Rival regional publishers have come together to work with a new local TV channel for Southampton.
Ofcom has announced today that the licence to run the service in the city has been awarded to That’s Solent Ltd, with backing from Newsquest and Johnston Press.
The two publishers, who own the Southern Daily Echo and Portsmouth’s The News, will provide news for the local channel in exchange for video content for their websites.
The awarding of the licence is the latest made by Ofcom under the first phase of the government’s plans to roll-out local TV across the UK.
That’s Solent aims to launch in the first half of 2014 and TV personality Esther Rantzen is on board as programming vice president of the channel, with her set to present a feature called That’s Solent on Sunday.
The channel will have three production centres at local further education colleges in Southampton, Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight, with each having links with their local newspapers.
States the application: “Each That’s Solent production centre will have a tie in with their local newspapers. MOUs have been signed with Newsquest (Daily Echo, Hampshire Chronicle etc); Johnston Press (Portsmouth News) and the Isle of Wight County Press.
“Each of these major news outlets will give That’s Solent news leads and information in exchange for videos for their own websites. A camera in their newsrooms will enable us to interview their journalists.”
The channel aims to transmit rolling local news for three hours per weekday evening and one hour per day at weekends, along with a host of other programmes.
It also aims to train 300 “citizen volunteer reporters” who will provide reports on what is happening in their areas.
Jim Raven, a former Meridian and ITV director of news and sport, will be involved with the launch of the channel.