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Three rivals batte for new TV station licence
11:00am Monday 20th August 2012 in Headlines
COMPETING plans for a new TV station to serve Oxfordshire have been unveiled.
Those behind the three shortlisted bids – each hoping to be chosen to run a local TV channel – have outlined their visions for the station.
Broadcasting regulator Ofcom will now decide which will be given the licence, with the local channel potentially broadcasting within a year.
Abingdon-based That’s Oxford is offering a news-driven channel.
The man behind it is Daniel Cass, 37, who ran SIX TV until it went off air in 2009 after 10 years.
Mr Cass said: “We are certainly drawing on previous experience but a lot has changed in the years since we started SIX TV.
“We believe people will want to watch a channel that covers all aspects of Oxford and, although it will be a news-driven channel, it won’t just be hard news. There will be a range of programming.”
Mr Cass’s service would be based at Oxford Brookes University and could use its media department students.
The county was selected by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in December as one of the 21 pilot areas where local TV would arrive first.
Oxfordshire’s local TV station would be broadcast from the Beckley transmitter, so it would be picked up in Didcot, Witney, Wantage, Faringdon and Oxford on channel eight.
But it would not be picked up north of Kidlington due to the way the transmitter is pointed.
Rival Gary Shenton, 50, is part of a consortium made up of Film Oxford, Abingdon & Witney College and Cornerstone Art Centre. Together they have put themselves forward as a service called Oxford 8. This would be based in Witney. Mr Shenton said: “We will have a spectrum of programmes, ranging from documentary features to sports and reviews – particularly looking at things which go under the radar.
“We feel strongly about community reach, so this will not just be Oxford-centric.”
Jonathan Marks, behind Princes Risborough-based Oxford 8 – which is one of two bids with the same name – said he wanted to plug a gap for local news in Oxfordshire.
The 60-year-old said: “We thought that Oxford was poorly served by national and local broadcasters. Local news comes via BBC Southampton and ITV Meridian and I am sure local people will be aware they are not very well served in terms of news stories.”
Ofcom will now begin assessing the bids and is expecting to make a decision on who will get the licence in the next few months.