BBC's Gaelic channel under review
26 October, 2009 | By Katherine Rushton
The BBC Trust is to consider whether Gaelic TV channel BBC Alba should get a Freeview slot, as part of a review of the service launched today.
The consultation will weigh up whether it is worth dropping the BBC’s radio stations from the DTT in Scotland during Alba’s hours, and allowing the Gaelic channels to air there instead. It will also examine the performance of the service, whether it represents value for money, and how well it appeals viewers who do not speak Gaelic.
In particular, it will ask how the management structure is working between the BBC and its partner for the channel, MG Alba; how the commissioning structure is working; how well Alba’s programmes reflect Gaelic “identity and culture” and whether “sufficient emphasis is being placed on attracting new speakers”.
Jeremy Peat, BBC national trustee for Scotland, is leading the review for the Trust. He said: “BBC Alba has been popular since its launch, but we now want to see whether it is measuring up to the challenges we set it last year.
“We’ll be looking at how well it is bringing new speakers to the Gaelic language and what current and potential future viewers think of it as a service.”
The Trust originally approved Alba for launch in January 2008 but said at the time it should be subject to a further review before digital switchover in central and northern Scotland in 2010. The consultation launched today will close on 18 January 2010 and the Trust will report back soon after.