carmichael and guests will celebrate 100 years of Gaelic broadcasting on the BBC.

On Sunday, December 3, “Alleuia! 100” on BBC Radio nan Gàidheal and BBC ALBA, presented by Iain MacKinnon and Rev David Nicolson, will connect to that first broadcast, the religious service from Aberdeen. Additionally, bbc.co.uk/alba will feature a captivating range of programme clips from across the years on the Gaelic broadcasting timeline.

Margaret Mary Murray, Head of BBC Gaelic Services, said: ‘This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate memorable moments from a century of Gaelic broadcasting, to reflect on how our services have developed for audiences in Scotland and beyond and to look ahead to exciting new developments for Gaelic broadcasting in a truly digital age.”