Scarborough bid for TV services

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SCARBOROUGH is in the running to host the UK’s first local television services, it has been revealed.

The resort is one of 65 locations which have been chosen because they have the appropriate transmitter coverage, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced.

The towns and cities will be whittled down to a shortlist of around 20 by the end of the year.

Mr Hunt, who has championed the concept, said: “We need to decide which areas are best placed to pioneer the new service.

“These new, local TV services will be a fundamental change in how people get information about their own communities, and how they hold their representatives to account.

“There’s a huge appetite for local news and information in communities the length and breadth of the country.

“I want people to be able to watch television that’s truly relevant to them, about what’s happening where they live and featuring the people they know.”

Each of the areas will now be asked to make the case for why their town should be among those awarded a licence by Ofcom, with the first wave due next year.

The Government is also canvassing opinion from potential operators about which locations are likely to make the scheme a success.

Mr Hunt will host a series of events in major cities around the country to discuss issues and explain how local TV could benefit communities.

Some set-up costs will be paid for out of the licence fee - £40 million was earmarked for local TV in the latest settlement with the BBC - but Mr Hunt has made it clear the services must be self-sustaining, funded by advertising.

He said: “Local TV providers will need to produce quality content that people want to watch, which will make it attractive to advertisers.”

The Government’s target is to licence the first local TV stations from summer 2012.