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BBC ALBA on Freeview

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Alix Pryde Alix Pryde | 21:46 UK time, Tuesday, 24 May 2011

We've recently had to make some difficult choices at the BBC about how we use our digital TV capacity in Scotland. I thought it would be worth sharing the thinking behind our decisions, including how we were influenced by a principle in the BBC Charter and Agreement and insight about audiences' listening and viewing habits.

BBC ALBA, the Gaelic language TV channel operated by BBC in partnership with MG ALBA, will launch on Freeview in Scotland on 8 June.

BBC ALBA has been available on satellite (Sky and Freesat) for some time and launched on Virgin Media cable on 18 May 2011. The Freeview launch is the final piece of the jigsaw that will make BBC ALBA available to all TV homes in Scotland This will extend the reach of this public service channel allowing it to do more to meet its remit to serve Gaelic-speaking audiences and those who wish to learn the language. Crucially, the Freeview launch supports the universality principle in the BBC Agreement that asks us to give licence fee payers convenient access to the services that are intended for them.

To make space for this new service on Freeview affordably, the BBC Trust gave approval for BBC ALBA to broadcast in Scotland in the evening in place of the thirteen BBC radio services (see below for list) that we currently broadcast. The BBC Trust also challenged BBC Management to look at affordable technical solutions that would allow some radio services to be retained around the clock.

I am pleased to confirm that we have been able to retain three radio services while BBC ALBA is on-air. We decided to prioritise radio stations that are unavailable on FM, to maximise the convenient availability of our radio stations to licence fee payers. Unfortunately we couldn't make space for all seven stations that don't have full FM coverage, so we looked at audiences' radio listening habits on digital television in the evenings and gave priority to the ones that were the most listened to. As a result, the stations that will remain on Freeview in Scotland 24/7 are:

• BBC Radio 5 Live
• BBC Radio 1 Xtra
• BBC Radio 6 Music.

Six of the other radio stations will still be available to listeners on FM radio. The other four remain available on DAB digital radio, free-to-air digital satellite and at bbc.co.uk/radio.

BBC ALBA's transmission hours are:

• Weekdays: 5pm to midnight
• Saturday: 4pm to 1am
• Sundays: 4pm to midnight.

Outside these hours, all thirteen BBC radio services will continue to be available on Freeview in Scotland as now.

We hope that the vast majority of people affected by this change will continue to listen to our radio services by other means, such as FM radio, DAB digital radio, free-to-air digital satellite and at bbc.co.uk/radio. You may be interested to hear that the roll out of the BBC's UK-wide DAB digital radio service continues in Scotland over the summer and into the autumn to bring more people into coverage of the network, extending even as far as Shetland.

This wasn't an easy set of decisions to make - prioritising BBC ALBA over the radio services and then prioritising the more popular digital-only services over the others. The fact remains that in making BBC ALBA available to all TV households in Scotland, in keeping with what the BBC Agreement expects us to do, we have taken away for some parts of the day one option for listening to some of our radio stations. We have sought to minimise the adverse impact on listeners, but a small group of licence fee payers were listening to those services at that time of day on Freeview, and valuing the ability to do so. I regret that these people will be disappointed. The truth is that we had to balance the limited resource of capacity against the overall audience benefit.

Finally, I hope this explanation gives reassurance that we put a great deal of thought and analysis into the decisions we took, weighing up the difficult balances carefully.

Alix Pryde is Director, BBC Distribution

Six that are available on FM: BBC Radio Scotland, BBC Radio nan Gaidheal and BBC Radios 1, 2, 3 and 4. One that is available on MW: BBC Radio 5Live. And six that are available digitally only: BBC Radios 1Xtra, 4Extra, 5Live Sports Extra, 6Music, BBC Asian Network and the BBC World Service.


  • Comment number 1.

    How can you justify a Gaelic programme like Alba wiping out on Freeview important radio stations such as Radio 3 and 4? The Gaelic minority is extremely small, and ALBA is available from several sources elsewhere. The insularity behind this thinking is breathtaking (on a par with STV's jingoistic decision to deny us several high-quality English programmes transmitted on ITV1). The sound quality on Freeview Radio 3 is considerably better than on DAB, and FM Radio 3 frequently has hiss problems and will be discontinued in the near future. Now many people like me are forced to buy Freesat equipment in order to receive good sound quality on Radio 3. It is sad when a reverent institution like the BBC gives in to chauvinistic tunnel vision like this.

