‘Local TV’ licence granted for Preston

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The granting of a licence to operate a new local TV station for Preston and the surrounding area marks a key milestone in the creation of a new media industry in the UK, says the Government’s Communications Minister Ed Vaizey.

Announced today, the licence was the last of 19 awarded for new town and city-based local TV stations around the UK. The first of the new stations should be up and running by the end of this year and available on Freeview channel 8.

Communications watchdog Ofcom announced YourTV Blackpool & Preston had secured the licence to operate the new Preston-based station – the final one awarded in the initial round of local TV licences. The regulator received 57 applications to run the 19 town and city-based TV channels.

Communications Minister Mr Vaizey commented: “There has been huge interest in securing the rights to run local TV stations and bidders have produced innovative and exciting proposals.

“Newspapers and radio stations are cornerstones of local communities and local TV will help enhance the areas they serve. They will help hold local councils and services to account while creating new jobs and opportunities in these towns and cities.

“Awarding the final licence is a real step forward. Truly local TV services will soon become a reality for millions of people across the UK.”

The first 19 local TV services will cover Belfast, Birmingham, Brighton & Hove, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Grimsby, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, Preston, Sheffield and Southampton.

Ofcom selected these areas as they were technically capable of receiving a local TV service and had sufficient interest from potential operators. Each bid was assessed against set criteria that included its proposals for programmes and the viability of the business plan.

Ofcom is now preparing to offer licences for a second group of towns and cities later this year.