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Free weekly newspaper in winning local TV bid

A free weekly newspaper launched last year is to provide news coverage for a proposed local TV channel.

Media regulator Ofcom has awarded the local TV licence for Oxford to That’s Oxford, whose parent company is now set to acquire a 49pc stake in the Oxfordshire Guardian.

The newspaper was launched in August last year by independent publisher TriMedia Newspapers Ltd.

The local TV channel’s partnership with the title will give it access to the newsroom, with a camera there to interview journalists for its news-led magazine programme.

Ofcom has also announced the awarding of a local TV licence for Birmingham to City TV Broadcasting, which aims to go live next spring.

The application for the Oxford channel says it will launch in the first half of 2014 and its main 30-minute news magazine programme, which will broadcast for four hours a day, aims to be a “traditional local newspaper on television”.

The bid for the licence states: “For nearly twelve years we have lobbied hard for – and dreamt of applying for – a new digital licence for Oxford. We will deliver a new service – not simply recreate an old one.

“We have launched a new investment group to develop local media in the south of England supported by the well-known media impresarios, Kent Walwin and Ed Simons; invited Mary McAnally (former MD of Meridian) and Esther Rantzen to work with us; and agreed (through our parent) to acquire a 49pc interest the Oxfordshire Guardian newspaper upon licence award.”

The partnership with the Guardian will also see sales staff from the paper involved in getting adverts for the TV channel, alongside the station’s own team.

Meanwhile, the TV channel for Birmingham aims to offer experience to media students in the city, with deals set up for South and City College Birmingham and Birmingham City University.

Its application says it will be on air 24 hours, seven days a week, with live broadcasting for its morning show and three 30-minute news programmes.

Ofcom is announcing the awarding of licences to 21 cities in the UK this autumn, with successful bids already announced for Belfast, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Grimsby, Norwich, Nottingham, Sheffield and Southampton.