York TV is on the air! Everything you need to know about city’s new television channel

Lord Mayor of York Cllr Barbara Boyce gets ready to read the news with the That's York team. L-R: Aaron Renfree (senior journalist), Matt Freckelton (company director), Abbie Walker (reporter), Anna Riley (duty editor), Elliot Gray (reporter). Photographs: YorkMix
23 Jul 2017 @ 6.34 pm
| Business

York has its own TV channel again.

That’s York is now broadcasting to the Greater York area via Freeview Channel 8.

To mark its official launch, the Lord Mayor of York Cllr Barbara Boyce toured the offices and studios base at York St John University, meeting the team behind the channel.

So what’s it all about? Here’s our guide to all you need to know about this new chapter in broadcasting.

What’s on telly?

The Lord Mayor sees the television channel’s gallery

“For now, we are focusing on delivering the best local news programme possible,” Matt Freckelton, That’s York company director, told YorkMix.

At the moment there is one programme: York Headline News, which goes out at 6pm each evening and then is repeated throughout the following day.

“This allows people to watch the news throughout the day by dropping in and out of it at a time that suits them without having to sit down at the same time each evening like traditional television,” Matt told us.

An early report on the Rippon Hornblower was used by the BBC on Facebook attracting more than 75K views, and was picked up by Sky News as well.

More shows to come

Cllr Boyce talks to the That’s York team in their York St John University offices

Under the terms of their eight-year licence from broadcasting regulator Ofcom, the channel has to provide seven hours of local programming per week.

It has to “often be made by the community, in the community and for the community. ”

Matt said new programmes are planned for the coming months. “Some of this content will be local and some of it will be national and group content.

“For example, we’re working with several local sports organisations at providing regular local sports coverage.

“We need to ensure that this content is high enough quality and can also be provided on a regular basis for sustained periods of time.”

Who are the team

Matt shows Cllr Boyce the York St John University TV studio, with Jonathan Greenwood (That’s York director) and Jenny Kean (media production director at York St John)

That’s York is a community interest company with a board of directors which includes Matt, Jonathan Greenwood, director of commercial services at the University of York, and Ben Tagg, a director of several media companies based in Hertfordshire.

It is owned by That’s TV, a limited company which owns 11 local TV licences around the country.

That’s York has five journalists. “We are based within the TV department at York St John University next to their new newsroom, so we expect there to be a lot of cross collaboration and working opportunities together,” Matt says.

How to tune in

The team with the Lord Mayor, caught on the studio monitor

That’s TV York broadcasts on Freeview channel 8. You may need to re-tune your TV to see it. There are three steps…

Step 1 – Press ‘menu’ on your remote

Step 2 – Select ‘set up’, ‘installation’ or ‘update’. If asked for a password, the default code is ‘0000’ or ‘1234′

Step 3 – Select the ‘full retune’, ‘factory reset’ or ‘default settings’ option. This will clear the existing settings and find the new channel line up. If prompted, save the channels that are found

Questions and answers

The Lord Mayor Cllr Barbara Boyce tries out the newsreader’s desk

Didn’t York have its own TV station before?

Yes, York TV – or [email protected] to give the official title – was launched in 2003. Broadcasting from Askham Bryan its schedule included news, arts and politics shows.

It was still officially on air in 2011, but by then most of the staff had left and it was mostly airing repeats.

How did the new channel come about?

The new era of local TV was launched by then Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt. The first station went on air in Grimsby in November 2013.

That same month a consortium including City of York Council and One&Other were awarded the local TV licence for York by broadcasting regulator Ofcom. It had the working title The York Channel and was due to go on air in autumn 2014.

So what happened?

In 2014 The York Channel released a film about Terry’s as an example of the programming it was expecting to air. It also ran a competition for a new name for the channel with a £1,000 first prize.

In July 2014 then One&Other boss Stuart Goulden resigned from the board of the York Channel, citing “creative differences”.

“The original consortium stayed involved as per the commitments made as part of the application to Ofcom,” says That’s York company director Matt Freckelton.

“This did change over time as it became aware that the launch would be delayed due to work being carried on the transmitter.

“Technically, we could have gone live a few years back but no one would have been able to pick us up.

“We then started a very long process of finding a new transmitter site and getting the various permissions from the relevant organisations including Ofcom and Digital UK.

“We were able to secure a new transmitter site behind Askham Bryan College and the transmitter installation work was completed in Q4 of 2016.

“From that point on to going live on June 26th has been quite a short process.”

The new transmitter for That’s York TV. Photograph: Matt Freckelton

Who is the new licence holder?

For a while the project was called Hello York. But in October 2016 That’s TV Ltd bought the licence, and the channel was renamed That’s York.

That’s TV also owns the licence for That’s North Yorkshire, based in Scarborough, which is not yet on air.

How is it funded?

A lot of public funding has been invested in That’s York. Money from the BBC licence fee has gone towards the capital start up costs.

These included the new transmitter, which was built in Spain and shipped over and installed near York earlier this year.

The channel also won a “significant grant” from government body the Technology Strategy Board.

The BBC is also committed to paying up to £300K for content from the new channel over its first three years.

That’s York will also be selling adverts to local companies.

Who is That’s York aimed at?

The residents of York and the surrounding area – more than 300,000 people live within the area that can receive That’s York.

Other local TV channels across the country “all easily achieve a weekly viewing audience of between 25%-35% of the total potential viewing population” Matt said.

He added: “The TV channel will act as a mirror on the city of York reflecting all the news, events and social gatherings taking place in the city.

“We want to show and highlight all the great work charities and community groups and the contributions they make to the city.”

How can you get involved?

“People can get involved by emailing us on [email protected] or by phone on 01904 639700.”