Birmingham could have its own TV channel if an ambitious bid to launch a digital station for the city next year is successful.
City TV Birmingham aims to produce mostly live content from a central Birmingham base, airing programmes with a broad appeal.
Despite major commercial players like ITV making cutbacks in local television, the founders of City TV Birmingham believe there is an opportunity to create a local TV station for Birmingham.
City TV cofounder Lin Glover said: “Now Ofcom has made clear the opportunities for local TV using the digital spectrum, it’s all systems go.”
“The move away from regional television and dilution of local output creates a major opportunity for this new tier of local commercial broadcasting.’”
“City TV Birmingham bucks the current trend for the more specialised, broadband-based TV channels. It will be a dynamic, broad appeal, entertainment-led local broadcaster delivered via satellite, broadband and, ultimately, DTT channels,” the station said.
“Content will be mostly live with a remit is to get out and about to reflect Birmingham, what’s happened, what’s going to happen and most importantly what’s happening now. The fact that it is available via satellite across the UK and beyond will also serve to promote Birmingham world-wide.”
City TV Birmingham, which has been developing plans for the station for over a year, said it would draw on the success of Canadian TV station City TV and big city commercial radio in the UK.
Co-founder Al Grindley said: ‘Birmingham has a heartbeat that is almost palpable.
“It is youthful, diverse and pulsating with cultural activity. The catchment area makes it big enough to be commercially viable.
“Its compactness and open public spaces makes it possible to engage fully with the potential audience. We believe there is a strong sense of local identity and a growing civic pride here in Birmingham.
“That, along with the benefit of all the new technologies, makes local TV for Birmingham a hugely exciting proposition. If Manchester can sustain its own TV station in Channel m, then Birmingham certainly can.’
The station, which hopes to launch from a high-profile city centre location during 2009, said it had no funding secured yet but it had received expressions of interest from several sources.
Lin Glover said: “The timing of the launch for City TV Birmingham is very important while in one sense the climate for local TV is absolutely right, we need to be wary of the current economic environment as our revenue is entirely advertising and sponsorship-driven.”
Both Lin and Alan have a background in broadcasting. Lin has over 25 years experience in the commercial broadcasting industry, initially as a regulator with the Independent Broadcasting Authority.
Since 1988, she has been an independent media consultant specialising in the winning of licences for new radio stations and her clients include Daily Mail and General Trust, GWR (now GCAP Group) and Celador Productions.
Her business partner Al Grindley has worked as independent television producer for over 25 years.
He is known for a raft of celebrity life-style documentary series and profiles including Life in the Fast Lane, at the Monaco Grand Prix and The Big Game, profiling Roger Daltry of the Who.
Manchester’s Channel m, which reaches around 250,000 viewers, is an example of a successful local TV station.
Owned by Guardian Media Group, Channel m was set up in 2000.