Charity TV station lands licence

A charity on the Isle of Wight has secured a licence to run the UK's first not-for-profit television station.

Solent TV, a subsidiary of volunteering and training charity Island Volunteers, will begin broadcasting in October to all terrestrial viewers on the Isle of Wight. The station was awarded a four-year "restricted service licence" by TV body the Independent Television Commission.

Although Solent TV is not-for-profit, it will generate revenue through advertising and sponsorship. Any surpluses will be given to the parent charity Island Volunteers to support its work as a volunteer bureau, trainer and consultant to community groups.

There are 26 restricted service operators in the UK which broadcast to local areas on unused analogue frequencies, but this is the first time that this type of licence has been awarded to a not-for-profit company.

Solent TV was chosen in preference to the current for-profit broadcaster for the island, TV12 Limited, which had re-applied for the licence.

In awarding the licence, the Independent Television Commission cited the "localness and community involvement

of Solent TV's programme proposals and said the new station's output would appeal to all sections of the community as well as visitors to the island.

Phil Truckel, head of DV Media, a trading subsidiary of Island Volunteers that will run the station, said: "Over time and as the station grows and gathers momentum, it is envisaged that Solent TV and the Isle of Wight will be regarded as a pioneer for not-for-profit broadcasting. There is such a lot of national interest in our proposals - we want the Island to be seen as a trailblazer,

said Truckel.

Solent TV will broadcast 24-hours a day and buy in programmes from other production companies as well as making its own in-house shows.

Island Volunteers was established as a registered charity in 1993. It now employs more than 75 people, has an annual turnover of ?xA3;1 million and owns several limited companies, overseen by the same board of volunteer trustees.

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