BBC announces dedicated Olympic channel for 2012

The BBC is going the extra mile for its coverage of London’s 2012 Olympics. They will be launching a temporary Olympic radio station, and BBC Three will be dropping most its youth programming to host “dawn till dusk” broadcasting of the games.

The new radio station will be keep the BBC news and sports branding to be called Five Live Olympics Extra, acting as a complimentary service to the existing Five Live and Five Live Sports Extra. The station will be available on DAB radio only.

Meanwhile on television, BBC Three, which normally only broadcasts in the evening, will be expanded to a full day service including hourly news bulletins. For those missing their fix of the network’s usual output, normal programming will resume at 2300.

In order to host these extra hours, BBC Parliament will disappear from the Freeview lineup with the proviso that it will return should parliament be recalled.

The plans were approved by the BBC Trust and announced by Roger Mosey, BBC’s director of London 2012, on his BBC blog. Despite the Olympic dominance, he assures viewers that they will still have choice.

“…it also means significant areas of the schedule – like BBC Two peak and BBC Four or our other network radio services – will not be over-run by athletes, and they can focus on what they do best including some of the Cultural Olympiad.”

The budget for the BBC Three coverage is thought to be £4.5m while the additional radio station will cost £200,000. The London Olympics Games will run from 27 July to 12 August 2012.

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