Thursday, 11 August 2011

Local TV for Lancaster?

(Updated 12/8/11): Local TV could be on the cards for Lancaster and Morecambe if government plans for the medium gain ground.

Ofcom - the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries - has assessed the available spectrum on around 70 terrestrial television transmitters that serve the largest number of people in the UK. Now it has identified 65 locations where there is the potential for local TV services to be licensed and broadcast on digital terrestrial television (Freeview).

The Lancaster and Morecambe area is one of the initial locations and the public have until mid-September to give their views.

Ofcom points out that in many cases, more than one town or city will be covered by each spectrum footprint and these are also indicated.

Lancashire already has its own TV channel - Lancashire One - which broadcasts on the Showcase TV across Europe. Based in Preston,  with an eye over the whole of Lancashire, the channel aims to bring to screen some of the best events the county has to offer, "from tractor pulling in Leyland to scarecrows in Wray.

The company remain unconvinced by the financial viability of a "micro-TV" station, however.

"We're very pleased to see that Lancaster has been selected as one of the 65 pioneer locations across the UK for Local Television," director and producer Nigel Sharples told virtual-lancaster. "However, we maintain that no single town or city, apart from the  major conurbations as Manchester and Liverpool, is large enough to support a Local TV Channel.

"This is why we created Lancashire One as a channel which could focus on a wider area and believe that this is the optimum way forward" .

A list of potential locations for local TV are set out in the Pioneer locations publication which also invites views on which towns and cities should be licensed in the first phase. The closing date for responses is 23rd September 2011.
• Send your comments or if you have any queries about this consultation to: local.tv@culture.gsi.gov.uk or by post: Peter Bakewell, Media Team, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 2-4 Cockspur Street, London, SW1Y 5DH

• Further information can be found on the Ofcom website

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