Ofcom has revealed the companies pitching for Local TV licences in Reading, Swansea and 9 more UK cities and towns.
Local TV has been launched by the government to fill in gaps in local programming which the BBC, ITV and other commercial broadcasters struggle to cover.
The UK’s first Local TV channel has already launched in Grimsby, following a successful first round of licence bids. Telecoms regulator Ofcom is now overseeing a second round of auctions, which is being broken up into multiple phases.
In many places, there’s just one company bidding for a licence, so it seems like a foregone conclusion for many viewers.
That’s Media Ltd is to be the only company gunning for licences to run Local TV in Basingstoke, Guildford, Reading and Salisbury. It’s proposing ‘That’s…’ followed by the city or town’s name in each of the areas, so That’s Basingstoke, That’s Guildford and so on. Provided Ofcom gives the go-ahead, we’ll see Reading and the whole M3/A303 commuter corridor covered by one Local TV provider.
Luton folks look like they’re going to served by Bedfordshire Television, a venture run by the Faculty of Creative Arts at the University of Bedfordshire.
There’s a bit more competition over in Wales, where Bay TV has launched bids for Bangor, Mold and Swansea.
Bay TV faces competition with Love Swansea in Swansea license and will be locking horns for the Mold licence with Serch TV Mold in Mold.
In its application to launch Bay TV Gwynedd in Bangor, the only place where Bay TV, faces no competing bids, 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.
“But with Bay TV Gwynedd 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.”
The two TV operators are vying for the Maidstone licence are KMTV and TVKent.
Regardless of who wins each licence, all Local TV channels will be required to broadcast a mixture of local news, travel, sports and weather and provide a spotlight for live performances and cultural events.
Local TV will be broadcast on Freeview channel 8 in England and channel 26 in Wales.
Image: Reading Tom/Flickr