(born 1960) is a Scottish radio broadcaster best known as the producer and host of The Thistle & Shamrock
, an hour-long Celtic music
program that airs weekly throughout the United States on National Public Radio
(NPR). She also produces Thistlepod
, offering free podcasts from program archives of artist interviews and musical excerpts from the show.
The program has won numerous awards since its inception in 1981, offering a fusion of traditional and contemporary Celtic sounds, interwoven with in-studio performances and Ritchie’s own trademark commentary in her “soft Scots” dialect.
Ritchie was born and raised in Scotland, where she went to the University of Stirling
for her undergraduate education. While there, she was invited to spend one semester in North Carolina
in the United States, and that was when she first heard NPR. After graduating in Scotland she returned to North Carolina and, although initially pursuing post-graduate research, was hired by WFAE
FM, the NPR station in Charlotte
, to oversee fundraising and promotion efforts.
WFAE was a new station open to new ideas and in 1981 Ritchie began a weekly hour of Celtic music
for its local audience. The Thistle & Shamrock
was picked up for national broadcast less than two years after this debut. The program's national following grew quickly and it was soon established as one of NPR's most widely heard and best-loved... Read More