A Sikh community broadcasting channel is behind the latest consortium to have thrown its hat into the ring to run a new TV station based in Birmingham.
The Aston-based Sikh Channel, owned by Davinder Singh Bal, is part of the Bham TV group which is bidding for the new Government-backed television licence.
If Bham TV’s bid is accepted by regulators Ofcom, 16 hours of local programming, taking in everything from news to sport, cookery and the arts, will be available to city viewers.
Richard O’Brien, head of public relations at Birmingham city centre-based legal firm DBS Law – which is also owned by Bal – is also part of the Bham TV consortium, which also includes media worker Devi Das; film maker Stewart Lawley, who runs production company Eko7.com; and criminal lawyer Prejal Shah.
Ms Shah said: “Our mission is to show all that is Birmingham to everyone in the city.
“We want to create connections across the diverse communities, sharing experiences, knowledge and culture, to enrich the lives of the whole population.
“We will offer programmes with local content and news broadcasting live from our studios in the city.
“Birmingham is bursting with potential; it needs a local channel to show just what it’s got.
“National TV programmers based in London ignore what goes on in the Second City, Bham TV will put that right.”
She said the channel would provide a platform for groups campaigning for change, and among Bham TV’s ideas for future programming there are local history and family entertainment platforms.
It comes after Central News’ former head of sport Gary Newbon revealed in March that he was part of consortium YourTV, which is also vying for the station.
Newbon, who now works for Sky, said: “You would have all the stuff that the TV companies are currently not doing, such as sport, the Hippodrome, everything local.
“We would aim to cover Birmingham from top to bottom.
“I don’t want to give too much away but I believe there is a huge gap in the market.”
Another rival for the station is City TV, whose team includes former Birmingham City Council public relations executive Debra Davis and city business figure Derek Inman.
Birmingham is among 20 sites which have been earmarked for a city-based TV station – a new approach to broadcasting which has been endorsed by the Government and culture secretary Jeremy Hunt.
Winning applications will be announced in the autumn, and the first batch of new stations are planned to be up and running by 2013.
Nationwide plans for local TV will see the BBC provide capital investment of £15 million on transmission infrastructure, plus a commitment of £5 million a year for three years to buy programmes.