Listen to Jeff's shows on the iPlayer
« Previous | Main | Next »

Radio Or Alba On Freeview?

Post categories:

Jeff Zycinski | 23:25 UK time, Tuesday, 27 October 2009

BBC-Alba.gifI'm a big fan of BBC Alba and not just because it allows me to watch free football on a Saturday night. There have been some great documentaries and music programmes and the nightly news programme from Inverness has the kind of freshness and originality that appeals to my old journalistic instincts.

Great presenters too.

Having said all that, when I first heard about the plans to remove every BBC radio station from Freeview so that BBC Alba could find a home there I was, shall we say, a bit put out.
I'm afraid to say I was responding with the kind of gut instinct that leads some of us in radio to think of ourselves as Cinderella. I'm not going to name the ugly sisters.

But when I started to look at the facts and figures, the idea began to make more sense.

For starters, only about one percent of all radio listening happens through Freeview. And of that one percent very few people have no other alernative, be it FM, DAB, Online or Satellite TV.

At the same time, attempts to promote digital radio listening have been a bit messy because there are so many platforms available. Most of the marketing spend has centred on DAB while internet listening (my own favourite) rarely gets mentioned - except on the radio stations' own idents.

But there's a plan -outlined in the U.K. Government's Digital Britain report - to switch off most FM radio as early as 2015. Most people in the industry regard that target as "ambitious".

For BBC Radio Scotland there are a number of complicating factors around that. We currently offer a split service of FM/MW programmes most weekday evenings. We also split FM transmission geographically to offer localised news and sport in areas such as the Highlands and the Borders.

Currently we cant do either of those things on DAB - which is something many DAB listeners complain about. It needs a technical solution. There is one, but it comes at a cost.

Add to that the long-standing transmission blackspots around Scotland, such as the A9 corridor, and you can see that our issues go way beyond the decision to keep radio on Freeview or not.

But you can have your say on that. The BBC Trust has just launched a consultation exercise and there's a online survey you can complete by clicking here.


or register to comment.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.