The former Director General of the BBC, Greg Dyke, has voiced his support for broadcasting powers to be given to Holyrood.

Mr Dyke said that the creation of a Scottish network channel would have value but would require public funding.  However Mr Dyke suggested that a Scottish parliament with revenue raising powers could allow this to happen.

Mr Dyke was speaking at a conference in Glasgow on how to advance plans for a separate Scottish television channel - the Scottish Digital Network.  Two years ago a report called for a new digital TV channel for public service broadcasting to be set up in Scotland.

Earlier, when speaking on BBC Radio Scotland the former BBC chief had said:  "I think it's about choices. We live in a world where there are difficult choices to be made and if this is seen as important in Scotland, culturally, economically, journalistically and as part of the democratic process, then maybe Scotland has to find the money."

At an estimated cost of £75 million Mr Dyke doubted whether advertising revenue could fund the channel but argued that fiscal autonomy could help and added: "If the basis of funding in Scotland was to change, if Scotland was to collect its own revenue, which I know is one of the things the Government up here is pushing for, then maybe."

It is unlikely that Holyrood would be given any of the current TV licence fee.

Control over broadcasting currently rests with Westminster.  Supporters of the current set up argue that it should remain so in order to maintain uniform broadcasting regulations and a single licence fee.  However critics will point out that these regulations led to the removal of the parties of government in the devolved administrations from participating in the recent general election debates.

The aim of the new Scottish channel would be to complement the existing broadcasters - BBC Scotland and STV. It would provide much needed public service competition for the BBC but would not undermine STV's commercial viability.

In 2006 Greg Dyke also voiced support for a 'Scottish Six' but explained that he had faced opposition from, among others, Labour MP John Reid.


# Mr Angry 2010-11-17 07:48
Well, if the BBC allowed BBC Alba to be put on freeview we'd be half way there?

The excellent Eorpa programme continues to shine its light on the rest of Europe and is an education in itself!

Last week’s programme focussing on the story of a lost German seaman found on Skye at the end of WW2 was very moving and given the time of year an excellent illustration of how old enmities have faded and that new generations can live in peace.
# Robert Louis 2010-11-17 08:02
I agree. Some of the content from BBC ALBA is of a very high standard, and truly reflects Scotland from a Scottish perspective.

It is a shame that it is still not available on Freeview.
# Bobby Clarke 2010-11-17 10:20
I thought that, earlier this year, the availability on Freeview had been put off until October 2010. What happened?
# Old Smokey 2010-11-17 11:51
BBC Trust are using the excuse that its a matter of lack of bandwith on Freeview, that in order to place BBC Alba they would have to take off 13 radio stations. Interestingly its quite alright to have shopping channels and the 'Adult' channels but not BBC Alba
The other problem is associated with the introduction of the HD channels, which have been given priority over all else. The HD channels suck up even more bandwidth on Freeview
# Old Smokey 2010-11-17 12:01
Just to add, that strange as it may seem (surely not) The good people of Wales have S4C and S4C HD channels on Freeview, something tells me that the BBC trust are telling porkies when they say they just cant fit BBC Alba in.
The point is, if they can fit S4C and the HD version of S4C in on the Freeview output in Wales, then they should be able to do the same in Scotland for BBC Alba
# GrassyKnollington 2010-11-17 11:54
eh? surely you wouldn't want Scots to be deprived of the "rabbit chat and date channel" to make way for a well made documentary focusing on Scotland's place in Europe?

Next you'll be stopping me from seeing my Granny in Cheshire and taking Coronation Street off the air.

(Knollington is helped into waiting ambulance clutching framed photo of Jackie Baillie and ranting about separatists)
# Old Smokey 2010-11-17 08:06
It was interestinbg watching Reporting Scotland's reporting of this story, the emphasis and thrust of the etory was 'who was going to pay for it?' hinting that it would be the viewer or Scottish taxpayer. There wasnt much about what it would mean more about negativity. Then they would put up the caption that it would cost £ 74 million a year (actually what they didnt say was that this was less than the £ 97 million the UK Government pays annualy towards S4C). Again the emphasis that it would be you the viewer that would pay. It dismissed advertising as a revenue stream, which is strange as S4C which is perhaps the closest model for a Scottish digital channel gets itrs revenue partly from advertising as well as the previously mentioned payment from UK Government
# EphemeralDeception 2010-11-17 09:17
Its fairly obvious that this represents a potential conflict of interest. In such cases they should follow their codes of practice which I suppose are clear.