  • Comment number 2.

    Apologies: for "reverent" in my previous comment, please read "revered".

  • Comment number 3.

    I welcome the BBC's decision to put a television channel on a TELEVISION platform. Whilst it is unfortunate that some radio stations will disappear during BBC Alba's broadcast hours, the BBC's radio stations are already available via far more means than BBC Alba is. Additionally, enjoying a radio station online is arguably easier than trying to watch a television channel.

    I am not a native Gaelic speaker, but with most of the programmes subtitled in English, I look forward to enjoying the extra programming that will be on offer on Freeview as of 8th June, particularly next season's Magners League. Studies of viewers already watching on satellite show that not all are Gaelic speakers, which puts the argument of a 'Gaelic minority' in the shade.

    Clearly the above poster is one who regards their own opinion to be one of 'many people', but the BBC Trust's own studies show more will benefit from this than the number of those adversely affected. Equally with their stance on STV; theirs is a commercial business which is primarily supposed to make money and they are entitled to do this as they wish. A recent agreement between STV and ITV highlights that the two are now working more closely than in recent years, but as equal partners, which can only be good for STV's future.

    And on the subject of futures - BBC Alba can continue to flourish now that it will be available to the whole Scottish population come switchover.

  • Comment number 4.

    I have recently invested in a Freeview TV for my bedroom and recycled my old analogue TV/radio. Unfortunately, I can no longer access my favourite radio channels (ie Radio 4, 4Extra, World Service) during the evening. I have always found these channels to be informative, thought-provoking and enlightening - far more so than the usual BBC TV (news) programmes. I am very disappointed that they have been sacrificed in order that Alba may be broadcast via Freeview.

    Whilst I have some sympathy for Gaelic speakers, people interested in Gaelic culture and their wish to have a dedicated TV channel, surely preventing access to other cultures' news, information and analysis for 6.5 hours per day is too high a price to pay? Broadcasting the Edinburgh Military Tattoo (again) is no substitute for the loss of World news and Culture. If the point of this exercise is to serve Gaelic speaking audiences and those who wish to learn the language, this was surely met by the broadcasts from TeleG. I live in the Scottish Borders and am unaware of any Gaelic speakers in this area and have never heard anyone show an interest in learning Gaelic.

    I am not in a position to buy additional equipment so that I may once again enjoy the top-quality broadcasts from the channels which have been suspended.

  • Comment number 5.

    I am really disappointed to loose the access to those BBC radio channels in the evening. Radio 4 & 3 were great quality on Freeview - a real bonus for me. Alba may turn out to be a great TV channel but why did we have to loose such iconic radio broadcasting? Surely you could offer us both. Please try and find a solution.

  • Comment number 6.

    So we have to lose Radio 4 to BBC Alba? And it's all based on the number of listeners in Scotland, is it? I would like to see some comparative figures for the number of viewers actually watching BBC Alba. Freeview is, for many Highland listeners, the only way to receive Radio 4 digital broadcasts, and I'm extremely disappointed that the service has been curtailed. Please... bring back Radio 4 in the evenings...the three available lightweight stations are no substitute for the loss. And while we're on the subject, I don't recall any kind of consultation process? This decision is inappropriate, ill-considered, and should be reversed at the earliest opportunity.

  • Comment number 7.

    why is there an annoying black text box that keeps appearing and obscuring the subtitles???
    It says "due to technical difficulties, the service you require is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later".
    It's been there for DAYS! When will it bog off?

  • Comment number 8.

    BordersScot - I'm quite sure there will be many in the Borders who will enjoy the coverage of the rugby now available to all cheaply rather than just to those with Sky or Virgin. It's not just the Tattoo, we had Rock Ness for the first time on Freeview and many interesting documentaries.

    Percyplantfan - You also have a computer I assume and for Radio 4, just go on the iPlayer like many will. It may not be as simple but it'll take just a minute more (eh eh, do you see what I did.

    Friendgaelic - I also am perturbed by the choice, how many people listen to 1Xtra in Scotland? Surely those that listen to 1Xtra are more likely to be computer literate and easier access to the radio site (Since 1 & 1Xtra have the same DJ's and play the same gangster terrible stuff why the need for the 2 stations anyway). 5Live and 6Music however are not lightweight, 6Music was saved by a huge campaign.

