back to article Local TV pioneers sought by Ministry of Fun

The Ministry of Fun is looking for communities who want local TV, and has produced a map of 65 places that could be first to receive it - that is, if any locals want to argue their case. Keen volunteers aren't expected to run the stations, only to submit two pages explaining why their city, town, or area should be one of the …


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  1. Refugee from Windows

    Recipe for failure

    Who's actually going to watch it? Local radio is struggling, the local content is going from a lot of the one's that are really regional ones with local adverts, and we've enough shoestring TV to choose from already.

    I'm just waiting for ITV's local coverage to be quietly dropped myself.

  2. John Styles

    We tried this before, it didn't work

    Also doesn't seem much money to me.

    I hear there is this thing called 'the Internet' or some such. Perhaps the bright boys in Whitehall and Westminster could look into it?

  3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Killer app

    Political debates. At least according to Mr Hunt. I guess he needs to watch more US cable and public access or maybe just get out less.

  4. mfraz

    Local TV?

    We used to have something called regional TV from the various regional ITV companies until the Tories allowed them to merge until Granada and Carl(t)on were left who then became the ITV we know it as now.

  5. Pyers

    A picture is worth... £25m

    Interesting that community TV is getting so much money thrown at it.

    Guess how much money community radio got?

    Answers on a postcard to The mates of Mr Hunt, Dept. for Culture TV and sport...

  6. Blofeld's Cat Silver badge

    Local Content?

    I'm probably getting cynical, but I suspect that most of these will end up broadcasting:

    - music videos (40%) - "... this week's Belgian top 100..."

    - big name adverts (20%) - "... Every little helps ..."

    - international news with a local twist (20%) - "... a local man said he once went there and got wet ... "

    - program trails (10%) - mainly for other channels.

    - local adverts (9%) - "... a great 'plaice' for fish ... just 100 yards from this cinema ..."

    - local news (1%) - "... dog show ... cat show ... flower show ... one-man protests ..."

    It has the local paper in the pocket.

  7. Pete 43

    I dunno....

    Local dogging events may be of interest

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A whole new mux for this shite?


    Scotland has managed to cram in BBC Alba with a bit of re-jiggery to the beebs radio stations (they were more useful, in my worthless opinion), so I don't see why south of the border can't do the same; it'll certainly be cheaper when the station inevitably bankrupts itself.

  9. Anna Logg

    where's the business case?

    As already pointed out local/regional radio makes very little if any money for anyone, regional TV has all but disappeared from ITV, so who on earth is going to stump up the cash to run local TV?

    That's assuming UK Freeview boxes can cope with these extra muxes.

  10. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    It's doomed.

    'Everybody' says they want local TV, but nobody knows what to put in it. This is the equivalent of the free paper that contains three pages of editorial and sixty pages of adverts, and perhaps the local school sports day results, whose natural life cycle is from letterbox direct to recycle bin, unopened.

    The 'quality' metric is laughable - there simply isn't the money around either direct or from advertising to produce much more than a newsreader to camera for ten minutes, or an hour of quiz shows with idiot-grade 'test of skill and judgement' phone-ins.

    To be honest, slice it all back to the four main terrestrial channels, with maybe sky for those who like paying twice to watch the adverts, and get rid of the trash TV, the ITV three-and-seven-eighths, the endless American (and UK) repeats, the low-IQ drivel that passes for entertainment. Then we might start to see some quality. But at the moment, there simply isn't the talent to create it or the money to pay for it.

  11. LuMan

    Yeah, but..

    ..does this mean we actually get a real-life Wayne's World!!???

  12. despicable me

    Oh good

    These stations sound just like "Border TV" used to be in the good old days.

    Their newsreader used to finish solemnly reporting some tragedy, and would then put on a stuffed monkey puppet to become "Uncle Johnny" and introduce the kids' programs.

    They sometimes didn't have enough local adverts to fill the gaps in the networked programs, and just played music instead.

    It was wonderful.

  13. Anonymous Coward


    ...can't wait to see the highlights of Malvern TV.