Obviously the way this has been reported shows that they have not done so and have presented a limited perspective.

A complaint of course would go nowhere.
# art1001 2010-11-17 10:30
In Holland, Germany, Austria, US, Spain etc they have tv stations for virtually every town, state, province, county or community. Only in Scotland is this never seemingly allowed or possible. In fact I think its almost written into EU statute to provide this.

The cost argument is just a smokescreen for a fairly obvious political agenda to suppress our culture and knowledge of ourselves. BBC Scotland seem to exist to ridicule us, denigrate us, confuse us about who we are and what we can do.

The economic arguments are not just about cost but opportunities for program makers, artists, writers and technicians to create content that can be sold internationally - to the Scottish diaspora certainly.

With ad revenue it could be self-financing and bring a lot of great jobs with it. Exploring that with a positive mindset is not what the BBC and other enemies of Scotland and its people are about.
# Holebender 2010-11-17 11:26
How do you almost write something into statute?
# art1001 2010-11-17 11:54
Nothing that is written in law is totally unambiguous and requires interpretation - the 'almost' represents the wiggle room that UK Government lawyers would have if a test case was brought against the UK on the grounds of lack of cultural pluralism in broadcasting.
# Alx1 2010-11-17 12:19
The cost argument is just a smokescreen for a fairly obvious political agenda to suppress our culture and knowledge of ourselves. BBC Scotland seem to exist to ridicule us, denigrate us, confuse us about who we are and what we can do.

Very much agree with you there.
There seems to be a tendency of late by the bbc Scotland news to headline British news which has already been covered by the bbc 6 o’clock news.
Are the bbc Scotland news and Jackie Bird trying to make us all feel British?
This is a dereliction of duty on behalf of bbc Scotland who are supposed to cover Scottish news.

As for Greg Dyke, I welcome his input to the media in Scotland and agree with him, but I do feel (a little) he is pandering to a sympathetic audience in Scotland. Saying that Greg Dyke has started the debate, so it’s now up to the Scottish Government to run with this and finish the media propaganda stranglehold by Westminster and its unionists’ puppets up here for ever.
# CapnAndy 2010-11-17 09:09
Apologies for being off topic, but a good article regarding the Irish economy on todays BBC.
# J Wil 2010-11-17 09:28
I thought the speech was upbeat and gave some hope for a Scottish channel. However BBC Scotland soon came up with their usual negativity in their report.

We were left with the question - where does it go from here?
# rgweir 2010-11-17 09:45
It would not be like the BBC to run a story about scotland without being negative.
As for BBC ALBA,i have heard mostly positive comments about it but i will wait to see it on freeview.
# Old Smokey 2010-11-17 09:54
For those curious to see an example of what can be acheived, this is the website of S4C the Welsh digital channel thats been in existance since November 1982
# Blanco 2010-11-17 10:06
We don't need competition for the BBC, we need the BBC to be replaced by a devolved channel paid for by Scottish license fees.
# Robert Louis 2010-11-17 11:39
quite agree. ASAP.
# G. P. Walrus 2010-11-17 22:04

Say 2 million homes paying £150 each that's £300 million to play with. Should fund a few channels and good radio stations. I'd be happy with SBC1, SBC2 and, say 2-3 radio stations.
# Old Smokey 2010-11-17 10:10
How do we compare with our neighbour, Norway?
Norway with the same population size as Scotland, same resources as well as population spread.
They have a basic 10 channels, which include 4 state broadcast tv channels paid for by licence as well as 6 commercial channels, broadcast on the digital platform, in addition there are many more on satellite, consisting of 58 Norwegian based channels plus the usual plethora of BBC/MTV/Disney/ESPN channels
If that wasnt enough, The Norwegian Government launched Frikanalen (The Free Channel)in 2009, more info on Frikanalen is at
The reason Ive mentioned all the above is this : We are constantly told that we are to small to support broadcasters on our own, that were lucky to have what we have, after all we only have a population of 5 million - but then again so does Norway!
# Bobby Clarke 2010-11-17 10:41
I had no idea that Norway did so well, Old Smokey. I reckoned on £100m+ from the licence fee covering one channel £75m + Alba £22 + Radio £5m.

