Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is BBC ALBA?
BBC ALBA is the new channel for Gaelic television programmes - a partnership between MG ALBA and the BBC.

Q. How do I get the Channel?

SATELLITE SKY channel 168 and Freesat channel 110.
CABLE Virgin Media (the channel will be available in due course and this information will be advised when the start date and channel number are confirmed)
FREEVIEW BBC ALBA is not currently available on Freeview . A decision about BBC ALBA being carried on Freeview will be made following a review of the service by the BBC Trust during 2009/10.
DIGITAL SWITCHOVER If you receive digital television by any other means, contact your service provider if you have questions about accessing BBC ALBA.
For advice and information about the Digital Switchover, contact Digital UK by visiting or calling 0845 6 50 50 50.
Further information: Telephone 01851 705550

You can also see a selection of BBC ALBA programmes online at

Q. When was BBC ALBA launched?
Friday the 19th September 2009 at 9pm

Q. When is BBC ALBA on air and what kind of programmes does it broadcast?

BBC ALBA is on air every day from 5pm until late. Programmes will include:
• Sports
• News
• Children’s
• Entertainment programming for all ages

There are also programmes for Learners of Gaelic and those interested in Gaelic music, language and culture. Further information about BBC ALBA schedules and programming is available here and at

Q. Where is the channel based and how many jobs are involved?
One of the major community benefits of BBC ALBA is that it is spread around Scotland. Continuity and channel management come from Stornoway, the news service hub is based in Inverness, and programmes are transmitted from Glasgow. Programmes for BBC ALBA are also commissioned from a number of independent production companies based throughout the country.
Between MG ALBA, the BBC and the independent sector there are approximately 80-100 people working full-time on producing and broadcasting BBC ALBA programming

Q. What will this cost?

BBC ALBA is a free-to-air channel, so if you already receive digital television by satellite you will not need to pay any more to see the new channel.
If you do not already have digital television, you will need to get new equipment to allow you to see BBC ALBA. Prices for satellite installation will vary and you should consult a TV supplier in your area.
To find out about options for upgrading your television equipment and for advice and information about the Digital Switchover, contact Digital UK

Q. Who is responsible for providing the service?

The channel is provided by the digital media partnership between MG ALBA and BBC Scotland for the delivery of Gaelic services. MG ALBA is a body funded by the Scottish Government and regulated by Ofcom. The television channel is licensed by the BBC and is regulated by the BBC Trust.

Q. Who are the key officials?

Alan Esslemont (MG ALBA) is Head of Content. Margaret Mary Murray (BBC) is Head of Service. The Head of Content and Head of Service report to Bòrd ALBA, the joint management board established by the two organisations to run BBC ALBA. You can find out more about how the partnership works here.

Q. How is the channel funded?
The television budget for 2008/09 is £14million, £10m of this being provided by MG ALBA and £4m by BBC Scotland. MG ALBA is funded by the Scottish government and regulated by Ofcom.

Q. Where can I get further information?

Further information on BBC ALBA content and schedules will be available via or