Fiona Ritchie strolls along the main street of a small village in rural Scotland and steps through the plain doorway of an 18th century stone building. Passers-by would find it difficult to imagine what this simple gesture initiates: a weekly connection with devoted public radio listeners throughout the United States. In over two decades of broadcasts, Ritchie's radio program The Thistle & Shamrock has become one of NPR's most widely heard and best-loved music programs. She has entered the lives of millions of Americans by way of an inconspicuous studio door, thousands of miles away in Scotland.
Ritchie has come full circle to re-settle and create her radio programs at home in Scotland. Along the way she has forged a strong association with the United States, her adopted homeland, and made a unique contribution to the American airwaves.
We're celebrating St. Patrick's Day in true public radio form, a conversation with the award-winning host of NPR's The Thistle & Shamrock. Fiona Ritchie has spent more than 30 years digging into the evolving Celtic music tradition, and we got her to dish on the Irish, her children and NPR, too.