In an independent Scotland, why bother collecting the £135 every year from each household? It is not worth the hassle.
# Old Smokey 2010-11-17 11:42
Norwegian Licence fee is Nkr 2434.32
which is about £ 254, so it is higher than the UK's £ 145.50, but in context the cost of living is generally higher than the UK as is the incomes of Norwegians (that is we may find it higher but the Norwegians relatively dont)
# Exile 2010-11-17 11:12
How about a mass boycott of the licence fee on the grounds the BBC is not abiding by its obligation under its charter to provide unbiased news and current affairs broadcasting. The wheels of the enforcement process grind wondrous slow, and the more boycotters, the slower the process. Also, as this is a civil matter, there would be no serious after-effects on the lives of non-payers. If enough people were to withhold payment and instead put the cost of a licence into a common account dedicated to the establishment of an Independent Scottish Broadcasting Corporation, the whole enforcement process would grind to a halt and there would also be money accumulating to eventually be put to a more useful purpose than funding the anglosaxophone BBC.
# Robert Louis 2010-11-17 11:38
This story is being reported elsewhere by 'Scottish' media, that scots would have to pay for a Scottish channel.

Well, I'm fine with that, provided it can be deducted from the 145.50 pounds, that I am currently obliged to pay for English TV programmes.

I would be more than happy, if Scots TV license money was diverted to produce solely Scottish programming. I mean when you think about it, French people aren't obliged by French law to pay towards German TV, or vice versa.

Only in Scotland do we have to pay for another countries broadcasting.

So let's have real Scottish programming, and stop paying for London centric nonsense.
# Moone 2010-11-17 11:45
"So let's have real Scottish programming, and stop paying for London centric nonsense."

Undoubtably that would be good. Unfortunately I fear the reality would simply be ever more 'Glasgow centric'. Just look at STV, overwhelmingly serves Glasgow, to the almost complete exclusion of anyone else.
# Robert Louis 2010-11-17 11:59
Or look at BBC ALBA - real Scottish centric programming.
# Whatsinaname 2010-11-17 12:03
I see no problem in diverting the money raised in Scotland from the license fee being used to fund a Scottish channel. This would replace BBC Scotland in providing quality unbiased reporting, if we still wanted to show programmes from the BBC they can be bought through BBC worldwide.

The channel could be based in Dundee, Perth or even Inverness which could stop the Glasgow or Edinburgh focus.
# Moone 2010-11-17 12:22
In truth I don't see much of Edinburgh anything on GTV, but completely agree about moving it out of the central belt, and getting it on Freeview too.
# Buddyh 2010-11-17 12:31
And how about 'Newsnetscotland ' bringing us the news on said Scottish Channel. Oh Yeah
# Fungus 2010-11-17 13:05
BBC North Britain could, tomorrow if they wished, run Scottish centric broadcasting...BBC Alba do it.
The problem IMO is that they have been loaded with unionist executives, producers and broadcasters who would rather drink bleach than support Scotland and her people. So if BBC NB were to be banished to the darkest depths of Londonshire and a new broadcaster appointed, here would we get people with the necessary skill sets, experience AND lack of political bias to run it?
# Leal 2010-11-17 13:13
Scotland's own T.V channel, Sounds Great .
Personally i widnae Let the britishers anywhere Near It Though.
The Clue's in The Name BBC.

If The Britishers have anything to do with it then you can be garaunteed that they will interfere/manipulate/lie and cheat's in Their Blood.

If we're gaunae dae it then it Has to be Scots Views, By Scots expressing Scotland View of Europe and the World ie: not something Filtered through a Foreign Country.

It's not Inward's outward looking, the same Media rights as every other democratic Country in the world.
# cjmasta 2010-11-17 13:50
I really thought the BBC lastnight tried its best to tell us that it is a bad idea by telling us that you and I would have to pay for it and in these tough economic times.
I remember watching a BBC Scotland interviewer do her best to draw out some negative comments on the channel which all parties are actually behind by asking a series of loaded questions.
It actually appeared with no major opposition to the channel that the BBC had taken the stance of opposing it itself. Shameful behaviour but to be expected from the unionist BBCS.
Where is BBC ALBA? The only real Scottish channel.
# Quinie frae Angus 2010-11-17 14:02
In reply to Fungus, at 13.05 above, I'd say that there is a wealth of Scots programme-making talent currently having to work to the dictates of BBC management, and being pushed aside in favour of London-based producers being brought up here (at massive expense) to take their jobs.