  • Comment number 9.

    The precedence of minority language, and indeed regional (i e Scottish) radio and TV programmes over nationwide ones is parochial and can only be politically motivated. Most of us live in the modern world and do not want cultural isolation forced upon us.
    I greatly regret the decision to eliminate Radio 3 from Freeview, at any time of the day.

  • Comment number 10.

    Ah yes the Catalonians are culturally isolated. Now its where Catalan is the majority language despite being a minority language under Franco. It's more political not having BBC Alba on and then trying to turn Freeeview viewers against the channel like the BBC is doing now with this whole un-needed debate, how come there's a campaign by Jeremy Hunt to use local TV bandwidths yet there has to be removal of Radio stations up here. Not at all dodgy going's on at White City.

    Radio 3 is available elsewhere, strangely enough on radios, the real loss is the digital stations which aren't available as freely.

  • Comment number 11.

    I don't live in the H&I area but I've been speaking to a couple who do - and they say a lot of people are none-too-pleased about losing the radio stations as a result of BBC Alba, for some Freeview is their only form of digital radio. There's clearly a place for gaelic TV but not at the loss of the major radio channels. Surely it can't be beyond the wit of the technical experts to have one without losing all the others.

  • Comment number 12.

    Why are you removing high quality programmes from freeview when we get a mediocre service at best. By all means put a gaelic programme on freeview but to remove R3 and R4 (with the World Service the best parts of the BBC ) to give us the vacuous pap that passes for Radio 5 live, Radio 1 And Radio 6
    Freeview is the only way to get a decent signal in the H & I and to bin 2 of the best programmes on radio and support mediocre programs promoting minority languages and naff sport entertainment programmes is just typical of the BBC.
    Its bad enough that we have to suffer weegie radio scotland and its tedious diet of football and wailing without being deprived of the only suitable R3 and R4 signal in the Highlands. Your in high dudgeon Colin

  • Comment number 13.

    I am extremely unhappy that we have lost BBC World Service, Radio 4 and other BBC radio stations on Freeview during evenings and weekends. Had I been aware of a consultation, I would have made my views known. I urge the BBC Director and the BBC Trust to reconsider this decision.

    E. Williamson, Glasgow

  • Comment number 14.

    Again BBC proves to be guilty of discrimination.
    The majority of Scottish people have to suffer to allow a tiny minority to watch Alba on freeview.
    Who's bright idea was this and who approved it.
    This utter nonsense cannot be good for the BBC - the logic just defies belief
    !!!!! someone somewhere sort this out please!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 15.

    I had never heard of BBC Alba until my other half Googled about the Radio 4 cuts on Wednesday. I am amazed the BBC did not see fit to make it very clear to BBC radio listeners that our radio services were to be drastically reduced. There should have been banner headlines in Radio Times and other appropriate places, including notices on Freeview itself, announcing the changes, requesting comment and offering advice as to how to deal with the situation.

    As it is, the whole thing is a shambles, for example I still cannot get Radio 4 after 5pm by any means on the expensive Freeview equipment I just bought (on the strength of being able to us it to receive ALL my TV and Radio requirements), because it remains impossible to get it via vTuner. I am forced to resort to the tinny reception I can get on my computer or use my old analogue radio which I had thought would be consigned to the garage permanently. Quite apart from the reduced quality of the reception, I have also been forced to resort to the tangle of cables and bits and pieces of old equipment and multiple remote controllers which I had thought would no longer be required.

    I have made a formal complaint to the BBC and anyone who want to can as well, at the following website: https://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/forms/

    There is also an email address for anyone to contact who wants to get involved in a campaign to get the radio services back: backfreeviewradio@gmx.co.uk

  • Comment number 16.

    The BBC Could easily have used another frequency, or God forbid, bought airspace on a Mux that wasn't reserved for them in Scotland, but no, the Political March of Gaelic rolls on.

    To claim that a TV platform should be used only for TV is disingenuous to those who live in remote parts of the country whose DAB coverage is impossible. These remote parts include Dundee City Centre.

    Now, the good news must be that now Alba is Networked, there's no need for Gaelic programmes on BBC 1&2, so the 99% non-gaelic speakers can watch the same programmes as the rest of the UK.

    However, if BBC Alba developed in to BBC Scotland, and served all the languages and heritages that have formed modern Scotland, then it would probably be welcomed by many, many more than just the few thousand that watch the rest of the programmes outside of Spors.

