There are really only two questions to ask of local television; will it work and will it be any good?
We’ll know the answer soon enough.
Later this year the first of more twenty local tv stations will begin broadcasting, providing ultra-local content to their patch.
A mixture of social enterprises, mixed commercial and public ventures and the offspring of giant newspaper empires, are all setting out on a unique tv experiment.
The theory is that the decline of local newspapers and the growing centralization of ITV news means there’s a gap in the market for really local television that covers what’s happening in your street.
Critics say it won’t stand a chance, but the incredible changes in broadcast technology mean the costs have plummeted and that’s why it can succeed where local tv stations in the UK have failed in the past.
Alongside that there has been a mushrooming in media activity, thousands of students are leaving colleges trained in filming and editing, hundreds of companies are offering on-line video services for businesses to promote themselves. In other words, all the pieces are in place.
We’ve been heavily involved with Notts TV for more than two years now. Nurturing the idea along slowly. First we had to convince the government that Nottingham should have a local tv station, then we had to convince them to grant us the licence.
Both objectives have been achieved and the attention now moves to the real business of tv, making great programmes and winning an audience.
I can’t speak for the other stations, but Notts TV is built on very strong foundations. On board in the consortium we have Confetti media, a well established training centre in music and video production that deals with thousands of students a year and has the resources to match. Nottingham Trent University, with its own broadcast journalism department. Nottingham Post, the newspaper which is immersed in the city with its team of expert journalists and the icing on the cake, Inclusive Digital, the production company run by Nigel Dacre, former editor of ITV News.
It’s a pretty formidable line up and I can’t really think of anything that’s missing.
We’re all working behind the scenes now in long meetings and producing pilot shows in time for April. We’ve just advertised our first job, Launch Editor, and more adverts for video journalists and technical staff will soon follow.
For years it seemed like we would never get to this stage, but as staff join, transmission links are joined up and programmes are finalised, we can finally say “Notts TV, coming to a television near you, soon!”