Many of these Scots programme-makers have been made redundant and are seeking employment in the independent sector. My prediction is that a new Scottish channel would find itself perhaps struggling for funds but it would not need to seek far to find the talent required.
# J Wil 2010-11-17 14:05
A fine example of what the BBC thinks of Scotland today when Andrew Neil, 'almost' gave a hearing to Alex Neil and Iain Gray on his politics programme. As Andrew Neil said, almost before the interview started, "we're running out of time". In the event, there was more time given to the prize mug competition!

(No reference to Andrew Neil's face was intended.)
# GrassyKnollington 2010-11-17 14:52
Ah good old Brillo, didn't a tabloid rake through his dustbin a few years back and find 35 tubes of fake tan, 7 bottles of Clairol "hint of chestnut" hair dye and a picture of Alex Salmond covered in dart holes?

(note: the above may only be partly true)
# J Wil 2010-11-17 16:35
They also raked through his private life.
# Robabody 2010-11-18 11:50
(No reference to Andrew Neil's face was intended.)

# rgweir 2010-11-17 15:50
The free channel in norway is just what scotland could do with.
# Mr Angry 2010-11-17 15:52
Re J Wil,

Typical of Andrew Neil, at the end of the piece he brings up the cost of the bale out of RBS as if it was a Scottish problem. and for us alone???
# rgweir 2010-11-17 16:09
The BBC just cant help themselves.
Brian taylor saying how the budget
will hit teachers hard,,as i said,they just cant help themselves.
# rgweir 2010-11-17 16:12
I get to keep my free bus pass,,horay.
# J Wil 2010-11-17 16:33
I watched most of the debate on the internet from the Scottish parliament, but I also had a quick look at BBC Scotland's politics programme and, who had they had dug up (literally) for commentary, even before the debate had finished? That old Labour stalwart Alf Young. The BBC like to get a bit of unbiased analysis you know!

From what I could hear, John Swinney, as always, knew his stuff and demolished the opposition's arguments without blinking an eye. Some of the arguments being ludicrous, like the tories asking for tax rises, which goes against their flow somewhat???

Andy Kerr gave an abysmal response to Swinney's budget statement. The Tories and the LibDems at least gave a considered response, but Kerr was the odd man out and all over the place with his ramblings. Much heckling was evident. Time you retired Andy. Scotland's finances in your hands? No!

The main thrust of the opposition was that they wanted a budget for four years.
Swinney's reply - that budgets have only ever been for one year.

You can see where the opposition are coming from. The more information they have, the more they can throw it back at the SNP. The trick for the SNP is to tell them as little as possible within the rules, which seems to be what they are doing very effectively.
# Robert Louis 2010-11-17 17:12
I just had a look at the coverage of the Scottish budget on both the Herald and Hootsmon.

In an astonishing freak of nature, both articles are almost identical - except one has a photo. Both articles are attributed to different people.

I've been looking at both side by side and there are only a few words different.

So, the question is, did the Herald copy the Scotsman or did the Scotsman copy the Herald???

Or is it just coincidence???

The relevant links are;

Isn't the media in Scotland great.
# Alx1 2010-11-17 17:20

Or maybe a hand out from Labour?
# Robert Louis 2010-11-17 17:24
Aside from the coverage, I am glad John Swinney is taking such a tough line on what he expects of councils, because we all know there are certain councils who would happily trash services and play silly b*******, just to score points against the Government.

It might have been nice if the BBC Parliament channel had also covered the Scottish budget, so those in England and Wales could see how finances are managed in Scotland.
# Robert Louis 2010-11-17 17:25
Heck if that's how it's done, maybe I could become a political journalist. I can cut and paste pretty well.
# Alx1 2010-11-17 17:12
Off Topic;

Regarding today's abysmal unemployment figures for Scotland.

Again Scotland's jobless rate has climbed while down South sees a decrease in the unemployment rate.

