Local TV licences awarded in Sheffield and Belfast

Ofcom awarded two more local TV licences today in Belfast and Sheffield.

The Belfast bid was awarded to Northern Visions, which has run a community television station called NvTv since being licensed by Ofcom to deliver local TV for the city in 2004.

In its first year it will air five four-minute bulletins and two 15-minute bulletins, along with its flagship programme “Community Today”. This 40-minute show will be aired five times a week.

It will also feature a current affairs programme called “The Insider” and a Business programme.

The Sheffield bid was won by Sheffield Local Television Ltd, which aims to partner with a network of “50 local bloggers and community news websites” as well as working with students from the city’s two universities and Sheffield College.

Its core TV news offering will consist of six five-minute bulletins  and an extended 30-minute news programme from 6.30pm-7pm.

In its application SLTV said: “The news programming will be complemented by a strong current affairs offer including studio based interviews and discussions that go ‘behind the news’ and highlight local opinion and points of view.”

The current affairs strand will be aired between 7-8pm. In its application the company said:

Our research shows that demand for local news and information is a top priority, with Sheffield poorly catered for by existing regional television programming, but respondents to our survey and public consultation events also indicated that they would like to see a variety of programmes reflecting local opinion and current affairs and local interests including music, arts, sports and the environment.

SLTV will aim to provide a trusted source of local news, current affairs reporting and local information with news bulletins produced by a professional news team and supported by a network of community reporters.

We will work with and provide journalism training for local bloggers and community website editors to broaden the range of source material beyond diary events and official communications, and to encourage hyper-local news provision as a complement to broadcast news reporting.

We have identified 50 local bloggers and community news websites and have consulted with over 20 representatives as part of a wider community networking partnership to explore strategies for content sharing and content aggregation.

We will work with and involve student journalists from both of Sheffield’s universities and from the Sheffield College, providing work experience and apprenticeship opportunities, and encouraging and supporting the development of their broadcast and online journalism skills, including in local investigative reporting.

The company is chaired by Stephen Buckley, a co-founder and current chair of Commedia Sheffield, which operates the community radio station Sheffield Live!

Among its advisors is Matthew Neale, head of media, journalism and music at Sheffield College.

He oversees the NCTJ Diploma in Journalism and is responsible for the college’s Norton Centre broadcast facility and for training courses in journalism and media production.

He will act as a “focal point for student engagement and journalism apprenticeships”.

Sheffield Local Television represents a consortium of Sheffield-based organisations launched on 11 February 2011 and Community Media Solutions, a Sheffield-based media development agency, and Cultural Industries Quarter Agency (CIQA), an urban regeneration and economic development agency with a focus on Sheffield’s creative and digital industries.

Local TV licences have also now been awarded in Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Grimsby, Norwich and Nottingham.

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