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Local TV licence awarded to YourTV Blackpool & Preston by Ofcom

Blackpool and Preston residents will soon be able to tune in to a new Local TV channel on Freeview channel 8 – YourTV Blackpool & Preston. 

The channel will reach at least 340,000 homes across the area and will include a blend of local news, local politics and sport as well as education and entertainment produced both in house and with members of the public.

Local TV licence awarded to YourTV Blackpool & Preston by Ofcom

Based on the indicative schedule sent to Ofcom we’ll see programmes such as SoapBox Citizen which integrates social media chatter, Skype calls and comments from the public on local issues and MP Challenge where local politicians will be able to provide a local spin on Parliamentary decisions.

YourTV, which has also won the Local TV licence for Manchester, will broadcast content 24 hours a day in Blackpool and Preston. The majority of content will be locally produced, with there being a commitment to broadcast at least 14 hours of local programming in the first three years.

While there’s no date set in stone for launch, YourTV is confident that it’s well advanced in its plans and anticipates launching YourTV Blackpool & Preston on October 1, 2013.

Who are YourTV Blackpool & Preston?

YourTV Blackpool & Preston is part of YourTV Limited. YourTV Blackpool & Preston has won the licence from Ofcom to broadcast Local TV in the Blackpool and Preston region for the next 12 years.

The YourTV group is chaired by Sir Michael Lyons, former chairman of the BBC Trust and YourTV Blackpool & Preston is backed by a number of local figures like Tony Carr, co-founder of Radio Wave 96.5 and Simon Reynolds, former editorial director of the Lancashire Evening Post.

YourTV also launched bids for Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Newcastle and Sheffield.

What will be on YourTV Blackpool & Preston?

YourTV Blackpool & Preston will broadcast 24 hours a day, every day of the week and is committed to show 14 hours of locally-produced programming daily over the first three years of its 12-year run. There will be roughly four hours of live content each day and more if the news agenda requires it.

The majority of the schedule will be dominated by local news and information as well as local politics, sports and education.

As with YourTV Manchester, a key part of YourTV Blackpool & Preston’s content plans is the ability for local viewers to call in on their mobiles, make a Skype call or come along to a local show taping.

Local TV licence awarded to YourTV Blackpool & Preston by Ofcom

Besides from local news, we can expect a number of other shows, according to the indicative schedule document submitted to Ofcom. These include:

Book It!: A book review show featuring interviews with authors, book reviewers and readers from around the area.

MP Challenge: Local politicians will be given the opportunity to explain Parliamentary decisions and answers questions from local constituents.  

Soapbox Citizen: A citizen journalist-type slot in which local video reports, tweets and comments from viewers on local stories, reviews and news.

Where will YourTV Blackpool & Preston cover?

Click to enlarge

YourTV Blackpool & Preston will be broadcast on Freeview channel 8, from the Winter Hill tower south of Preston. As well as Blackpool and Preston, coverage will also include parts of Southport, Cleveleys, Fleetwood and Garstang. Click on the map below to get an enlarged view of the Local TV broadcast footprint for Blackpool and Preston.

When will Local TV be coming to Blackpool & Preston?

Though it’s to be confirmed, it is currently expected that YourTV Blackpool & Preston will be live by October 1, 2013.

What’s Local TV all about?

Local TV is a project that’s been set up to add a more local dimension to digital TV, bringing local news, features, advertisements and broadcasting to 19 UK cities initially. Later on it’s expected that a further 28 locations will also get Local TV.

Will I have to retune my Freeview box?

As YourTV Blackpool & Preston will be landing on Freeview channel 8 later this year, you’ll need to retune your FReeview set-top box or TV set in order to pick up the new channel.

Can I get Local TV on Sky, Virgin Media or Freesat?

Not at the moment. Right now, it’s looking like Local TV will be coming to Freeview first of all and to the other digital TV platforms later on.

Because of technology issues, Sky and Freesat won’t be launching Local TV, due to the fact that it’s more expensive and less efficient to broadcast TV channels to specific localities on digital satellite than it is over digital terrestrial TV.

As well as this, Sky is involved in an ongoing debate as to where on its programme guide Local TV will appear. Sky has offered to place Local TV on channel 117 but has also discussed the idea of having Local TV launched on a separate on-demand menu, accessed from the yellow button on the Sky remote.

Virgin Media has also suggested launching Local TV through an on-demand portal instead of giving up a separate channel on its programme guide.

It’s not yet clear how or in what form Local TV stations will be arriving on Freesat, Sky and Virgin Media. All we know right now is that it’ll be coming to Freeview on channel 8 in England and Northern Ireland and channel 45 in Scotland and Wales.

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