Details have been disclosed of bids made by the five companies competing for the licence to broadcast a new local TV station for Liverpool.
The Liverpool city region will be home to one of a new breed of Digital Terrestrial Local TV stations that will be aired on Freeview Channel 8 and on Sky and Virgin from next year.
Ofcom will select the the winning bid over the coming weeks for each of the first wave of 19 stations in a “beauty parade” based on the nature and viability of the proposals.
The five bids for the Liverpool licence were lodged by Bay TV Liverpool, Made in Liverpool, Metro8 Liverpool, Our-TV and YourTV Liverpool.
The details revealed on the Ofcom web site show many similarities in terms of the local committment of the companies but differences in nature of the proposed services.
Bay TV Liverpool says it will employ a total of 19 staff, broadcasting locally made programmes covering news, politics, current affairs, entertainment and its own features.
The Bay TV Liverpool is Chaired by Jack Stopforth, former CEO of the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce.
A big emphasis will be places including internet and mobile phone broadcasting platforms and it promises to cover not only the Liverpool city region, including Halton but also Wigan and parts of Cheshire.
Its sports discussion show will be led by former Liverpool Captain Robbie Fowler and a weekly celebrity chat show is to be hosted by radio personality Pete Price.
A weekly politics and local issues debate, filmed on location and rotating around the local boroughs, will be presented by veteran broadcaster Liam Fogerty, a former candidate in the Mayor of Liverpool 2012 election.
The bid outlines Bay TV Liverpool’s commitment to viewer participation and involvement, in politics, sport, arts, education, employment, religious and rural affairs programmes.
Bay TV Liverpool will have Mercury Press and Media as its main news media partner but will employ a team of five video journalists, alongside editors and feature programme production staff.
Its bid also lists, among its key priorities, the opening-up of TV advertising airtime to local businesses on the high-profile Freeview Channel 8 slot.
Bay TV Liverpool’s “indicative schedule” shows it intends to broadcast more than ten hours of local programmes, including 2.5 hours of news each day.
The second contender is MADE in Liverpool, which would be part of a national family of stations with a big emphasis on encouraging citizen participation.
MADE claims news content will be delivered through a combination of feeds from Radio City, the Liverpool Echo and content generated by a network of citizen journalists.
MADE’s London-based CEO Jamie Conway says they would concentrate on developing stories from within online communities to encourage and reinforce participation from users.
Its bid names Michael Wray, a Manchester-based TV professional, as the station manager designate.
MADE in Liverpool says it will collaborate with Sir Paul McCartney’s performing arts school LIPA, the “Catholic Diocese” (sic)* of Liverpool, the John Moores University, Liverpool City Council, Ambassador Theatres, Laughterhouse Comedy
The area covered would range not just be the Liverpool City Region but would also include outlying areas including Wigan, Chester and the North Wales Coastal strip.
*The bid includes an embarrassing howler in which the logo of the Anglican Diocese of Liverpool is used alongside a reference to the “Catholic Diocese”, which should properly ve described as the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Liverpool.
The MADE in Liverpool “indicative schedule” sees much of its content shared with other local stations and one hour of Liverpool news per day in two 30-minute slots at 7pm and 9pm.
Canadian-based Metro8 Liverpool says it will aim to create programmes tailor-made to meet the need and aspirations of Liverpudlians.
Metro8 uses the tagline “All News, All Day” since it believes there is enough news in the region to fill a day-long output from its studios – something none of the other bidders has suggested.
Metro8 says much of its content will be produced by journalists on the ground and its staff will follow stories throughout its bulletins, which will also contain weather and traffic updates across the day.
Metro8 envisage a Bloomberg-style “multi-zone” screen presentation with scrolling headlines, weather forecast graphics and traffic cameras, but always with a live presenter.
It includes a link to a six-minute ling online video that is designed to promote and back its stake in Liverpool, but less than 20 seconds of the video actually shows Liverpool, since it was filmed in its studios in Canada.
Metro8 Liverpool has not submitted an “indicative schedule”.
The second purely local bidder is TV veteran Phil Redmond, the man who created Grange Hill, Brookside and Hollyoaks, leads the Our TV bid in conjunction with his wife Alexis and former Mersey TV MD Sean Marley.
The Our TV team proclaim that “localism and and accountability will be the main underlying principles” of the station.
The coverage area is to include Liverpool, St Helens, Widnes, Wigan and Wirral.
The Our TV concept is one of “time share television” in which a wide range of public sector bodies, voluntary groups and businesses would be invited to participate.
Our TVs bid also tells how the youth of Liverpool will also be given a platform to speak out about issues affecting them, as well as film steaming via subscriptions and specialist genres.
It proclaims its mission statement as: “An open access platform that will promote better community engagement by allowing policy makers and service deliverer to talk directly to their respective constituencies and user groups.”
Our TV’s overall aim is for for viewers and contributors “talk to” rather than “at” each other. alongside allowing people to create programmes, rather than simply consuming content.
Some surprise is likely to be expressed at the fact the Our TV envisages employing only four staff, since its content will mainly be drawn from other sources.
Our TV has not submitted an “indicative schedule”.
Bringing-up the rear in alfabetical order is “YourTV Liverpool” which aspires to be the number one port of call for viewers who want local news and information.
The YourTV bid is fronted by local business networking group leader Frank McKenna and envisages covering only the Liverpool city region, not Wigan, North Wales or Cheshire.
Its bid envisages a “rolling wheel” of news, features, information and entertainment alongside others serving community, local democracy, family and children, education and diversity topics.
Controversially YourTV includes a 11per cent “infotainment” output. The bid does not explain its concept, but ‘infotainment’ is generally taken to involve programmes that “dumb down” of journalistic standards in a bid to gain popularity with audiences.
But Your TV also promises there will also be business and sport sections and it will broadcast 24 hours a day and boasts that the viewer will be “updated every time they switch on YourTV Liverpool”.
Some programmes will be shared with other stations but it promises high production values and experienced staff that YourTV a success with the audience and advertisers.
YourTV Liverpool has an “indicative schedule” that includes many locally-made programmes balanced with its plan for “rolling news”.
Ofcom has said that it expects to start awarding licences at some time in September but it is not clear when the Liverpool announcement will be made.
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