Barnstaple TV plans push forward

Ex-ITV cameramen Jan Stapley and Chris Harris are pushing for Barnstaple's own television station.

Ex-ITV cameramen Jan Stapley and Chris Harris are pushing for Barnstaple's own television station. - Credit: Archant

The duo behind the plans met with local businesses, charities and organisations to find out what local television could offer the area.

BUSINESS owners, charities and organisations met with the duo behind plans for North Devon’s own television station during a day of consultation.

Ex-ITV cameramen Chris Harris and Jan Stapley have been campaigning to set up Barnstaple TV since Ofcom started the local television licensing scheme in 2011.

Last month the Gazette reported Barnstaple was announced as one of the areas which will receive a local television licence in the second phase of the scheme.

Groups of around a dozen individuals at a time met with Chris and Jan throughout today (Thurs) to hear more about plans for the station and discuss what they wanted to see on it.

As part of the licence agreement the station would receive funding from the BBC licence fee until 2017 and would have to air two hours of local television a day.

With the licence covering 24 hours of broadcast, there would be opportunities for people to submit their own content.

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The television station will be broadcast on Freeview channel eight, and Chris said Petroc had shown an interest in potentially housing a studio for the station.

“When ITV Westcountry was showing content from Barnstaple every evening on the news the viewing figures were huge,” said Chris.

“This licence would cover 36,000 people with a potential 32,000 viewers.

“We hope that if we’re successful we can be on air by the third quarter of 2014.”

Representatives from Petroc were among those who attended the meetings.

Neil Hookway, director for resources at Petroc, said: “We were interested to hear about the plans for Barnstaple TV at the meeting on Thursday morning.

“It is clearly a new and interesting concept, which could have huge potential for the area.

“As a leading education provider in northern and mid Devon, it’s exciting to think it could open up opportunities for our students and the wider community in the future.”

The station hopes to cover a range of programmes from local football matches and surf competitions to news programmes and documentaries on local life.

It could also provide an outlet to ‘jazz up’ data such as the weather, car parking or road works, said Jan.

Everything will be archived online to attract a wider audience and allow viewers to catch up on programmes they have missed.

Barnstaple TV is hoping to host an open day for the public to give feedback on the idea in the near future before putting together a bid for the licence.

“We’re looking for people to get in touch with ideas and to speak to people with relevant skills who have worked in the industry,” said Chris.

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