20th January 2020
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Morton retires from the airwaves

He has been in broadcasting for more than 20 years, but radio presenter Tom Morton is giving up the airwaves following a health scare.

Mr Morton, from Hillswick, is well known on air for his Morton Through Midnight weekend shows on BBC Radio Scotland.

Tom Morton, a familiar voice on the airwaves, is retiring from broadcasting after a health scare. Photo: Ross Johnston

Tom Morton, a familiar voice on the airwaves, is retiring from broadcasting after a health scare. Photo: Ross Johnston

The former reporter and news editor for The Shetland Times received treatment at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary earlier this month, after suffering from heart difficulties.

But after being released from the hospital ward he was back again – this time at the Gilbert Bain Hospital in Lerwick – with another bout of chest pains.

The incidents have forced Mr Morton to re-evaluate his working life.

“To be honest, I’ve struggled with the late nights so obviously involved in broadcasting the three Morton Through Midnight shows every weekend, possibly because I was ill and didn’t realise,” he said.

“The enjoyment, indeed the privilege, of playing great music and hosting a community of great people across the world through the wireless has been immense. But it has been hard, very tiring and left me knackered during my off-air days. And doing my part some 500 miles away from my production team added to the strain.”

Mr Morton has been a prolific writer, author and broadcaster over the years. Recently he was appointed as Unst’s tourism development officer for six months. In March he was also made one of three new appointed trustees to Shetland Charitable Trust, along with former councillor Peter Malcolmson and GP Andrew Cooper.

He intends to maintain a presence on both bodies. He described broadcasting as a role that had been “by far the most debilitating”.

“So, after discussing things with my family, I’ve decided not to return to live late night broadcasting. There will be one final farewell show, pre-recorded later this week, and broadcast on Sunday 31st May, between 11pm and 1am.”

He said he had been “humbled and thrilled” by the “outpouring of support” since news of his illness broke, as well as the many people expressing hope he will be back, live, on air soon.

“Alas, that’s not going to happen. After more than 20 years of regular live broadcasting on BBC Radio Scotland, It’s time to move on.”

About Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor has worked as a reporter since 1995, and has been at The Shetland Times since 2007, covering a wide variety of news topics. Before then he reported for other newspapers in the Highlands, where he was raised, and in Fife, where he began his career with DC Thomson. He also has experience in broadcast journalism with Grampian Television. He has lived in Shetland since 2002, where he harbours an unhealthy interest in old cars and motorbikes.

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  1. John Tulloch

    Enjoy your retirement, Tom. You’ll find there’s plenty to do but don’t get involved with building any windmills – very stressful! 🙂

    Unst will be a great project.

  2. Alan Skinner

    I am very sorry to hear that Tom has not been well. I hope that he will be able to continue to make an intelligent and considered contribution to Shetland life. We need his views, even though I don’t always agree with them. I wish him a full recovery.

    Alan Skinner
    New House

  3. Alister Smith

    Really enjoyed your show from Australia Tom – particularly your afternoon show with all the great new music – you introduced me to some great music and were always entertaining – honestly the best radio host I have ever heard bar none.


    Brisbane, Australia


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