Message to Scotlandunspun;

Alex I think I read in another thread that you were looking for ideas for articles.

What about the unemployment rates in Scotland?

That’s the fourth quarter in a row that the jobless rate in Scotland has increased, this means that the unemployment figures were rising under Gordon Broon’s steward-ship, while at the same time England’s unemployment figures were/are falling.

Is the unionists’ thinking; Scotland’s high unemployment rates a price worth paying to get the S.E. of England’s economy back on track?

Are we to dependent on the public or the services sectors?
Maybe we are being deprived of the proper investment into our manufacturing industry.

I think it would be worth doing an article on this, bearing in mind that the Tories look as though they will get the British (they really mean the S.E. of England) economy up and running again, albeit in the S.E. of England, which means we could have a Tory Government in power in the UK for generations!

It would be worth reminding those in Scotland who still do not fully believe in Independence of these facts (nudge, nudge, wink, wink)
# rgweir 2010-11-17 17:24
Does anyone know how much the bus campanies get when i use my bus pass.
i have heard it is as much as 80 percent of the true cost of the trip.
anyone know the facts?
# enneffess 2010-11-17 20:01
I don't know how much they get, but what I do know is that they get to buy their diesel months in advance and at considerably reduced rates. Then they raise their prices blaming increased fuel costs.

Private Eye did an article on this months ago.
# scotintun 2010-11-17 17:31
I watch BBC Alba for short periods each night; it can be refreshing to watch and has some very good programmes. By the way I live in North Africa!
# cjmasta 2010-11-17 18:15
Robert, I once noticed two almost identical articles in the herald and daily record so they probably were copied from a single labour source and put to article.
# enneffess 2010-11-17 20:06
I think what is needed is for the licence fee collected in Scotland to go to a BBC trust set up purely for Scotland, but with oversight from a Scottish Parliament committe to prevent any abuse by government.

A non-executive committee equivalent to the current board of governors would probably be essential. This could consist of media professionals, journalists, perhaps a couple of politicians and most importantly representation by members of the public. Such a board need not be expensive, in fact the lesser cost the more likely you would get people who cared about the content of delivery.

The BBC is perfectly capable if delivering world class programmes, and does have some excellent professionals working for it. However, the executive went downhill when Birt took over, and the current board of governors live on another planet.
# GrassyKnollington 2010-11-17 21:03
The problem with that is how one would define "abuse by government".

Promoting Scotland and it's distinctive culture would not be abuse from my perspective but I think that for those of a unionist/British nationalist viewpoint, it very well might.

Can you give an example of what you mean by "abuse"?
# enneffess 2010-11-17 23:27
Where, god help us, Labour get into power and start using the BBC in the same manner that they are now.

A state broadcaster must be balanced. From a political perspective it must give equal exposure to all political parties, so that viewers can make their own minds up. Likewise, political analysis must be fair, something that is distinctly lacking at present.
# 1scot 2010-11-17 20:10
Whilst agreeing with the above comments. Each and every one of the posters on this great site are preaching to the educated.
I do not have any magic to change what the MSM are doing, however I really must ask you to vote for the campaign which I started on 38 Degrees. I received an e-mail from them today, stating that we are asking them to support the SNP. At the outset, I said to them that it was not in support of the SNP but, a level playing field. They countered by saying that newsnet is SNP orientated, and that they recently ran a campaign to stand up for the BBC. I suggested that if they ran the Media Bias campaign successfully, they would then have all the people who voted for said campaign standing up for the BBC. However, at the moment they would not get any support for the BBC from any Scottish thinking person.
I would welcome your views.
One suggestion I received gratefully, was that you should get all of your family to vote and then they could not use the excuse of "all newsnet supporters" are wanting a campaign.We are simply running out of time.
The latest corruption regarding the free subscription to all 18 year olds for a daily is just beyond comprehention. So much so, that I await the knock on my door in the early hours.
Please vote, I cannot think of any other way.
# rodmac 2010-11-18 01:26
Thank you for this update. I have further commented now on 38degrees site.
# GrassyKnollington 2010-11-17 21:16
I was quite taken with a phrase used on BeBritish with Brian tonight with regard to today's budget statement, he said that Swinney

"contrived to transfer blame to the present and previous UK governments"

contrived ? I thought it WAS their fault.
# G. P. Walrus 2010-11-17 22:11
Brian is one of the 13%.
# Albamac 2010-11-18 01:17
Tae me, at least, it seems gey funny
that frauds are fattened oan oor money,
that poor folk live and die in chains
tae feed the fat man's well-fed weans.
# Quinie frae Angus 2010-11-18 11:27
The comment posted by Scot1 above, re the lamentable response he got from the 38 degrees people, is depressing but very telling.

