BBC TV channel replaces radio

A total of 13 BBC radio services are being replaced by a single television channel in Scotland, after the BBC Trust approved the launch of BBC ALBA on Freeview.

The Trust said it is the most technically and financially viable way to make the service available, initially between 5pm and midnight.

The review decided losing BBC Radios 1,2, 3, 4, 5 Live, 5 Live Sports Extra, BBC 1Xtra, BBC Asian Network, BBC 6 Music, BBC Radio 7, BBC Radio Scotland, BBC Radio nan Gàidheal, and BBC World Service would be a better alternative than dropping another television channcel such as BBC Parliment.

BBC ALBA is a Gaelic-language service currently available on satellite and BBC iPlayer, with limited distribution on smaller cable providers. It is the first BBC licence fee funded service to operate as a partnership, between the BBC and MG ALBA.

[blockquote]It was found that buying spectrum was ruled out due to the prohibitive cost. The removal of a red button stream or BBC Parliament from Freeview was also ruled out due to the likely loss of significant public value. Distributing BBC ALBA on broadband as an alternative to Freeview was ruled out due to relatively low broadband take-up and slow broadband speeds in Scotland, particularly in the Highlands and Islands.[/blockquote]

BBC Trust Chairman Sir Michael Lyons said: "The question of how to make BBC ALBA more widely available to licence fee payers in Scotland is a good example of the wider issue of distribution choices which we have been grappling with as part of our recent Strategy Review – how the BBC should best reach audiences as platforms increase. Through the Strategy Review we've committed the BBC to doing more to ensure that its services can be conveniently accessed by all audiences, and doing more to represent the nations. Enabling BBC ALBA to be carried on Freeview is a key part of that commitment."

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