Gaelic TV's a turn-off for fans of radio

THE BBC is being urged to look again at a decision that means Scots with Freeview cannot use their televisions to listen to radio after 5pm.

Lothians Labour MSP Kezia Dugdale said she had received numerous complaints from constituents furious that they can no longer tune into their favourite radio programmes through their TV because the stations have been taken off to make way for Gaelic television.

The BBC Trust approved the move, which took effect in June, because a lack of bandwidth meant there was not enough capacity for BBC Alba to be broadcast at the same time as the BBC's 13 radio stations. But Ms Dugdale said: "I've had people say they can no longer listen to the News Quiz on Radio 4, or this is how they get their classical music or their sports coverage.

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"And they feel aggrieved because the licence fee is the same as it was two months ago, but they are not getting the same service. The BBC should recognise the world has changed and ensure Scotland does not get left behind. I'm challenging them to review this decision."

Ms Dugdale took up the issue in a letter to BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten. He said in his reply that the trust had decided that removing the BBC's 13 radio stations during the hours when BBC Alba is broadcasting was "the most technically and financially viable way of enabling BBC Alba to be carried on Freeview". Subsequent work had made it possible to retain 1Xtra, 6 Music and 5 Live when BBC Alba was launched on Freeview on June 8.

And he pointed out radio stations were available when BBC Alba was off air, usually between midnight and 5pm.

He added: "The trust thinks that carrying Alba on Freeview will result in an increase of between 73,000 and 111,000 viewers, while just over 50,000 radio listeners will be affected."

Lord Patten said he understood the disappointment for people who used the BBC's radio services on Freeview.


What you get

• Leum is Danns (Dancing fun for pre-school children)

• Muir is Tir (Natural History)

• Speaking Our Language (Gaelic for beginners)

• Trusadh (News magazine programme)

• BInneas (Highlights from traditional music awards)

What you miss

• Radio 1: Scott Mills, Zane Lowe

• Radio 2: Simon Mayo, Jo Whiley

• Radio 3: Composer of the Week, BBC Proms 2011

• Radio 4: The Archers, News Quiz, The World Tonight, Book at Bedtime

• Radio Scotland: The Jazz House, Ian Anderson Show

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