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Has the time for local television finally arrived?

Posted on 7 January 2011

York will be the focus of a campaign to kick-start an initiative aimed at ushering in a revolution in local television coverage.

The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Jeremy Hunt, has commissioned a report by Nicholas Shott to set out ways in which the Government could maximise the potential for local TV to emerge in the UK.

The Secretary of State should be prepared to bite the bullet and press ahead with these proposals

Greg Dyke

In a speech at the University of York on Monday, former BBC Director-General Greg Dyke will urge Mr Hunt to back the proposals that could see 80 local television services established within two years.

The Secretary of State is due to announce next week whether or not the Government has decided to pursue the framework for Local Television set out in the Shott report.

Mr Dyke, who is the University of York’s Chancellor, is chairman of the Local Network TV Committee which is reviewing options for developing a network centre for the new channels.

“The Secretary of State should be prepared to bite the bullet and press ahead with these proposals which could benefit communities across Britain – not just major conurbations but smaller cities such as York. The time for truly local television has finally arrived,” he said.

Mr Dyke will speak to local government, business and industry leaders in the University’s new Department of Theatre, Film and Television, which is being fitted with the most modern television facilities in the UK.

A group of influential figures in York has already been studying the feasibility of establishing a local television service for the city.

One of its members, former University of York Vice-Chancellor Sir Ron Cooke, said: “Changes in Government policy on television licensing are likely to create new opportunities for local TV. City of York Councillor Ian Gillies suggested, and others have enthusiastically agreed, that York might make an excellent pilot location for a local TV station.

“It has an audience of a suitable size, a significant number of organisations that could contribute and a real appetite for improved community communications.”

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