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BBC restores five Freeview radio stations in Scotland

The BBC is restoring access to several radio stations on Freeview in Scotland, which for the past 2 1/2 years have gone off-air every afternoon and evening.

In June 2011, the BBC launched BBC Alba on Freeview channel 8 in Scotland. The capacity to broadcast this extra TV channel came at the expense of BBC National Radio on Freeview.

With the exception of BBC Radio 5 Live, 1Xtra and 6Music, all other stations stopped broadcasting between 5pm and midnight on weekdays and from 4pm at the weekends when BBC Alba was on air.

Now, Alix Pryde from BBC Distribution has confirmed today that BBC Radio 4, 4extra, 5 Live Sports Extra, BBC Asian Network and BBC Radio Scotland (MW version) are being restored. BBC Radio 1, 2, 3 and BBC Radio nan Gaidhael as well as the World Service will continue to be absent on Freeview in the evenings.

Writing in her latest blogpost, Alix Pryde confirmed the BBC was restoring stations "without FM coverage" and  "prioritising the stations primarily aimed at a UK audience, i.e. excluding the BBC World Service".

In order to accomodate these stations back on Freeview in Scotland, they will run in mono during the hours when BBC Alba is on air.

At a glance
BBC Radio in Scotland on Freeview

Now back on air all the time:
BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4 extra
BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra
BBC Radio Scotland (MW version)
BBC Asian Network

Not available late afternoons/evenings
BBC Radio 1
BBC Radio 2
BBC Radio 3
BBC Radio nan Gaidhael
BBC World Service

Previously, only these stations were available 24/7 on Freeview in Scotland:
BBC Radio 1Xtra
BBC Radio 5 Live
BBC Radio 6 Music
...and they remain 24/7 on Freeview Scotland

The changes have been possible due to a reduction in the bitrate for the BBC Red Button digital text service and a reduction in the audio bitrate of BBC TV services in Scotland from 256 kbps to 192 kbps in line, to match the audio bitrates on other public service broadcaster (PSB) channels such as STV.
  • This also affects YouView users in Scotland.


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