Is there genuine competition for Hereward Media and its services?

Alex J Geairns

Broadcasting has begun to centralise into the key cities of the United Kingdom. While community radio does what it can to bring new voices to its wavebands, does Local TV in our area have any competition?

For this to be considered, we must look at our broadcast footprint area, specifically the Peterborough conurbation and the Fenlands.

In terms of local broadcasting on television, the BBC has very few local opt-out services from what is being broadcast nationally - these include news bulletins and the BBC1 magazine format 'Inside Out', which has different editions for different regions.

ITV's Anglia service is restricted to only news bulletins, being opt-outs from the national feed.

Looking to radio, which could address some of the local agenda for our region, Heart FM's Peterborough service broadcasts from Cambridge (38 miles away), while Connect FM's Peterborough service broadcasts from Northampton (43 miles away). BBC Radio Cambridgeshire broadcasts three times a week from studios in central Peterborough, for up to three hours a day.

Peterborough has two community radio services which were granted FM licences in June 2015 to broadcast in a 5km footprint from the City centre - PCR Radio, formerly Peterborough FM (general audience) and Salaam Radio (for the Muslim community).

In terms of local news, current affairs and entertainment, the footprints of the national broadcasters BBC and ITV are much larger than that for Hereward Television, which means the news services they provide cover Peterborough and the Fenlands only very occasionally, as they have a much wider geography to serve.

Heart FM and Connect FM have the disadvantage of being a large distance away for local coverage - their studio bases are not even near the Hereward Television broadcast footprint. BBC Radio Cambridgeshire and PCR Radio are perhaps the only competitors with any crossover at all, and then they are radio and we are television. Certainly, news, current affairs and other local stories will, by their very nature, be covered in a totally different manner. It should be noted that the set-up of Local TV with the BBC in general sees the potential of close working, and even the provision by Local TV services of content for the BBC to output. Therefore, with this very core principle in place, there should be no thought of rivalry.

Niche

Hereward Media is a training provider which through an ancillary Local TV station will provide a mixture of genuinely local content and special interest formats which reflect the landscape of the region. By engaging the citizens of our area, we will provide the tools to create programmes which reflect their interests and views, for the benefit of others around them, while enhancing their own social skills and specialist knowledge. With almost no competition in the television marketplace within our region, we are an essential foundation in building up a greater sense of community and pride within the Peterborough conurbation and the Fenlands.