  • Comment number 17.

    How this can be percieved as a good thing is completely beyond me. I like many football fans use the bbc radio scotland service on freeview to listen to sportsound and other similar programming on a regular basis during the week, but now cannot due to the bbc encouraging a schedule that the majority of scotland cannot understand. Might as well be called highland and island Tv not bbc alba, i thought paying the waste of money tv license gave me that choice but the bbc yet again show that listening to the public is not within their remit. And the fact that not all people have access to the internet, sky, dab radio and only have freeview as their sole tv and radio platform i think it is a very unfortunate situation.

  • Comment number 18.

    A consequence of this move to grab bandwidth for BBC ALBA is that Test Match Special on R5SX was cut off today in mid-over! I only realised this was a BBC move and not a problem with my equipment when I got to this blog. What worries me is the lack of information (BBC mission is to INFORM?). TMS is a particular example of a long programme where there is not a conventient time to organise switch off. May I suggest:
    (a) The on-screen notice of available times explains WHY the service is cut off.
    (b) There is an announcement - particularly by TMS commentators for continuity - something like 'Scottish Freeview listeners are about to leave us for the evening .. please keep listening to us on DAB radio, long wave or the internet'

  • Comment number 19.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 20.

    I live in the SE of Scotland I know no Gaelic speakers. The Lothans have never spoken Gaelic, in the 9th century a language akin to welsh was spoken NOT Gaelic. The Anglican invasions in the 7-8th century replaced these with Scots English, over 1000 years ago

    I strongly protest!

  • Comment number 21.

    David, you wrote: "I strongly protest!"

    BBC have a complaints website. I regret I am not able to give the website here, I think it would be removed!

    Google BBC complaints and complain formally. People are. Be sure to request a reply. Pressure is mounting - they have got to the stage of having a "standard response" email. The main subject is still BBC Alba - force them to focus on BBC radio.


    PS: a campaign has started, you might want to try Googling "backfreeviewradio"

  • Comment number 22.

    I am unhappy that the BBC radio stations have been taken off air due to BBC Alba. Why could they not have reduced BBC Parliament to audio only or taken it off air completely in the evenings and retained the radio channels, im sure very few people would notice....
    I would also like to suggest that the BBC Alba provide an alternative audio stream in English (where it is available for the program), that way the channel could get far more viewers from us "common" scots who dont speak Gaelic.

  • Comment number 23.

    Normally I rely on the BBC broadcasts in the evening from my Freeview box as I have to work in a kitchen listening while you work is a really great way to stay current and keep up with all affairs British. I was stunned and amazed at the stupidity of the BBC in inflicting its Gaelic station on us (the 95+% percent of the Scottish based population who have no interest in the language) in prime time. Who decided that we should to listen to this dead language when most people in Scotland speak relevant languages like English, Polish, Russian, Cantones, Urdu and Gujarati. Gaelic is not the national Scottish language (or has someone decided it is ?), did the BBC carry out a public consultation or was this disaster dreamt up in a Glasgow pub?.
    Does this mean that Alba is coming off BBC 2 - thank God !

    Please bring back British Broadcasting - i guess its time normal people woke up a bit and started voting again...

  • Comment number 24.

    It is 2am and BBC Radio is back on thank goodness. I am tuned to Radio 3, and Radio 4 is closed for the night and instead its channel is broadcasting World Service... hang on a mo!

    Talk about a waste of resources! World Service has a perfectly good channel of its own, so why is it necessary to duplicate the same output on the Radio 4 channel? Surely that time would be better allocated, in Scotland anyway, to carry many of those programmes that have been dropped in the evenings in favour of BBC Alba.

    One of the great things about Freeview is that it facilitates easy recording of programmes broadcast at awkward hours to be listened to at a more convenient time.

    Think what that could mean. The return to Freeview of Jazz Record Requests, Jazz on Three, some classics, from Radio Three. Plus many of the lost programmes from Radio Four, Scotland, etc.

    Hows about it, you Radio People. That might at least be a step in the right direction.

    And another thing ... hey, I'm on a roll here ... why does Alba have to monopolise the radio channels the WHOLE of its time on air? What about that thing called The Great British Compromise? If Radio has to give way part time, why should not Alba give way part time also? Maybe reduce the Alba Freeview time in order to allow the radio news, time sensitive programmes such as PM and 6 o'clock news ... and the comedy time?

