The BBC’s decision to launch a new channel with a dedicated Scottish news programme which will create 80 journalism jobs has been welcomed by South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth.

The BBC made the announcement today (Wednesdays 22 February) that they intend to create a dedicated Scottish channel which will begin broadcasting in autumn 2018.

The new channel will host a dedicated, hour-long Scottish news show at 9pm, and around 80 new journalists will be hired.

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth hopes the channel will increase regional coverage from areas like the South of Scotland which is often marginalised by central belt stories. The local MSP has written to the BBC urging them to increase both local radio and TV coverage for the South of Scotland. 

Colin Smyth MSP said, “This is a really positive move by the BBC. A dedicated news programme in particular will be a positive addition and the hiring of 80 new journalists is a boost to the industry. However, the debate for too long has been about whether Scotland has a so-called national Scottish six o’clock news rather than whether we have more local news. To be honest if you live in the South of Scotland a story about Glasgow is often no more relevant than a story about the north of England”. 

“What people want to see is more local news. I hope this new channel will ensure better coverage for areas out with the central belt and we will see more resources from the BBC put into local TV and radio. It’s more than 30 years since Radio Solway started in Dumfries and Galloway but sadly in the 90s we saw that basically scrapped and replaced with a number of local news bulletins as part of Radio Scotland. These bulletin are still hugely popular and I’ve written to the BBC following the announcement of the new TV channel urging them to revisit the decision to scrap Radio Solway and to increase both the local radio coverage and provide more local news coverage on TV”.

The BBC’s announcement can be seen in full here: 

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