Broadcaster, journalist, musician, and

bon viveur

For more than a decade, Neville Garden's rich measured voice greeted Radio Scotland listeners as they woke in the morning. No disaster or tragedy seemed quite so appalling once it was modulated through his reassuring tones on Good Morning Scotland and a generation of Scottish radio listeners came to find Neville as necessary to the waking up process as a cup of coffee and the newspaper.

He graced the Scottish airwaves in a variety of programmes for more than 30 years, his avuncular authority filling both interviewees and listeners with confidence. His years presenting Good Morning Scotland were the most public of a 50-year career as a journalist, broadcaster, musician, conductor, reviewer, and bon viveur.

He first made a mark in his early teens winning a competition in the early 1940s to find a child actor for Children's Hour. Showbusiness was in his blood, however, as the nephew of opera singer Mary Garden, about whom he later wrote and broadcast.

After school at George Watson's College in Edinburgh, Neville entered journalism at the ground floor as a copy boy on the Edinburgh Evening Dispatch. There he fetched the tea and worked his way up, eventually to become senior feature writer on the Daily Express. He was admirably suited to feature writing, being both a great listener and a sympathetic interviewer who was as comfortable with Prince Philip as he was with a group of miners, and could put both equally at their ease.

One of Neville's most obvious characteristics was his extraordinary energy and as if journalism wasn't enough, through the 1960s and 1970s he had a

parallel career as a broadcaster with the BBC.

He became acknowledged as Scotland's voice of the arts on programmes such as Prospect, The Arts in Scotland, Twelve Noon, Festival View, and, especially, The Musical Garden, a miscellany of his beloved ''good tunes'' (''where are all the good tunes?'' he would inevitably ask in reviewing new music) which ran for 600 programmes.

That he should have become so associated with the arts was no surprise as he was a practitioner as well as a reviewer and critic. As a player, (no mean bassoonist) and conductor he was a vital part of Scottish musical life, especially as musical director of many of Edinburgh's amateur musical societies.

He was invited by the members to conduct The Salon Orchestra with which he gave dozens of concerts throughout Scotland, concerts resembling live versions of his radio Musical Garden. He approached working with the professionals, mostly members of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, with some trepidation, but they were attracted by his natural musical style as well as by his communication skills and sense of fun. When Radio Scotland was created in 1978, he was seduced from print journalism to present the morning news programme, Good Morning Scotland; at first, and exhaustingly, alone, then with Mike Russell, John Milne, and Malcolm Wilson, and it was here he grew into a national institution. He brought the right tone to the story whether it was the Piper Alpha disaster or the sex life of whelks.

No interviewee ever felt ''kebabbed'' by the nice man on the other side of the microphone and as a result often revealed more than was intended; and he was trusted by his listeners in a way that most broadcasters would envy.

Years of talking to all sorts of people for newspapers had

created a consummate broadcaster who could round off an item on kosher haggis with a reference to the likely enjoyment of Rabbi Burns.

He was even seen by his listeners in 1982 when Good Morning Scotland was simultaneously broadcast on television.

After 12 years on the morning shift, he was involved in another new venture when he presented Radio Scotland's first daily arts programme, Queen Street Garden. Here he seemed most completely at home, an expansive host, able more fully to indulge his sense of fun. The glee with which he reviewed ladies of a certain age at a Tom Jones concert was evident across the airwaves and the characteristic sound in the BBC's Edinburgh studios in the early 1980s was of Neville Garden's laughter ringing out down the corridors.

He was largely formed by his journalistic experiences in the 1950s, a time of larger than life people, of epic lunches, of arguments and makings up, of deadlines made, but only just; the journalist as romantic hero. He brought this sensibility to the BBC and it informed all his broadcasting.

Living such a heroic life took its toll but he survived four heart attacks, two bypass operations, and the removal of a benign brain tumour. It was his health which largely forced his retirement from full-time broadcasting but he was extraordinarily touched by a tribute concert which demonstrated the affection in which he was held by both performers and the Scottish public. During the BBC's 75th anniversary celebrations he was a one- man encyclopaedia of broadcasting knowledge.

He was much supported by his wife, Jane Fowler, an editor at the BBC, and his young family who brought him pride and happiness in the last two decades of his enormously productive life.

Neville Garden, writer and broadcaster; born February 13, 1936, died September 23, 2002