Birmingham could finally see its own local TV station up and running in three months' time - with headquarters in Aston and a staff of around 20.
Around seven years of on-off negotiations and speculation are set to finally reach fruition in February with the launch of Kaleidoscope TV Ltd under the joint ownership of former ATV and Central presenter Mike Prince and ex-teacher Chris Perry.
The Prince consortium was given the green light to launch by Ofcom last week three months after the collapse of previous licence holders BLTV amid debts of around £170,000.
Ofcom agreed to a transfer of the licence after a warning by administrators Duff and Phelps that the launch could be delayed by many months if its choice of Kaleidoscope as preferred bidder was not approved.
Ofcom announced last week that Kaleidoscope had been granted the licence – but imposed a deadline of February 28 for the launch.
Mike Prince, best known in the Birmingham area as a former presenter with ATV and later Central in the 1970s and 80s, told the Post: "Chris Perry and I are delighted that Ofcom have agreed to transfer the licence and we are very excited about the opportunity to serve Birmingham, the Black Country and Solihull. We are formalising the legalities at the moment.
"We have a shortlist of extremely important jobs to do. We have a shortlist of locations, three of them are in the Aston area and one is in Walsall. There are another four that have been of interest in and around Spaghetti Junction.
"Aston seems to be a place where we can find a suitable location. We are working towards a complement of 20 people initially, a mixture of salaried and freelance people on contract. Because the decision has only just been made, there are a lot of people that we have got to talk to.
"We have got a core team. Valentine's Day would be quite a nice time to launch it but we think it will be the later date. There is a great deal to do."
Chris Perry, a former teacher in Lozells who runs the Kaleidoscope archive and music group in Handsworth Wood, said: "It is a natural partnership for me and Mike. We have known each other for a number of years.
"I was a teacher and Kaleidoscope was taking up so much of my time that I went into it full-time. It has grown from very small beginnings and we have a huge archive. We store a lot of the archives for BBC and ITV and we have the Bob Monkhouse archive."
Matt Ingram, joint administrators from Duff and Phelps, said: "I am delighted that after such a complex and intricate process, we have been able to agree that Ofcom will authorise a transfer request to Kaleidoscope TV Limited.
"As well as being the most comprehensive programming proposal, the proposals from Kaleidoscope TV Limited, represented the best dividend prospects to creditors of BLTV Limited. We will be meeting with the management team of Kaleisoscope TV Limited in the following days to legally formalise their offer, and look forward, subject to terms being agreed, to the forthcoming launch of local television in Birmingham."
Kaleidoscope TV Limited will broadcast via Freeview channel 8 and Virgin Media cable channel 159. The channel will produce and air 41 hours of locally produced programming a week from around the region.