Online news organisation, Bay TV, has launched a digital television channel which will be beamed into thousands of homes across Merseyside.
The company, which was established in 2011, as an Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) will now broadcast daily from 6am to 11pm on Freeview channel 8 and Virgin Media channel 159 .
It will also be available in homes regionally, from Wigan to Chester after its premiere transmission last Thursday. The organisation will broadcast a range of news, entertainment, music and sport as well as arts and culture.
Bay TV chief executive Chris Johnson told JMU Journalism: “We are very confident, it’s a unique network, it’s very different from any channel in the electronic programme guide- it’s the only local broadcaster available, so it’ll be relevant to the audience.”
The station, which was awarded its local digital television licence in February last year will also provide news content for the BBC after receiving support from the network as part of the 2010 license fee settlement where the broadcaster pledged to provide funding for the government’s local television policy.
Johnson also spoke of the different challenges from changing from an online outlet to a television channel: “It’s been a complete re-change. In our online presence we set our own deadlines, so we didn’t have any real hard deadlines but with television there are some really hard targets.
“We have a schedule to fill. If it’s not ready at 5am it doesn’t get broadcast and then that gives us an issue with dead air – it gives us that drive not to have any. It’s been thrilling. It has been a combination of intense work, enormous frustration and many highs and lows. It’s a reward after three years of hard slog.”
Johnson said he has been grateful for the congratulatory messages on various social media websites and emails from people who have tuned in so far.
He also said he was pleased with the signal reception in Chester, with the channel being able to reach more homes in the area than was first expected and potentially increase audience numbers.
However it will be the New Year before the channel gets a ‘snapshot’ of viewing figures. In March 2015 market researchers will carry out an intensive survey and analysis of viewing figures.