We’re saddened to report the death of Stewart Cruickshank, former BBC radio producer.
That description falls very short in describing the man and his influence on Scottish music of all genres.
Stewart worked for the Beeb in Glasgow for close on 35 years, initially as a “gramophone librarian” at BBC Scotland’s Queen Margaret Drive headquarters. For the next three decades, he worked across the musical genres, including Traveling Folk, the Ken Bruce show, the Be-Bop to Hip-Hop jazz programme, Original Masters with John Cavanagh, and piloted the Celtic Connections radio series, which of course gives the music festival its name.
Stewart was also known for his radio documentary work – perhaps most notably Beatstalking, a history of Scottish rock music presented by Muriel Gray, as well as Street Fighting Years, profiling Simple Minds.
But for readers of this website, it would be Stewart’s work on the BBC’s alternative music programming that is of most significance, founding the long-running indie music show Beat Patrol. Presented by Peter Easton, the show gave many bands including Belle and Sebastian early airplay, and Stewart would also produce sessions by the likes of The Delgados and Bis, while Mercury Rev fans will see his credit on Radio Scotland-recorded tracks on their rarities album.
Similarly, his documentary work extended outwith Scotland with various BBC Radio 2 shows covering Ray Davies, the Sex Pistols and The Who, while he also spent time in the USA interviewing Jackson Browne and Lou Reed for programmes which were broadcast globally.
At the turn of the century he was awarded the Fellowship of the Royal Society of the Arts for his contribution to UK music radio.
Stewart retired from the BBC in 2006, but continued to co-produce the Iain Anderson show, via production company Bees Nees, until finally retiring last October.
I last saw Stewart at the Scottish Album of the Year show earlier in 2015. As ever he greeted us warmly and proceeded to introduce us to the throng around him, enthusiastically ‘bigging up’ Jockrock and is this music? to anyone who would listen.
Of the many tributes paid since he passed away, one rightly pointed out that he should be remembered as a warm, smart, enthusiastic human being as much as for his contributions to music. For me, the two went hand in hand – always keen to help, never short of a kind word, gregarious and ebullient – I’m sure this was the case in his personal life, but for the hundreds of people who encountered Stewart via a shared love of music, he will be remembered with great affection – and will be sorely missed.
Finally, tributes paid by friends and colleagues on BBC Radio Scotland