    How's THAT for a Thought For The Day? (and no religion too! - to quote John)

  • Comment number 25.

    Why were we not warned that the radio services would be switched off! There was no proper warning, I dare say that some notification was made but not anywhere effective. Radio 3 and 4 suddenly disappeared causing me to retune my digital box a couple of times to no avail. In the last couple of days there is a notice on the programme info that the channels are not available. If I can look around I can find a notice of the time it is available but all this should have been obvious before the service was withdrawn.

  • Comment number 26.

    Why does the BBC decide we would rather listen to radio 6 than radio 4 in the evenings? Some of the other tripe on freeview should be either removed or consigned to lower bitrates to allow radio 4 24/7.
    BBC radio transmissions in Scotland are a total mess. No one radio or tv can get them all. MW unlistenable. Long Wave, poor. FM lacks many stations. DAB variable and poor and lacking R Scotland and local stations
    It's a dogs breakfast
    So now we get radio 6 and BBC Alba. Big Deal!

  • Comment number 27.

    Alba is good - for rugby, music and some local interest.
    Loss of radio programs is bad - esp if you don't have a radio in the room and want to listen to Iain Anderson et al when there is nothing on television. Why not get rid of some of the other rubbish channels?

  • Comment number 28.

    I am Chairman of the Crofters Commission, and organisation which takes Gaelic very seriously, and which promotes the language as a vital component in the culture of crofting. We also have a higher proportion of Gaelic speakers than most organisations. That does not mean that I am not appalled that you have removed the BBC Radio stations to broadcast BBC Alba in their stead, without any consultation. All that can be achieved is to stir up entirely un-necessary ill feeling from the vast number of folk who have found Freeview a place where they can get these stations. did you forget how poor FM coverage is in the Highlands, for instance? I do urge you to reconsider

  • Comment number 29.

    What an absolutely ludicrous decision this is. Does the BBC really think that the audience for BBC Alba is larger than the combined audiences of Radio 1, 2, 3 and 4 and the other 9 services which have been removed from Freeview to make way for it? BBC Alba can be watched live online via the iPlayer so if people who don't have satellite or cable subscriptions want to watch it, they can.

  • Comment number 30.

    I agree - this is BBC sitting in a tower imposing a minority station as an act of political correctness and pampering to a narrow parochial audience. BBC is a NATIONAL service and BBC2/4 NATIONAL - I wonder how much this station is costing us tax payers and more interestingly how many actually watch it. I used Freeview radio at night but more importantly my mother who is in a care home relied on Freeview to allow her to access Radio 2. She has trouble using the radio and this is a real loss - for what? so a minority can be favoured over the bulk of the Scottish population who haven't a clue /interest in the language. Close down ALBA and get the main Radio channels back (or get rid of some of the other nonsense that sits within Freeview)

  • Comment number 31.

    wouldnt it be good if the bbc was honest enough to let us complain about blogs and messageboards through the official complaints process..

  • Comment number 32.

    I'm going add to my former comment by pointing out that right now on BBC Alba (10-11pm on Sunday 3 July), we have a whole hour of *English language* country music from Nashville. Can someone at the BBC please explain how this is doing anything to help Gaelic or Gaelic culture?

  • Comment number 33.

    it has taken me all this time to realise that my tv is not broken, but that i have had some tv space stolen from me, i bought a wall mounted tv last year for my kitchen so it would not take any space up on the counter,now i cant listen to simon mayo while i prepare my evening meal,did i not pay to listen to bbc services? yes so..has it been stolen? yes , yet again by the goverment who made us all buy new sets or freeview boxes recently, yet another tax..

  • Comment number 34.

    Just for informational purposes...

    I finally tracked down the BBC Trust's complaints procedure (a PDF document), and if anyone else would like to complain about the "consultation" that led to this please note that they accept postal (snail mail) complaints, addressed to:

    Correspondence Manager
    BBC Trust
    180 Great Portland Street
    London W1W 5QZ

    They promise to acknowledge receipt within ten working days and respond to the complaint in full within thirty working days.

  • Comment number 35.

    At 15:02 29th Jun 2011, jonathanm wrote:

    "Why were we not warned that the radio services would be switched off!"

