21 February 2013

Bay TV Liverpool awarded local digital television licence

By Eamonn Lavery

After years of preparatory work, and a long bidding process, Bay TV Liverpool Ltd has been awarded the city's local television licence.

It will be one of the new breed of Digital Terrestrial Local TV stations that will be aired on Freeview Channel 8 and on Sky and Virgin TV.

Ofcom selected Bay TV Liverpool as the winning bid based on the nature and viability of the proposals.

The locally based company fended-off bids lodged for the Liverpool licence by Phil Redmond's Our-TV, and affiliate schemes proposed by Made TV, and Your TV.

Bay TV Liverpool's model will see them employ a total of 19 staff, broadcasting locally made programmes covering news, politics, current affairs, music, entertainment and its own features.

The Bay TV Liverpool is Chaired by Jack Stopforth, former CEO of the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce.

The new station will cover not only the Liverpool city region, including Halton but also Wigan and parts of Cheshire.

Former Liverpool Captain Robbie Fowler and radio personality Pete Price are part of the Bay TV Liverpool team.

A weekly politics and local issues debate, filmed on location and rotating around the local boroughs, will be presented by veteran broadcaster Liam Fogarty.

The bid outlines Bay TV Liverpool's commitment to viewer participation and involvement, in politics, sport, arts, education, employment, religious and rural affairs programmes.

Bay TV Liverpool will have Mercury Press and Media as its main news media partner but will employ a team of video journalists, alongside editors and feature programme production staff.

Its bid also lists, among its key priorities, the opening-up of TV advertising airtime to local businesses on the high-profile Freeview Channel 8 slot.

Bay TV Liverpool's "indicative schedule" shows it intends to broadcast more than ten hours of local programmes, including 2.5 hours of news each day.

The second purely local bidder was TV veteran Phil Redmond, who had envisaged launching a channel named Our TV as "time-share" television - in which a wide range of public sector bodies, voluntary groups and businesses would be invited to participate.

Bay TV Chairman, Jack Stopforth, said: "I'm thrilled for the team.

"We were always quietly confident that Bay TV's mixture of solid journalism and access to the business community would stand us in good stead.

"The hard work is just beginning and we can't wait to get started.

"Our vision for local TV is to capitalise on Liverpool's resurgent business and arts scene and make it accessible to our local audience.

"This city has always been a fantastic source of news and Scousers have a huge appetite for supporting and promoting their city. We have to channel that and capitalise on it."

Bay TV Liverpool CEO Chris Johnson said: "We are thrilled and delighted to have won the licence.

"I want to thank all the team at Bay TV Liverpool who have worked so hard to pull this off.

"Bay TV Liverpool has been broadcasting over the internet since November 2011 and has already shown the great potential and appetite for local TV in the city."

"With the new licence we will soon be on Channel 8 on Freeview and we are 100% committed to providing a station the people of Liverpool and surrounding areas can really call their own."

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