    Oh look some people climbing up. Oh Morrisons will shut early on Friday due to the fridges failing.

    Breaking news......there are sheep on Main Worcester > Malvern road causing tailbacks of up to 5 minutes.

    1. Mike Flugennock

      breaking local news...?

      "Breaking news......there are sheep on Main Worcester > Malvern road causing tailbacks of up to 5 minutes..."

      Laugh if you want; I understand that traffic jams due to flocks of sheep on the road are fairly common over there. Were I ever able to visit England some day, I think I'd actually enjoy being in a line of backed-up cars waiting for some rustic old dude to usher his sheep across the road; over here (Washington DC), backups on the Capital Beltway (aka Interstate I-495) are much longer, and are usually due to some horrific bloody crash involving a couple of eighteen-wheelers and a Honda Civic, of which the local news treats us to sweeping panoramic views via helicopter.

  14. Mike Flugennock

    I'm not familiar with the UK situation...

    ...but there was a time over here in the Colonies, up through maybe the late '70s, where local TV could be lame, boring, cheesy -- and at the same time, tons/tonnes of fun. Like a lot of my fellow Yanks, I have a passion for Grade 'B' horror and sci-fi flicks (and other movies so bad they're good) thanks to local channels' late-night "horror hosts", always some guy at the station -- usually an announcer or other local "talent" -- who would dress up as a vampire or other evil character and host the Saturday night "Creature Feature" or "Chiller Theatre" or what have you, doing cheesy schtick at the top of the show and during the breaks. Thanks to local Channel 20 here in Washington DC, and it's "Count Gore DeVol's Creature Feature", I became intimately familiar with the work of genius auteurs such as Roger Corman and Ed Wood.

    Granted, most of the rest of the time was padded out with old "Batman" and "Hogan's Heroes" episodes, and local news/talk and public-affairs programming were like electronic Valium, but that was cool with me, because I could still count on Channel 20 for top-drawer 'Grade B' horror and every damn' Bugs Bunny cartoon ever made.

  15. Craig 12

    naysayers the lot of you!

    Whether people would watch is one thing, but I think... actually, I *know* there's more than enough going on in Brum+surrounding area to fill a tv channel (and no, I'm not talking about that current stuff in the news)

    Our local news is awful. Really big stories will just be ignored completely. We also get represented poorly on the national news when something big happens here. "I'm here in Birmingham" ... no you're not, you're in the worst street in a dodgy suburb.

    I'm sure most big cities have enough content, equally bad local news, and frustration when local knowledge is missing from local stories.

    I'd certainly watch it, but I learnt long ago what I think is a good idea is far from what most people do :)

  16. Graham Marsden

    Local TV News Headlines:

    And tonight's top story - Mrs Johnson of Green Road has lost her cat...

  17. Peter Dawe

    Red TV

    I owned and ran Red TV on Cable in the East of England for several years. We were watched by more people than nickodeon, However, the ad sales never exceeded the costs of the sales people!!!!

    More fun than owning a Football Club IMHO but Local TV is a toy for rich fools

  18. Mike Flugennock

    owning a local TV station...

    "More fun than owning a Football Club IMHO but Local TV is a toy for rich fools"

    Over here, the big push among media activists is for the establishment of low-power FM radio licenses -- currently broadcasting as pirate stations -- so the local communities can have their own radio that actually serves their needs, due to the total lack of programming variety and local issues/public affairs coverage on "regular" mass-market radio.

    I've never bothered to check the license/operating costs of a local TV station over here -- I'm sure it's changed a lot since the low-ball cowboy local UHF days -- but your post, along with the LPFM issue here, have got me wondering what's being done with all the spectrum vacated by the switch from analog to digital TV in the States. I've seen some media-hacking blogs here and there posting plans and kits for low-power analog TV transmission gear -- there are reports of people in remote areas using this gear to suck down DTV telecasts and pipe them to areas where the digital signal can't reach and people still only have old analog sets -- and it's got me wondering now about the feasibility of low-powered "pirate TV" telecasting to local communities over vacated disused analog channels...

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