SO, THE long awaited Scottish Six will hit the airwaves next year. According to “senior corporation insiders” at the BBC, the flagship UK six o’clock news and Reporting Scotland will be replaced with one, hour-long Scottish programme mixing international, British, Scottish and local news – as journalists have done on Radio Scotland for decades.

The Scottish Six will have access to Aunty’s global network of reporters and will have 60 Glasgow-based staff to cover news from a Scottish perspective. After years of hesitation by the BBC, this looks like another triumph for Nicola Sturgeon, fresh from winning a cuts-free fiscal deal from David Cameron.

It certainly will end the current experience of watching what feels like hours of news items about English hospitals, English strikes and problems with English school exams, and over time may put pressure for the same change at 10pm. That’s not to say English-focused stories will be axed, but they should appear far further down the running order.

On the other hand, Holyrood should get more serious coverage, the Scottish arts could have a nightly slot and BBC Scotland could correct its Central Belt bias with a nightly round-up of news from around Scotland.

It is an exciting prospect. But there are some problems.

First there is the problem of viewer resistance. Apparently focus groups are less than enthralled at the prospect of losing network news – though it’ll still be available on the BBC News channel. Perhaps that’s because some opt-out programmes have seemed like cheap, cut-down and uninspired versions of their network counterparts. Newsnight Scotland was replaced with Scotland 2016, but it also lags behind STV’s Scotland Tonight. A recent report found less than 50 per cent of Scots think the BBC is good at representing their lives – the lowest satisfaction rate in the UK – and that vote of no confidence wasn’t just aimed at output generated in London or Salford.

Secondly, one hour with the same presenters is a big ask – the network programme Sixty Minutes came off air after research found the title and the hour-long duration was just too daunting for most viewers. Of course Radio Scotland has Scottish Six-style rolling news programmes that last for hours. And if the BBC is wise, it’ll take some tips from radio about the format. But will a one-hour programme feel dynamic, pacey and varied enough for Scottish viewers when it didn’t work south of the border?

Thirdly, how will the Scottish Six produce an authentic Scottish perspective on the world? What agenda will it have? One that is hyper-anxious about the health of North Sea oil but not fussed about the unequal fight to develop renewable energy in the teeth of Westminster resistance? One that’s pre-occupied with football, murder and satisfied with press handouts? One that continues to have no interest in Nordic neighbours because they look remote and insignificant from London?

Above all, will the new programme accept its own vital role in extending Scottish democracy and start treating constitutional change like a popular political reality not a tatty conspiracy against all things sacred? Unpicking the Scottish cringe and its associated reflex reactions from several generations of reporters and production staff will be tough.

The BBC’s mission has always been to educate, inform and entertain and to reflect nation onto nation. Now BBC Scotland’s primary task must be reflecting the Scots nation to the Scots and that means some staff – junior and senior – may have to educate and inform themselves about our vast, wee country. Given Scotland’s old education system there’s no shame in ignorance but nor is there any excuse for failing to reflect Scotland’s rich history or its thriving counter-culture in this new, extended news coverage.

The palette of what’s shown must be richer, the spectrum of what’s relevant must be wider and the range of contributors must finally reflect the whole of Scotland – not just the white, middle-class commentariat who live within striking distance of Pacific Quay.

Finally, I wonder if staff with poor morale are up to delivering something different and excellent without new leadership. Two short years ago, prominent local presenters were being threatened with the sack while more famous Scots were jetted up from London to front up the indyref. Hardly a vote of confidence in our ain folk.

So, the current Controller Scotland has an important choice to make. Ken MacQuarrie can stay in post for another year or two to get the Scottish Six bedded in, or go now and let an entirely fresh management team breathe new life into the project and into BBC Scotland’s raddled staff. But devolution is still reserved to Westminster, and, as things stand, the choice of new Controller will have no direct input from Scots or the Scottish Parliament.

So if the BBC really wants a new start, it must also devolve control over key appointments to a Board of Trustees nominated or elected by MSPs or Scottish voters.

Letting go of the reins won’t be easy for a centralised institution like the BBC – but in the spirit of the Scotland Bill, there has never been a better time for it to do so.