The York Channel
York Channel

York’s bid to have its own TV channel has come a step closer to becoming a reality.

A proposal has been submitted to the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) for York to have a dedicated TV station.

The bid has been put together by a group including SCY, City of York Council and the city’s two universities – the University of York and York St John University – and has the support of The Press. It follows an announcement in January that the DCMS wants to help create a new generation of self-funded local TV services. The initial schemes will be focused on ten to 20 local TV services operating by 2015, with the first local services licensed from 2012.

The bid is strengthened by the University of York’s new department of theatre, film and television which moved into its new complex in September 2010, and represents £24 million of local investment. The facilities, comprising a 200-seat theatre, two professional television studios, a cinema, post-production and new media laboratories, and rehearsal rooms, can compete commercially with the best in the country.

Greg Dyke, former BBC boss and the University of York’s chancellor, speaking to The Press in January, said in a city such as York it would make sense for there to be a multi-media company running not only local TV, but also the local newspaper, internet news and local radio – as so often happens in the United States.

He said the idea would be for the channel to be self-funding, and for a certain number of hours of TV content a day to be purely local with the rest being nationally networked material. There would be local news, features and sport, then magazine programmes, even local quiz shows or panel games.

With the submission of the bid, its backers say that York is now set to lead the way with the infrastructure in place to allow a successful channel to be deployed.

Broadcast views on city media prospects

Kersten England, chief executive of City of York Council, said: “I believe that York has both the audience appetite and the technical and creative ability to pioneer local television.”

The city now has some of the best studio and editing facilities in the UK, as well as a depth of creative talent led by York’s higher and further education establishments. With a strong sense of identity among local people and an additional audience of more than seven million visitors who come to York each year, the city is ideally placed to become an exemplar for local TV.”

Steve Hughes, managing editor of Newsquest York, said: “The idea of a TV station for York is tremendously exciting and something that The Press, the daily paper serving York and the surrounding area, would be very interested in getting involved in. We already shoot video for our website,, and advances in technology mean it would be very easy and reasonably low cost for a consortium or partnership to set up a multi media newsroom, incorporating TV, by making use of our existing editorial resource.”

Gillian Cruddas, chief executive of Visit York, said: “A York-based TV station would be viewable to a worldwide audience, there is real potential from a tourism point of view – from prospective visitors finding out more about York before they arrive, to visitors in the city viewing the channel in their hotel rooms. We fully support this proposal and wish the project every success.

Source: The Press