One of our most creative radio producers is on his way to Washington D.C. this week after a special request from BBC Radio 4. David Stenhouse (who is currently presenting our online Arts, Classical & Jazz Zone) has been seconded, for three months, to the new Americana programme. It's on BBC Radio 4 at quarter past seven on Sunday nights.
It's no surprise that David has been sought out in this way. He has made some brilliant programmes for many BBC radio stations and you may have caught the series he made for us on the Scots in America. We wish him well, although many of us are just a wee bit jealous too. Imagine working with presenter Matt Frei and researching stories and guests from Maine to CaIifornia. A tough job, but somebody (else) has to do it. Sob.
Meanwhile, for the next thirty days, we at BBC Radio Scotland are going cold turkey on our seeming addiction to American culture. Throughout June we'll be finding out more about our European neighbours. We'll have programmes devoted to European politics, journalism, business, culture, sport and much more. Music too, of course.
It called 30 Days in Europe and if you thought our recent Adventures on the M8 was full of surprises, just wait 'till you hear what happens once we get off the Autobahns and high speed railways! I can almost smell that sangria and taste that, er, schnitzel.
Writing in the Herald yesterday, the radio critic Anne Simpson suggested we should have aired these programmes throughout May and given listeners a few pointers in advance of the European elections. A fair point but, in truth, that had never been the real peg for this project. Instead, we looked ahead to the end of June when many families in Scotland will take advantage of the school break to start their summer holidays. Thousands will head for the popular European resorts in search of sun, good food and a bit of local culture.
So this year, if you spot some right know-it-alls on the beach or in the pavement cafes, cut them a bit of slack. They might be some of our well-informed listeners.
Throughout June we'll also be giving you plenty of opportunities to share stories of your own European travels. I'll also be back on this blog with some personal memories of Dublin, Vienna and Paris...although I don't think I can top this particular story of romance that I revealed on the blog way back in 2007. Mrs Zed has never forgiven me for blabbing about that one.