Improved reception for radio changes

PLANS to replace BBC radio services that are broadcast on Freeview, such as BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC 1Xtra and BBC 6 Music, have been changed and the more popular channels will now be retained.

The original plans to broadcast Alba TV instead of the countrywide radio programmes met with considerable opposition, particularly in the Borders, and the case was taken up by local politicians. For some people Freeview television provided the best reception for listening to these radio stations because of poor reception and the restricted digital radio service in the region.

The BBC had planned to withdraw the 13 BBC radio services currently available on Freeview during the evening in order to broadcast BBC Alba television. However, after hearing from listeners, they have made space available to retain some of the radio services all day long, including at the time when BBC Alba is being aired.

They have decided to retain the most popular home services which are not carried on FM - BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC 1Xtra and BBC 6 Music.

The BBC also confirmed last year that they are planning to extend their digital radio services in the Borders in 2011, with a new DAB transmitting station to be activated this autumn on Crumhaugh Hill in Hawick.

Borders MP Michael Moore welcomed news that the BBC is to modify its plans to replace their radio services on Freeview with BBC Alba TV at certain times of the day.

“I wrote to the BBC expressing my concern regarding their plans for BBC Alba which would have reduced the access which my constituents had to BBC radio via Freeview,” he said.

“I therefore welcome the effort made by the BBC not only to promote BBC Alba but also to take into account the preference of their listeners.

“Their willingness to invest and make technical changes to enable these three popular radio stations to be aired alongside BBC Alba is certainly a welcome move for Borderers.

“It is vital that we are properly connected to digital services and I have campaigned on this issue over many years. I therefore welcome the new station in Hawick which will improve digital radio coverage locally and I will continue to campaign for improvements in other services such as mobile phone and broadband.”