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Two universities join forces with local TV bidder

A TV channel set up with the aim of delivering local TV services across the UK has signed partnership deals with two universities.

Channel 6 has signed agreements with Sunderland and Cardiff universities which could see their journalism students working on local TV services launched in the cities.

Under the deal, the universities’ studios and production facilities could be used to create local TV programmes, while Channel 6 is also in talks with Skillset Media Academies about partnerships with more than 20 other colleges and universities.

Channel 6 announced earlier this month it would bid to run a national ‘spine’ to host local TV services, while the Local Television Network, headed by Greg Dyke, and Welsh producer Tinopolis will also submit expressions of interest to culture secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Former ITV News editor Nigel Dacre is also understood to be bidding through his company Inclusive Digital after previously being involved in one of the three regional TV pilots which was scrapped by Mr Hunt.

Channel 6 chief executive Richard Horwood said: “Universities like Sunderland and Cardiff and the Skillset Media Academies have state-of-the-art studios and production facilities, highly motivated students, and well-qualified graduates.

“Many of them are already in the forefront of developing plans for local TV in their areas. They are key local partners, and we are looking forward to collaborating with them.

“We are also talking to other institutions, and welcome interest from any media school keen to get involved.”

Professor Richard Tait, director of the Centre for Journalism Studies at Cardiff University, said: “We are very happy to be working with Channel 6.

“It’s always exciting to be involved in something new in journalism – particularly a project of this scale and ambition. We share Channel 6’s belief that the leading journalism schools have much to contribute to the creation of local TV in the UK.”

Mr Hunt has set a deadline of 1 March for expressions of interest in running the national TV network, which is due to be launched in 2013.