In his inaugural speech on the media and digital economy yesterday, new Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt tied his colours firmly to the local TV mast:
New York has six local TV stations – compared to London which has not one.
Birmingham Alabama, an example some of you may have heard me use before, has eight local TV stations – despite being a quarter the size of our Birmingham that, again, doesn’t even have one.
Paris, Lyon and Marseilles have local TV. Why not Glasgow, Sheffield and Bristol?
Unfortunately even as politicians have paid lip service to localism, our broadcasting ecology has pursued the polar opposite model – with a large proportion of news beamed shamelessly from the centre.
In his speech, Hunt said he would:
- stop plans for Independently Funded News Consortia;
- seek to relax cross-media ownership rules in local media;
- research into the viability of local TV stations in the UK would be carried out.
He also outlined plans for the roll out of superfast broadband in the UK. His speech is available in full at this link, but a Wordle of the top 50 words used gives an overview of his priorities for media: