Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Freeview for the Gaels

The Scottish media report that BBC Alba, the Gaelic-language television service hitherto limited to satellite and Internet broadcasting, is to appear on Freeview from May or June next year, replacing a bundle of BBC digital radio stations during broadcasting hours.

Unfortunately, that spectacularly misnamed anti-Scottish newspaper the Scotsman headlined its coverage "BBC ALBA television knocks radio stations off Freeview". Unlike its rival the Herald, it did not even bother to report when the change would occur, from which one might infer that it believes none of its readers would be interested in watching (odd for a newspaper that — fair play to it — carries a Gaelic column).

The news follows hot on the heels of confirmation that TG4 would be carried on Freeview in Northern Ireland "ahead of 2012" (the Irish News reads this as being 2011). No doubt pressure will follow for BBC Irish-language programming to switch too, a move that would effectively create the first cross-border television station.

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