Ofcom announces Local TV licence winners for Oxford and Birmingham

Ofcom has announced the winning bidders for local TV station licences in Birmingham and Oxford.

The licences for digital terrestrial TV channels were won by That’s Oxford, which will work closely with the Oxfordshire Guardian, and City TV in Birmingham.

Ofcom has now awarded 11 local TV licences after receiving 57 applications in the summer for 21  areas across the UK.

That’s Oxford, which hopes to launch in the first half of 2014, will have a strong emphasis on current affairs, according to its application form, submitted to Ofcom.

The channel, which was in competition with two other bidders for the licence, plans to feature a 30-minute news-led “magazine” every hour during weekday evenings – making up to four hours a day overall.

Led by director Wesley Smith, it will aim to represent a "traditional ‘local paper’ on television".

The programme will take advantage of That’s Oxford’s partnership with free weekly title the Oxfordshire Guardian. Oxford's main media player Newsquest (which runs daily paid-for title the Oxford Mail does not appear to be involved in the project at this stage).

That’s Oxford has said it also plans to get involved in journalism training by launching the Oxford Journalism Foundation Degree, accredited by Oxford Brookes University. The broadcaster said that students on this course will act as a "video news agency" for the new channel.

City TV, meanwhile, while aim to transmit 34.5 hours of news per week, alongside arts and sport programming.

The Birmingham station aims to launch as early as Easter 2013 and expects to collaborate with other local television operators.

Their proposal said: “We will also entertain proposals from international distributors and broadcasters who have programming that will be of particular interest to local viewers (i.e. Star TV, Caribbean channels).”

City TV, which fought off competition from four other Birmingham applicants, also aims to broadcast programmes in foreign languages catering for Birmingham's various ethnic minorities.

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