Two years ago I was involved in a consortium bidding for the local television franchise for Tyne and Wear.
As a truly local bid we had a lot of support from local politicians and a strong editorial proposition. But commercially we were weak and although there were people prepared to back us, they would not commit support until we had secured the franchise. Understandable, but a bit chicken and egg.
We had a number of meetings with the successful bidders, Made in Tyne and Wear, and had expected from what they told us that they would be on air by now. Still waiting.
There are less than a handful of local TV stations which have actually started broadcasting and the problems (viewing figures and costs) of London Live have been well-documented.
What excited me about local TV was the opportunity to redress the mistake made 50 years ago when regional news programmes began. The BBC’s and ITV’s creation of regions was largely based on transmitter signals. One of the results is that in south east Northumberland, for example, we have to watch stories from West Cumbria and North Yorkshire on BBC Look North. For the most part, don’t care and not interested.