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Editor backs plans for local TV in his city

A regional daily editor has expressed his backing for a new local TV station in his city as part of a network of up to 80 local TV services.

Steve Hughes, of The Press, York, spoke out after a speech in the city by former BBC director general Greg Dyke.

Speaking at the University of York, Mr Dyke argued that local TV could be rolled out in up to 80 towns and cities across the UK with running costs of just £500,000 a year.

He took issue with a recent report by government adviser Nicholas Shott which claimed that the services would only be viable in up to 12 of the biggest cities.

The Press has already held talks with a number of organisations in York, including the University, Science City York and the city council, looking at the possibility of setting up a York TV station.

Said Steve: “A local TV station for York would be an exciting proposition and definitely something we would be interested in exploring.”

Mr Dyke is chairman of the Local Television Advisory Committee which will report to Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt on the viability of local TV.

Speaking to an audience of media, business and government leaders, Mr Dyke said cities like York were poorly served by existing regional TV services – but there was the potential for a local TV station to succeed.

He said: “We think he (Shott) doesn’t understand the potential in cities like York.

“We believe local television can be made to be viable in cities like these… and that, arguably, the interest in local news and local features is greater in smaller cities.”

Mr Hunt is expected to announce next week whether he will accept the recommendations of the Shott report.

Last year, Trinity Mirror chief executive Sly Bailey said the government’s plan for city TV would not be sustainable.