The campaign was about media BIAS, not about supporting the SNP. Two very different concepts. The 38 degrees person's inability to distinguish the two marks him/her out as a bit of a pillock, to say the least.

It is clear to anyone with a brain cell and a sense of decency and fairness, that at the moment the BBC is not operating its political output in a balanced fashion. The fact that most of the people complaining may or may not be of an SNP-orientated bent is neither here nor there - the simple fact is that we are complaining about the endemic, "normalised" PRO-LABOUR BIAS of the BBC. The fact that the independence issues are not being debated fairly, thoroughly or fairly, is largely the problem - hence, naturally, most of the people complaining would be more pro-SNP - because it is us who are observing first-hand the lack of attention paid to our views, and are feeling sharply wounded and frustrated by the constant sniping attacks on those politicians who espouse them. (I think the Scottish Tories, Greens and others get a similar raw deal by the way - it's democracy, and not just SNP supporters, which is being roasted here). Echoes of 1930s Germany, Austria etc. Scary.

Does the person at 38 degrees not get this? Is it simply ignorance (possibly excusable) or is it something more deliberate (definitely not acceptable)?

Probably a mixture of the two. As as we all know, the dyed-in-the-wool endemic Labour mindset, the backscratching "club", permeates every facet of Scottish civic, public and establishment life - well, in the central belt at least - and has done for too many decades to count. This means that many folk - even those supposedly smart, fashionable and uber-in-the-know people at 38 degrees - just simply do not GET it. They are so used to "the status quo" that they are unable to see the wood for the trees. To them, this is all entirely normal, and "as it should be". They just don't seem capable of lifting themselves above their own partisan standpoints and taking a truly honest overview. The SNP and its support are to be treated as some sort of second-rate, non-congruent, upstart nonsense which needs to be sorted out.

It's infuriating in the extreme. We are not some alien species; we are intelligent, thinking, skilled and hard-working people trying to make our country work, and comprise a sizeable chunk of the Scottish population. Many more would come round to our way of thinking once they had understood our arguments (witness the number of commentators on here and elsewhere who are former Labour voters) - if only we had a fair platform upon which to air them! (This is obviously what scares the Labour apparatchiks).

But - and this is the crucial aspect to this - since we ALL have to pay our BBC licence fees, we are entitled to see our views and questions reflected in the public service output, whether we are SNP supporters or not. All we are seeking is a FAIR PLAYING FIELD. Nothing more, nothing less.

I am going to go back onto the 38 degrees site because although the lights look as if they're on, there seems to be nobody at home.
# Whatsinaname 2010-11-18 17:47
With the run up to the election would an act of civil disobedience in a mass refusal to pay the TV license in Scotland finally get someone to report on the bias in the BBC? The money could be put into a fund or something so it is available if required (think this has been discussed) as it looks like there will be no joy coming from 38 degrees.
# enneffess 2010-11-18 19:58
It would probably end up with the instigators being charged with consipiracy and most certainly end up with the media blaming the SNP for being responsible.

It's not worth the hassle and to be perfectly honest I doubt you would get anywhere near the support needed. Additionally, the SNP would disown any such action.

Such action would cause unnecessary harm. The senior SNP leadership are most certainly aware of the issues of BBC bias, but they have to be cautious how they deal with this. Turning on interviewers is fine, condoning illegal action is not.
# 1scot 2010-11-18 20:03
You are correct, we must not break the law. Even though it is very tempting...
# Whatsinaname 2010-11-19 10:29
Something has to be done, the election could be stolen due to Labour propaganda on state owned TV and I can’t see anything coming from 38 degrees they seem to have their own agenda.

Any journalist on here fancy having a tilt at the BBC, sure to make a name for yourself and the evidence is pretty easy to get hold of :-)

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