Ofcom has denied Bay TV Gwynedd the opportunity to launch Local TV in Bangor by rejecting the company’s bid for the licence.
The telecoms regulator ruled that as the broadcast area could only reach 16,000 homes in Bangor, the channel would not be commercially sustainable.
Ofcom’s Broadcast Licensing Committee said: “The BLC was concerned that the assumptions made by the application in terms of the advertising revenue per household would be unlikely to be achievable.
“In the BLC’s view, the applicant would not be able to maintain the proposed service over the licence period and therefore decided not to award the licence for Bangor.”
Bay TV, which has won the Local TV licences in Liverpool, Swansea and Mold, is less than impressed with the decision. Chris Johnson of Bay TV told Recombu that the Bay TV Clwyd station serves a slightly bigger number of houses as Bay TV Gwynedd would have done, arguing that Ofcom’s decision doesn’t stack up.
Johnson added: “The real losers in this are the people of Bangor. We believe that Bay TV would have provided a great social and economic benefit. We would have been a dynamic and sustainable TV station.
“There isn’t a broadcast news service effective serving bangor today since Heart FM moved out of Bangor, so we believe that we would have been well received by viewers and local businesses.”
Bay TV’s research apparently established an indication that a Local TV station would have been viable in the area, although Johnson admitted that it would be hard to predict exactly how well the station would be received until it had launched.
Despite Bangor missing out of a new Freeview station on channel 26, Johnson explained that Bay TV has plans to make its coverage in Mold and Swansea available online, so residents will at least be able to tune in to news and features from elsewhere in Wales.
In its application to launch Bay TV Gwynedd, Bay TV said: “The sheer size of Wales and the North Wales region, mean that BBC Wales and ITV Cymru find their resources are constrained when they are called upon to meet the needs of small communities.
“Our local remit means that we shall be able to devote attention to stories and issues that would be overlooked or ignored by the regional stations.”
No other companies have come forwards to bid for the Bangor Local TV licence. If there is an opportunity for Bay TV to reapply for the licence, Johnson said that the company would consider it. Bay TV currently plans to focus on making Bay TV Clwyd in Mold a success story and prove that Local TV can be economically viable in smaller regions.
Image: John Lord/Flickr