TV channel on its way for Peterborough

Alex Geairns
Alex Geairns
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Peterborough is on its way to having its own TV channel which will be based inside the Broadway Theatre.

Hereward Television will begin broadcasting in the autumn, starting one night a week on YouTube before progressing towards having its own channel on Freeview.

A number of shows are already in the planning stage, ranging from entertainment, arts, religion, sport, lifestyle and news.

Station director Alex Geairns (53) said: “The reason you are tuning in is it’s a grassroots TV station created by your fellow citizens with an aspect that’s directly speaking to you. It’s not beamed from London or Manchester. It’s talking your language, it’s of interest to you and your neighbours.

“We are going to go live with as many shows as we can. That may sound dangerous but the benefit of going live is if audience interaction suits the particular format, we can get the input in real time.

“We want to take the television station out live to where you live so you can feel part of it.

“Local is the key. It may feature national stories but it will be local voices talking about those particular things. You find out what Bretton reckons to the latest release at the cinema. You find out what Whittlesey is thinking to gigs and shows in the city centre.”

Hereward Television will be based inside offices at the Broadway, which is now under new management, and will begin with a couple of paid staff.

The channel will also operate as a training facility for everyone from school leavers to baby boomers, providing them with skills in presenting, writing, coding and producing video content which they will use on the broadcasts.

Money will be largely raised from advertisements, grants and donations.

Alex, of Whittlesey, said: “Our model is following the community radio model. It’s a very successful format all over the UK for the simple reason that it’s primarily driven by volunteers.

“And as a charitable organisation we are providing them with skills which can be transferred to a host of other jobs.”

Local TV stations are common around the country, with Cambridge, Nottingham and Norwich having their own channels.

Alex also has experience in the industry, having produced and presented the show On the Edge for Sky channel Controversial TV.

In addition, he has spent time in community radio, formatting and fronting several shows, and he directed and fronted the annual Cult TV Festival from 1994 to 2007.

Mark Ringer, managing director of the Broadway, said: “As is the case with our own plans for the rest of the venue, it will mean making best use of everything that the Broadway has to offer. Giving a home to Hereward Media demonstrates various aspects of our community-based ethos.”