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Channel M for Manchester local TV channel shuts down

Pioneering local TV service Channel M has been closed down after 12 years broadcasting to Manchester.

Owner Guardian Media Group said it had been waiting for the government’s local TV plans to offer Channel M a viable business plan for the future, but this didn’t look possible.

The channel was set up by the Guardian Media Group and Salford University, but had been operating on a skeleton output since GMG sold its regional newspapers in 2010.

Stuart Taylor, chief executive of GMG Radio, told The Guardian: “We’ve been in a holding pattern with Channel M for two years awaiting the outcome of the government’s future plans for local TV.

“Sadly, we don’t feel they provide us with the framework needed to grow Channel M into a profitable business that delivers the quality service viewers and advertisers expect from GMG.

“I want to thank Channel M controller John Furlong and his team for all they have done through this difficult period.”

At its high point, Channel M was available locally on Freeview and nationally on Sky and free-to-air satellite, but the satellite option was axed along with about 30 staff in 2010. It’s most famous output was probably legendary comedian Frank Sidebottom’s Proper Telly Show.

The station continued with a mix of archived material, networked news, live traffic cameras and simulcasts of local radio.

The government is expected to license the first local TV channels this summer, with at least 10 to be operational by 2015.

The local channels will operate on new Freeview spectrum alongside two or three nationally-syndicated commercial channels, and will have a guaranteed number 6 slot on Freeview’s channel guide.

Image: Gene Hunt/Flickr