Hereward Media is a Registered Charity. Its objectives are to advance the education and training of the inhabitants of Peterborough and its surrounding areas in broadcasting and audio, video and media skills techniques. As such, the ancillary outputs from this initiative will be seen on Hereward Television, hence benefiting disadvantaged local communities with new skills for increased employability.
We are currently approaching potential funders and partners - informing them of the forthcoming local broadcasting revolution. If our region is to be mobilised, with us addressing the high-tech skills shortages which have been widely publicised, and as an ancillary result provide a Local TV station with huge social benefits and relevant local programmes, then the time for sponsorship of such is now. A little investment will produce tangible dividends for so many.
Local TV is exactly what it says - designed for much smaller reception areas than were seen even in the days when ITV had very distinct regions such as Anglia, Central and Yorkshire. These broadcasters had slots within their schedules described as 'regional opt-outs', where shows designed just for their transmission areas would be screened. Local TV is a new development, first conceived in 2011 by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, which will see more programmes produced in the areas they are being broadcast to, by new companies set up to bring local stations nearer to their audiences again.
So far, broadcast regulator Ofcom has awarded 34 Local TV licences for Freeview broadcasting across the UK, the method used for reception by 76% of the population. We want to make sure our region does not miss out on exploring this new frontier, which sees these channels in England take up Channel 7 on Freeview. We are also continuing our campaign of lobbying the advisers to regulators to consider granting a broadcasting licence to our service.
Our proposed 'broadcast footprint' is from Spalding, Bourne, and Holbeach in the North of our region, through Market Deeping, Crowland, Whittlesey, March, Yaxley, and down to Alconbury, Ramsey and Chatteris in the south, Some parts of Stamford, Oundle, Long Sutton and Wittering will also be covered. Local TV will be coming to all these areas, if we achieve our targets.
We completed a five-venue tour of our broadcast region to unveil our plans to local communities last Spring. These "Discovery Evenings" were hosted in Peterborough, Bourne, Whittlesey, Chatteris and March. Our audiences were able to hear all about the progress made by Hereward Television in bringing local broadcasting to our region.
We want you to be involved. You can be part of the action, where our target beneficiaries will be able to feel connected with society again. There will be new skills to learn in information technology, administration and broadcast production, transferable to a variety of possible new careers.
Please join our mailing list, so you can be kept up-to-date with developments. Why not get involved behind the scenes, find out how to produce your own series, and we are also looking for local presenters to front our programmes. Local businesses will also benefit from targeted new advertising opportunities which we offer.
Spread the word about us and what we are trying to achieve. It's a different way of doing things, but we believe it will be a vital part of our communities.
Television is no longer something that you are simply given to watch. You can now create programmes which cover your own interests, which may not be served by the existing TV landscape. All of this can be achieved while learning new skills which can be transferred to other careers around our area.
Interaction and involvement are a key feature of our model of broadcasting, and this will mean many of our programmes will go out live. This will allow viewers to have their say in the shows, via social media, email, phones and Skype. If you want to be part of what's going on, the way to do so will be to watch live.
We also want to be part of our various communities, which will see us take ourselves 'on the road', via outside broadcasts, at every opportunity.
Hereward Television was launched as part of 2015's Peterborough CAMRA Beer Festival. Our market research there, and at other events we have attended, has shown a desire amongst residents to have their own programmes. The channel will be the ancillary output from the project work of our beneficiaries, and so we will be encouraging the development of programme formats from the grass roots.
In order for us to be able to continue to train our beneficiaries over the years to come, our aim is to be running on a self-financing sustainable basis by January 2020. By that point, we will expect to develop at least 50 beneficiaries a year, who will be able to utilise the skills they have gained through our training to give them a route to a new career.
As an ancillary product from this work, we want to be broadcasting to the communities within our broadcast footprint on Freeview, Virgin Media, BT TV, TalkTalk TV and online to ensure the viability of our business model. We will also want our local news website to be seen as a valuable asset for other local charities, as well as businesses, clubs and societies in publicising their activities and initiatives.