The Thistle & Shamrock

The Thistle & Shamrock

Infobox Radio Show
show_name = The Thistle & Shamrock

format = Celtic music, folk
audio_format = Stereophonic
record_location = Perthshire, Scotland and Charlotte, North Carolina
runtime = c. 50 min
creator = Fiona Ritchie
producer = Fiona Ritchie
executive_producer =
presenter = Fiona Ritchie
opentheme =
endtheme =
country = USA
language = English
home_station = WFAE
syndicates = National Public Radio
first_aired = 1981
last_aired = "present"
website = []
podcast = [ Podcast / RSS Feed]

"The Thistle & Shamrock (Thistle) " is a weekly U.S. syndicated radio program, named after the national emblems of Scotland and Ireland, specializing in Celtic music. It is heard on 380 National Public Radio (NPR) stations, [cite web | author=Fiona Ritchie | title=Fiona Reflects: Life on the Dial | url= | publisher=National Public Radio | date=2005 | accessdate=2007-10-13] and is available internationally on WorldSpace via NPR Worldwide; according to NPR. "Thistle" is the most listened-to Celtic music program in the world. [cite web | title="The Thistle & Shamrock:" About the Show | url= | publisher=National Public Radio | date=2006 | accessdate=2007-10-13] It has been produced and hosted by Scottish-born Fiona Ritchie since its inception in 1981.


"Thistle" began at WFAE, a newly established NPR affiliate in Charlotte, North Carolina. At the time it went on the air in 1981, WFAE was licensed to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC) and Ritchie was working as a volunteer, having returned there after spending a semester in 1980 there as a teaching assistant.cite web | author=Fiona Ritchie | title=The Thistle & Shamrock | url= | publisher=East Tennessee State University (WETS-FM) | date= | accessdate=2008-01-12] Being a new enterprise in need of programming, WFAE invited Ritchie to create a program of Celtic music. It originally aired only locally, but was launched nationally on June 4, 1983.

"Thistle" features traditional music, the singer-songwriter genre, and the Celtic music contribution to world music. In-studio guests comment on the music and contribute exclusive content, including NPR’s first mp3 music download and live festival recordings.

In the summer of 1990, Ritchie returned to her native Scotland where she continued to produce the program for NPR, and has also worked for the BBC.cite web | author=Fiona Ritchie | title="The Thistle & Shamrock:" Roots | url= | publisher=National Public Radio| date=2005 | accessdate=2007-09-26]

Although WFAE is no longer licensed to UNCC and has switched to a mostly news-talk format, the Charlotte station continues to carry "Thistle" as one of its few music programs.

Related products

Ritchie has also produced several CD compilations of Celtic music, and authored a volume on Celtic music for the "NPR Curious Listener’s Guide" book series, published in 2005.

In 2006 Ritchie launched Thistlepod, a free podcast from NPR featuring new-releases from Celtic roots.


External links

*"The Thistle & Shamrock" [ official website]

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