OXFORDSHIRE’S own local TV channel is gearing up to be beamed into county homes from the autumn.
The company behind That’s Oxford, which was given a licence by broadcasting regulator Ofcom, says it is working on putting together staff and equipment ready for the launch.
Daniel Cass, the chief executive of That’s Media, said the launch will take place in a few months’ time now he has expanded the station’s broadcasting footprint.
This means 240,000 homes across Oxfordshire will be able to pick it up, compared to just 100,000 previously.
Mr Cass, who ran SIX TV until it went off air in 2009 after 10 years, said: “It really extends to a large part of the county of Oxfordshire. Previously it wouldn’t have gone up to the north but you will now get it in Banbury. It really is now a countywide service rather than just a city service.
“It feels quite real now because we are quite advanced. I am talking to engineers and seeing computer servers being built. We are advanced in the procurement of premises, staffing and equipment but we have not finished that process.”
Mr Cass’s company ,which also has a local TV licence for Southampton, has applied to Ofcom for licences in Reading, Baskingstoke, Guildford and Salisbury.
The Oxfordshire channel will feature Esther Rantzen hosting a weekly light-entertainment show and covering quirky local stories, as well as output about the local music scene and news discussions.
Oxfordshire was selected by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in 2011 as one of the 21 pilot areas where local TV would arrive first.
That’s Oxford got its licence in 2012.
Wantage MP Ed Vaizey, who is also Minister for Culture, said: “I am very pleased to hear that plans are on track for a local TV launch in Oxfordshire. I hope it will prove popular with local residents and I hope there is a lot of opportunity for stories about the local area.
“We believe there is a gap in the market between national TV and regional TV and I think, while the residents of Oxfordshire might be interested in what happens in the wider South East, they will be more interested in what is happening on their doorstep.”