Former Mirror man Richard Horwood makes local TV bid – but is it really local?

Richard Horwood, once a director of Trinity Mirror, now at Blink TV and a former sidekick of Kelvin McKenzie at Live TV!, has made the first serious bid to start a local TV network in the UK, a key part of culture secretary Jeremy Hunt’s broadcast plans.

Horwood’s proposed Channel 6 will be a national network with local affiliates who will run local programming (and advertising he hopes) some of the time. It sounds quite a good idea, similar to many operations in the US, but it’s not really local is it?

Establishing a new TV station in the UK is an expensive and fraught business, as Five’s former owner Bertelsmann can attest. As the costs mount and media agencies prove strangely reluctant to entrust their clients’ money to such ventures, something has to give. And in this case it would surely be the local bit.

Hunt has set aside £25m from the BBC licence fee to pay for his local vision but that won’t stretch very far although he is making some valuable broadcast spectrum, currently used by analogue TV and due to be switched off by 2012 available.

As to what programming we might expect from Channel 6 it’s probably best not to remind ourselves (and Hunt) of the halcyon heyday of Mirror-owned Live TV!

Under the irrepressible direction of former Sun editor McKenzie it featured Topless Darts and as much soft porn as McKenzie could smuggle into it.

Perhaps there’ll be a national Topless Darts competition featuring local competitors in regional heats?

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.