The marathon race to launch a new local TV station in Birmingham has entered its final lap – with four contenders in the frame.
Bham TV, City TV Broadcasting, Made in Birmingham and YourTV Birmingham are the quartet of hopefuls jostling for the chance to run the city’s newest TV station.
Birmingham is among a string of UK sites earmarked for local TV, with the concept heavily endorsed by the Government and Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt. The first batch of new stations are planned to be up and running by next year.
The YourTV bid includes one of the best known faces in Midland sport, former Central head of sport Gary Newbon, with former BBC Trust chairman Sir Michael Lyons as chairman.
If its bid is accepted by regulators Ofcom, local programming taking in everything from news to sport, cookery and the arts, will be available to city viewers, according to YourTV.
Mr Newbon, who now works for Sky, told the Post earlier this year: “We would aim to cover Birmingham from top to bottom. I don’t want to give too much away but I believe there is a huge gap in the market.”
Meanwhile, at City TV, chief executive Debra Davis, former Birmingham City Council public relations executive, is at the heart of a long-running bid for the franchise, with other key figures including founder and vice-chairman Alan Grindley and former BT executive Derek Inman.
Ms Davis has said of City TV’s plans: “It is a minimum of one hour a day but we are actually aiming for five or six hours a day of original output to start with.”
At Made in Birmingham, city historian Professor Carl Chinn, is in the frame for a new job as a presenter. Bosses at the station, one of 11 proposed under the MADE Television banner, want him to host live debates and other programmes as a key part of their output. The station chief picked to run the Birmingham operation is Peter Brookes, former news editor at Central TV and managing director of Manchester United TV for more than seven years.
Meanwhile, the Bham TV bid has pledged to include a programme for and about trade union members in its schedule, with ex Unite union general secretary Derek Simpson as a potential presenter.
Bham TV partner Richard O’Brien said: “The message we have got from the people of Birmingham is that they want the output from their local television station to reflect their lives.”
The programme will be based on Union TV which was previously shown on the Community Channel.