BBC Northern Ireland

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BBC Northern Ireland
TV stations BBC One Northern Ireland
BBC Two Northern Ireland
Radio stations BBC Radio Ulster
BBC Radio Foyle
Headquarters Broadcasting House, Ormeau Avenue, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Area Northern Ireland (also widely available in the Republic of Ireland)
Official website

BBC Northern Ireland (Irish: BBC Thuaisceart Éireann, Ulster-Scots: BBC Norlin Airlan) is the main public service broadcaster in Northern Ireland.

The organisation is one of the three national regions of the BBC, together with BBC Scotland and BBC Cymru Wales. Based at Broadcasting House, Belfast, it provides television, radio, online and interactive television content. BBC Northern Ireland currently employs 700 people, largely in Belfast.

BBC Northern Ireland has 2 TV channels BBC One, BBC Two and 2 radio stations. Northern Ireland raises some £98 million in licence fee resources however spend on local content by Northern Ireland is £53 million.[1]


Broadcasting House, Belfast, Headquarters of the BBC in Northern Ireland.

BBC Northern Ireland operates two television stations;

Prior to 27 October 2006, BBC Two NI was a digital only service while BBC Two Northern Ireland was available on analogue transmission. Since 28 October 2006, BBC Two Northern Ireland has been the on-air name for both services which have been merged.

BBC Northern Ireland has its own team of continuity announcers which introduce the vast majority of programmes on BBC One and BBC Two in Northern Ireland.

BBC Northern Ireland makes some of its own programmes itself. However, unlike the radio stations, the television stations' content is for the most part identical to that broadcast by the BBC One and BBC Two channels in England. Some network programmes may however be time-shifted to make room for more local programming. Most local programmes are broadcast on BBC One Northern Ireland.

Regional television

  • BBC Newsline is the regional news service. Its main presenters are Donna Traynor, Stephen Watson and Tara Mills. The main bulletin is from 18.30–19.00 with shorter bulletins at 13.30 and 22.25. Summaries are also broadcast during Breakfast and the early afternoon (all the BBC regions broadcast their own regional news simultaneously before all the networks reconnect to the national network for a national weather broadcast);
  • regional political programmes, notably Spotlight, Hearts And Minds and Lets Talk;
  • regional arts programmes;
  • regional weekend chat shows;
  • specialist coverage of events such a visit by Queen Elizabeth II, or a cross border visit by a dignitary such as the President of Ireland, or a distinguished overseas visitor such as the US President. There is coverage of the Orange parades on 12 July, St. Patrick's Day parades on 17 March, etc.

Networked productions

As well as programmes intended purely for a regional audience, BBC Northern Ireland also produces programmes for national consumption on the BBC's channels across the UK. The main part of BBC Northern Ireland's network productions are in comedy and drama.[2] This has included producing the high-profile drama series Messiah.

BBC Northern Ireland is also involved in co-productions with other broadcasting networks, most notably with the Irish broadcaster RTÉ.

Republic of Ireland


BBC Northern Ireland operates two radio stations:

  • BBC Radio Ulster, on 92–95 FM and 1341 Medium Wave, which broadcasts throughout Northern Ireland, and
  • BBC Radio Foyle, on 93.1 FM and 792 Medium Wave, which broadcasts to the North West of Northern Ireland

BBC Northern Ireland takes part in the 'Regionalisation' of some of the BBC's national radio output. Until 2012, for example, Radio 1 split the home nations on Thursday morning from midnight to 2am, with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland broadcasting their own shows to showcase regional talent. The Radio 1 session from Northern Ireland was last presented by Phil Taggart from Omagh.


BBC Northern Ireland's online service provides News, Sport, Schools, Learning and Programme information for television and radio programmes. It provides a streaming audio service for Radio Ulster and Radio Foyle as well as every programme on demand for up to a week after transmission. is part of BBC Online and operated from the Belfast base. It also provides multi platform interactivity for TV programmes including the annual Schools' Cup Rugby union and Gaelic Athletic Association finals.