    I included that in my original complaint to the Beeb, however they ignored that aspect of it, and indeed referred to the subject of my complaint thus "I have noted your concerns about BBC Alba." While in fact my complaint had included no mention of BBC Alba and had referred entirely to the loss of radio services.

    When I referred back they again refused to address the point about there having been no previous warning of the withdrawal of service and simply stated "We’re sorry to hear that you felt the response you received was unsatisfactory. Whilst we appreciate you continue to have concerns with this particular issue, we have nothing to add to our previous correspondence with you."

    I have now taken the matter up with them in writing (via snail mail) with a copy to my MP, and await a reply.

    I have also joined the campaign "backfreeviewradio".

    The response so far has simply not been good enough!

  • Comment number 36.

    @Idcam, #35

    Those sound like exactly the same two responses I got when I tried complaining by email. Are you sure you're not me? :-)

    The one point I tried to get across to them was that the next time they "consult" us, notification of the consultation should be broadcast on the channels that will be adversely affected, not just hidden away in niche programming for people that have a special interest in the subject of the consultation.

  • Comment number 37.

    Not only was the supposed "consultation" regarding the cuts in radio services hidden away, it is also becoming apparent that any attempt to expand knowledge of the resistance to these cuts in service is likely to be actively suppressed. I know that I am not the only one to have written with my concerns to various bodies such as Radio 4's Feedback programme, PM Letters and Radio Times, however all of these have been either ignored or denied.

  • Comment number 38.

    I was actually on the Feedback programme, talking about this (briefly) with Alix Pryde, the Host of this Blog.

    I had a whole A4 sheet of questions and points about the "consultation", only to discover that Alix was the person hired to implement the changes, and that the decision had already been set in stone *before* she came on board. Thus, none of my questions or points made any sense and the discussion was a *lot* shorter than Roger Bolton et. al. had planned. :-(

  • Comment number 39.

    You really have to hunt out these "consultations" - so often for both the BBC and OFCOM you only here about them after they happened, and I always find them structured in such a way that it may appear you're agreeing with something you don't approve of.

    What worries me too if there seems to be no continuing consultation to review the effects of any changes after they've been implemented - with the removal of the red button stream there has been absolutely no thought for viewers from the BBC to the inevitable complaints that the loss of the stream during events like Wimbledon and the Olympics cause - all you get is a reply saying why it was scrapped and not even an empty promise it's a situation they are continually reviewing.

    I'm sure the viewing figures of BBC Alba will make BBC Parliament look like a blockbuster hit for example. That said although it's a strategy I don't agree with for BBC Alba, now they've shown it can be done I think it should be implemented nationwide for the 2012 Olympics so at least with 301 and BBC Parliament too we'll be on a par with the interactive coverage from 2008.

  • Comment number 40.

    Just fyi again...

    I was interviewed earlier this afternoon by a reporter from the Scottish Mail on Sunday, who are planning a piece about this on this coming Sunday. (July 17th)

  • Comment number 41.

    Agree with the comments above - a farce from a 'public service' broadcaster. Sadly becoming all too common - the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh has installed dual Gaelic signage for the exhibits - at our expense at a time when money is tight - when by their own admission they acknowledge that no-one has ever asked for this!

  • Comment number 42.

    BBC's decision to remove complete coverage of the essential Radio3 and Radio4 services from Freeview is scandelous. Of course the Gaelic channel is important but not at the expense 7 other stations. Surely, in this day and age, the BBC can find a way of keeping all these stations including BBC Alba.

  • Comment number 43.

    @40 Peet the Sadly Truncated

    Did the Scottish Mail on Sunday do the piece about this on Sunday. (July 17th)?

    I was away for a long weekend so wasn't able to buy a copy.

  • Comment number 44.

    Yup, I have the clipping. It was pretty low-key, just reporting on the fact that people in general weren't happy.

  • Comment number 45.

    In an article in last Sunday's Scottish Mail on Sunday, it was reported that "Nick Godwin, who will campaign to reverse the move, said, despite being a regular BBC radio listener, he was unaware of the change until after it happened.

    "The 63-year-old, from Edinburgh, said ... 'What really was a slap in the face was we had absolutely no advance warning. They could at least have given Radio 3 and 4 listeners the courtesy of knowing this was going to happen. The concept of Freeview is that everything's in one place. It's actually quite a fundamental change to that."

    The article concluded with a statement from the BBC Trust: "we are confident that we considered all the relevant issues." Except one issue they completely failed to consider was that of letting us know what was about to happen, and the outrage that would be felt when it did.

