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Ofcom considers Luton and Bedford Local TV merger

Ofcom is considering the merger of two more Local TV licence areas, Luton and Bedford. 

In addition to existing plans to merge other regions, Ofcom is inviting views on merging the two broadcast areas. 

Recently Ofcom spoke of plans to consolidate Gloucester and Hereford’s Local TV regions, renaming the new area ‘Gloucester’ and also to regroup Maidstone and Tonbridge under the ‘Maidstone’ banner. 

Due to shared cultural heritage and institutions, it make sense to merge the areas and at the time Ofcom spoke of similar plans for Luton and Bedford. 

Ofcom considers Luton and Bedford Local TV merger
The Local TV picture in Luton and Bedford is confusing

Read Recombu Digital’s guide to Local TVDespite this, the regulator thinks that merging the two broadcast areas would be complicated due to transmission issues. One transmitter won’t be enough to provide coverage for both Luton and Bedford and so Ofcom is considering ways to extend coverage. 

Both Luton and Bedford are part of the second phase of Local TV licensing. Ofcom had already awarded licences for 19 cities and towns including the UK’s regional capitals, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds and Newcastle as part of the first phase. Now it’s proposing to set up Local TV in a further 23 locations across the UK. 

Local TV stations will broadcast on Freeview channel 8 in England and Northern Ireland and channel 45 in Scotland and Wales. 

The closing date for response to this consultation is September 9 and Ofcom expects to publish a decision shortly afterwards. 

Image: Sibe Kokke/Flickr

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