A NEW Oxfordshire community TV channel will soon be broadcasting programmes throughout the day, according to its boss.

But fans of Dame Esther Rantzen could be left disappointed as she revealed she was unlikely to be involved in any transmissions at the moment.

In 2012, broadcasting regulator Ofcom gave its backing to Abingdon-based station That’s Oxford and awarded it a 12-year licence.

Test transmissions for the channel, which is being run by Daniel Cass, 38, are now under way and the launch is “imminent”.

The station is part of the That’s Media group, which had been set up with former That’s Life! host Dame Esther as vice president for programming and has been awarded licences for the Solent area in Hampshire, Basingstoke in Hampshire, Reading in Berkshire, Salisbury in Wiltshire, and Surrey.

She had been mooted as a potential presenter but that now seems unlikely.

She said: “I am very supportive of local community television, I hope it succeeds.

“Sadly due to my commitments to Child Line and The Silver Line (helpline for the elderly) I have had to resign as a director of That’s Media.

“I do hope that I will be able to be involved with local programmes about the city I dearly love some time in the future.”

Mr Cass, who ran SIX TV for 10 years until it went off air in 2009, after 10 years, said: “I am a huge fan of Esther Rantzen and we have always planned to talk to her about how we can use her in our programming.

“We have always planned to do some special programmes with her for many of our different stations including That’s Oxford.”

Mr Cass, from North London, said the station would be run from an office in Abingdon with the main studio at the Witney campus of Abingdon and Witney college.

He added that the launch had initially been planned for the end of 2014, but a series of technical issues involving third-party suppliers had delayed the launch.

He said: “We cannot yet give an official launch date but it will be weeks not months and there is excitement building among Oxfordshire viewers.

“We aim to broadcast 24-7 but live programming will be broadcast between 4-9pm to coincide with the time when people have come home from work.

“Some elements of the content will be on a cycle, so some material will be repeated.

“Our launch on Freeview is imminent, we are in very advanced discussions with Virgin Media, and a launch date will be announced shortly.

“We expect to be on Virgin around the time of our launch.

“We want to launch the service and develop our programming before we expand on to other platforms including tablets and mobile phones.”

About 12 full-time staff are expected to run the station, with support provided by media students and apprentices.

The station’s potential output could cover a wide range of subjects from eating out to community news and the local music scene.

Oxfordshire was selected by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in 2012 as one of 21 pilot areas where local TV would be established first.