BBC Experience

In recent years BBC Northern Ireland in conjunction with Libraries NI, have launched an interactive road show visiting libraries across Northern Ireland. The road show allows people to learn more about day-to-day life in the BBC as well as allowing them to take part in activities such as presenting the news or weather, starring in a radio drama or making jingles. For the majority of the days, there is an outside broadcast from BBC Radio Ulster's Hugo Duncan.


Significant regional programmes



Television news bulletins

  • Ulster Mirror (1950s)
  • Scene Around Six (1969 – September 1984)
  • Inside Ulster (September 1984 – 12 February 1996)
  • Newsline 6.30/Newsline/BBC Newsline (12 February 1996 to date)

Selection of network programmes


Gaelic games

BBC NI in recent years has been accused of showing bias against Gaelic games,[8] the most popular sports in Northern Ireland.[9]

Many Gaelic-games fans claim the sports are being discriminated against by the BBC in comparison to other sports.[8] The BBC's coverage of Ulster inter-county football did improve in 2008,[8] with them showing all but one of the 2008 Ulster Senior Football Championship matches, yet their lack of coverage of hurling, club matches and non-Ulster Championship games still angers GAA supporters. Little or no coverage was given to the 2008 club championships or the All-Ireland Minor Championship final replay between Tyrone and Mayo on BBC TV or radio.[8] The BBC would have had to purchase the rights to show matches outside of the Ulster championships[10] and described the situation as a "complicated rights issue".[11] The popular show Sunday Sports Sound on BBC Radio Ulster was scrapped, before being reinstated in early 2008 and again in October 2008.[8] The removal of the show had caused outrage among GAA fans in Ulster.[8] Ulster Council President Tom Daly called for the corporation to give "more attention and coverage because of the huge interest in Gaelic games at all levels"[8] although he had previously stated that he was "confident that the standard of coverage of Gaelic Games in Ulster this year will be at a very high level."[12]


In 2010 BBC Northern Ireland with RTÉ Sport, TG4 and BBC Alba bought the rights for Celtic League rugby.[13] Setanta Sports had held the Irish and Scottish rights from 2004 to 2009.

Irish League football

BBC NI provide coverage of Irish League football.


Although BBC Northern Ireland broadcasts primarily in English, there is some programming in the languages of Ireland, Irish and Scots. Radio Ulster carries a daily programme in Irish and there is an Irish language section on BBC Northern Ireland's pages, where reference is made to "BBC Thuaisceart Éireann". There are also occasionally TV programmes in Irish. Programmes are also broadcast in Ulster Scots.

There is a weekly radio programme for the Chinese community in Northern Ireland which broadcasts in Cantonese, called "Wah Yan Jee Sing".


The BBC television and radio stations are broadcast primarily from the Divis (500 kW), Limavady and Brougher Mountain transmitters. Both transmitters receive the BBC stations via a satellite feeds and each transmitter has a wealth of relay transmitters to provide analogue service to areas not served by their respective main transmitter.

BBC Northern Ireland have a radio link from their studios in Belfast which allows mobile on-location news crews to hear the studio; the test tone is known as the "commbeep". BBC Northern Ireland has three main television studios located in Belfast. There are two small studios located in the BBC Broadcasting House in Belfast. These are home to BBC Northern Ireland's regional news and current affairs programmes. They are around 2,000 sq ft (190 m2) each and are called Studio B and Studio 1. The largest of the studios is called Studio A which is located in the BBC Blackstaff House on Great Victoria Street in Belfast (just a few streets away from the BBC Broadcasting House). The studio measures 6,000 sq ft (560 m2) and has facilities equal to the main television studios in London. Studio A has been home to the award winning local sitcom Give My Head Peace, BBC Northern Ireland's contribution to BBC Children in Need, Question Time, Nolan Live and more.

BBC NI broadcasters

Former BBC NI broadcasters

Current BBC NI broadcasters


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External links