- Issue 3
County Channel TV’s Dick Bower offers a taste of what’s to come on the small screen
A broadcasting revolution is about to be unleashed across Shropshire. The county is about to get its very own TV channel – the first of its kind in the UK. For entrepreneurs it’s a golden opportunity to promote and advertise their businesses and brands. For the community it’s the chance to watch high-quality programming made by, for and about local people.
County Channel TV will be online and on demand. People will watch when it suits them. And it’s coming to Shropshire first. It’s the brainchild of TV producer and cameraman, Geoff Ward, and entrepreneur and presenter Robert Harper.
According to Robert: “Shropshire certainly has some of the most beautiful countryside in Britain, but it also has a vibrant and dynamic business and social community that deserves a much bigger voice. That is exactly what County Channel TV is going to provide.”
The format is simple, and while it takes its cue from the burgeoning of internet television, the quality of the content and the on-demand viewing platform are much more in line with that of the BBC and its iPlayer service. There is a seismic shift in the way people watch television. Viewing habits have been totally transformed because people watch what they want, when they want.
“Viewers increasingly want flexibility, and that’s what we’re going to give them,” says Geoff, “and we intend to make broadcasting history in Shropshire when the channel launches fully on Saturday, September 15.”
Robert is sure about one thing. “People have very high expectations when they watch TV these days. With more and more use of high definition, today’s programmes look sharp and have to tell a great story. To give us the best chance of competing, were going for quality over quantity. And with Geoff having more than 20 years experience making high-end programming for all the UK’s major broadcasters, including the BBC’s One Show and Countryfile, we are doing just that. Plus we’re keeping our programmes short. We’re looking at about six-minute shows on average.”
“The great thing about on-demand is that people can watch on an internet-ready television, on their computer in their lunch break, or even on their phone or tablet on the bus. It’s there when you want it.”
Although the full launch isn’t until September, County Channel TV already has a number of programmes online to view right now, showcasing the great depth of understanding for the county and the capability in production that Robert and Geoff possess.
It’s not just quality that will be the hallmark of the programming, Geoff insists, it’s going to be entertaining as well. “We are ambitious. There’s no point in doing this at half speed. So we will show Shropshire as a great place to do business. It has a rich heritage, thriving arts and culture and it’s full of hardworking, talented people.”
There are already plans for a food programme that will visit the county’s small food producers, a tourism and leisure strand devoted to showcasing Shropshire’s many attractions such as Clun Castle and the Severn Valley Railway, a music series giving local talent the chance to reach a much wider audience, and a drama series in pre-production. “Shropshire also has a reputation for being home to many ‘green’ industries”, says Geoff. “We want to get that message across and that this is a great place for innovation. All our programming will be aimed at giving our great county a very positive image.”
Geoff and Robert also see County Channel TV becoming a valuable new player in driving the Shropshire economy. “This is going to be an important new platform for businesses to get their messages across. And we have a well-thought-out financial plan to stay on top. Income for the channel will come from sponsorship, and from straight advertising.”
What makes “County Channel TV” especially attractive to sponsors is that programming can be tailored to a client’s needs. For example, a builders’ merchant might sponsor a DIY series, a car showroom could sponsor a motoring series.
With the September launch approaching, “a broadcasting revolution is just a few weeks away,” says Robert.