By Maximilian Clarke

Maggie Cunningham has been appointed by Ofcom as the new Chairman of MG ALBA, the body responsible for funding Gaelic programming. She will take up the four-year appointment at the beginning of July 2012.

The appointment was approved by the Secretary of State for Scotland, supported by Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning following an independent appointment and selection process undertaken by Ofcom in Scotland.

Maggie Cunningham takes over from Alasdair Morrison who has served as Chairman since July 2008. During this period MG ALBA launched the BBC ALBA channel in partnership with the BBC. The channel became available on Freeview in June, 2011.

Maggie Cunningham is currently an executive and leadership coach with Perform2Succeed. She was Head of Radio Scotland from 2000 to 2004 and Joint Head of Programmes and Services, BBC Scotland from 2005 to 2009. She has carried out a number of other roles with BBC Scotland since 1979 including as Secretary supporting the Broadcasting Council for Scotland. She is a fluent Gaelic speaker.

“I am delighted to be appointed and look forward to working with the board of MG ALBA to build upon Alasdair’s considerable contribution over the past three and a half years which has seen the launch of BBC ALBA,” said Maggie Cunningham.

Welcoming the appointment, Colette Bowe, Chairman of Ofcom, said: “Maggie Cunningham combines senior broadcasting experience with a commitment to the future of the Gaelic language.

“My colleagues in Ofcom join me in wishing her every success in taking forward her vision for Gaelic broadcasting.

“I would also like to record the gratitude of Ofcom for the significant role played by Alasdair Morrison in furthering the cause of Gaelic broadcasting during his term as Chairman, particularly in the establishment of BBC ALBA.”
Michael Moore, MP, Secretary of State for Scotland, said:

“I would like to congratulate Maggie Cunningham on her successful appointment as MG ALBA Chairman. I am sure that her experience gained over 15 years as a senior BBC executive, will no doubt stand her in good stead as she takes up this appointment.”

“The Scottish Government is committed to a sustainable and vibrant future for Gaelic in Scotland and MG ALBA, driven by committed individuals like Maggie Cunningham, are a key part of making that a reality," Michael Russell MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning.

“I believe Ms Cunningham has the right skills to step into the role and build on the good progress that MG ALBA has made in partnership with BBC Scotland.”

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