    The campaign continues, and calls for the support of all those who oppose the BBC's decision to axe evening radio broadcasts on Freeview.

  • Comment number 46.

    That's the one. :-)

  • Comment number 47.

    I don't think it was particularly "low key" Peet. Seemed pretty fair to me - simply reporting it how it is. Which, as you rightly say, is that loads of people aren't happy. Pity they didn't actually include a link to the backfreeviewradio campaign, so anyone who is interested in finding out about it will have to try and find it online, so they will have to do a search...

  • Comment number 48.

    The backfreeviewradio campaign now has a web link:


    They wouldn't do it in Surrey so why is it OK in Scotland?

  • Comment number 49.

    They wouldn't do it in Surrey

    That's because there's no Political drive behind the march of Gaelic in Surrey, while in places where less than 1% of the country speak Gaelic in Scotland, it's been rammed down the throats of people.

    Ever seen the side of the new ScotRail trains? They're plastered with Gaelic, as are their timetables.

    Where's the Scots, Pictish, Welsh, and Norse language BBC stations in Scotland? They've just as much linguistic relevance to Scotland, than Gaelic does.

  • Comment number 50.

    Well this is interesting! I had imagined that justification for the partial removal of the Freeview radio services rested both on the idea of re-instatement of a former national language and the unavailability of any other way of achieving the desired ends. It now appears that this understanding was wrong on both counts.

    As time passes it is being made abundantly clear to me that the idea of re-introduction of the Gaelic is not at all popular in many areas of the country where, it emerges, it was never ever current. This includes places as far apart as Edinburgh and The Shetland Islands. This would seem to undermine the validity of any aim to make the Gaelic TV station BBC Alba available to every household in Scotland. Why on earth should it be made available now in places where the language has never been current? It is self-evident that you cannot "re-instate" something where it has never in fact previously existed!

    Secondly it now emerges that there is a perfectly viable way of having BBC Alba on Freeview without losing any radio or TV stations, which is to revert to the former practice of restricting BBC Parliament, at the required times, to a quarter screen service. An ongoing discussion of this idea can be reached at the following link: tinyurl.com/albatalk

  • Comment number 51.

    All this does is force more people to use Freesat or buy Sky, and that then reduces the potential audience for the BBC by giving users access to more alternatives. It's a dumb move.

  • Comment number 52.

    I look forward to the English's access to freeview radio being limited due to a dozen Kernow speakers and the welsh losing theirs because a smattering of their citizens can read 100% of their road signs, it has obviously beneath the BBC Trust's notice that most if not (statistically) all of scottish citizens are unable to speak read or write gaelic and have no interest in doing so, as a Gallovidian my region of Scotland have never spoken it so it is just that we do not get free access to Radio 4 Extra, this action has gone against the Public Service Remit of the BBC, limiting the access of the many to service the few goes against the very idea of a Public Service Broadcaster.

  • Comment number 53.

    I just got a response to my written complaint to the BBC Trust. Basically, it just parroted the stuff on their website and completely failed to address my main point that no publicity for the "consultation" was put out on non-Scottish-centric channels, such as Radio 3 or Radio 4. I'm replying, giving them another opportunity to respond.

  • Comment number 54.

    @#53, Peet you said: "I'm replying, giving them another opportunity to respond."

    No need to wait. I can give you their reply:

    "Whilst we appreciate you continue to have concerns with this particular issue, we have nothing to add to our previous correspondence with you."

  • Comment number 55.

    Couldn't we loose Price Drop TV instead? Or if the BBC can't get any more bandwidth we could have less HD TV, but please bring back Radios 3 and 4 in the evenings.

  • Comment number 56.

    @#55 Tony wrote:

    "Couldn't we loose Price Drop TV instead?"

    Not BBC.

    And: "Or if the BBC can't get any more bandwidth we could have less HD TV, "

    Don't think that is relevant either

    Finally: "...but please bring back Radios 3 and 4 in the evenings."

    Here here!

  • Comment number 57.

    BTW, BBC Alba is NOT subtitling all of its programmes. Why not? We were assured there would be subtitles to enable the majority of the people in this country to understand the programmes we are paying for! And that includes their live broadcasts of SPL football - it's a disgrace that we're paying for BBC Alba to exist, yet they refuse us the courtesy of making themselves understandable!


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