18th September 2022
The main aims of this Website are to ensure that all viewers of Regional TV who live in Cumbria, Lancashire and the Isle of Man have much more localised and geographic-appropriate Regional TV News-coverage. For viewers in Lancashire and Cumbria that is for a North West England-flavoured Regional TV News-service that covers the 70% of the geographical area of North West England that extends north of a line from Southport to Rochdale. For the Isle of Man it is for that small nation-state to have it’s own Isle of Man TV service, which countries of similar size (like the Faroe Islands) have.
The new North West England Regional TV News-service would cover Lancashire and Cumbria, with 40% coverage devoted to Cumbria and 10% total news-coverage devoted to overlap coverage- of Greater Manchester/ Merseyside and Cheshire to the south; western West Yorkshire, western North Yorkshire and western County Durham to the east; and Northumberland/ Newcastle and southern Scotland to the north. That would provide much more localised coverage whilst recognising the changes in affiliation to major regional centres from south to north across what is a large geographical area. Locations at the edge of this largely rural area would also benefit from the overlap zone and would get good all-round local news-coverage.
For the Isle of Man, a new Isle of Man TV News-service will provide news just about the Isle of Man for Manx viewers, with occasional coverage of other locations only insofar as it relates to the Isle of Man (i.e., a dock strike at Heysham port or a storm in the Irish Sea that could affect fishing boats).
This is what the Isle of Man and Cumbria/ Lancashire need: Local communities informed about important happenings in their area so that people can make informed decisions in real time. Of course northern and central Cumbria have ITV Border Lookaround that covers Cumbria very well, but none of the rest of this large area enjoys the high degree of localised coverage that they need from either BBC North West Tonight or ITV Granada Reports. And the BBC does not serve northern Cumbria very well with its Regional TV broadcast from Newcastle-upon-Tyne providing over 80% news about North East England!
ACHIEVING BETTER REGIONAL TV FOR THE NORTHERN NORTH WEST OF ENGLAND AND THE ISLE OF MAN
The methods of achieving better Regional TV for the two million folk who live in Lancashire, Cumbria and on the Isle of Man will mainly involve this Website raising awareness of the issues around Regional TV coverage for the northern two-thirds of England and on the Isle of Man. This Website will then provide folk with the means to challenge their Regional TV News-providers which serve their communities and to follow that up with communication to their Constituency MPs should the main North West Regional TV News- services not respond favourably to viewers’ requirements.
Once this Website has a following of over five-hundred followers, a critical mass that means Regional TV News-producers take notice once that number of folk are writing in and complaining to their MPs about the lack of Regional TV News-coverage getting North of Preston, then it will be possible to proceed further. Putting further real pressure on the producers of programmes such as BBC1 North West Tonight and ITV Granada Reports will require other tactics that only a high number of followers and campaigners could really produce: These include the following:
- Writing in en-masse urging programmers at ITV Border’s Lookaround to switch North Lancashire and all South Cumbria out of the ITV Granada Region to the ITV Border Region on the grounds that “Lancaster, Morecambe, Garstang, Millom, Ulverston, etc., have more affiliation with Cumbria and the Lake District than to Greater Manchester and Merseyside and the Scottish Border is closer than South Cheshire!”
- Organising day protests to go down to Media City to demand “We don’t want mostly Manchester and Liverpool news, we want Lancashire and Cumbria news!”
- For the Isle of Man, a mass writing to the Manx Parliament and the Chief Minister of the Isle of Man urging the Manx Government to put aside funds enabling a Manx-only TV News service to be set up, run and then made self-financing as a Community enterprise.
- Seeking out, and encouraging others to seek out on a grand scale local TV News-services like That’s TV Lancashire and That’s TV Cumbria (available on Freeview Channels 7 and 8 respectively). These are not widely and easily available in North Lancashire and South Cumbria so this Website will encourage folk to write to these That’s TV Local services so that both That’s TV Lancashire and That’s TV Cumbria are both available between Preston and Kendal. This is to enable viewers to easily boycott the mainstream North West Regional TV News-services and find something more local and geographic-appropriate.
- Politically, through uniting with Regional Party figures to ensure that Regional TV receives a higher proportion of GDP in proportion to it’s Local and Regional Public Service in informing and warning local communities about important developments on Television in real time, so that folk can make informed decisions. Although the author of this Website is no socialist, it is noted that it is quite likely that parties of the Left are more sympathetic to the argument for higher Public spending on Regional TV (even though this is not something that should be funded out of taxation). This is something for which there must be political pressure for, to forestall the real possibility that (with Recession combined with high Inflation looking imminent in September 2022) both the BBC and ITV.Plc will look to cut Regional News budgets in future to save money!
The aim of all these measures is not only put direct pressure on the North West Regional TV News- services to cover the northern 70% of geographical North West England and the Isle of Man better through complaints procedures, pressure from local MPs etc., but to weaken the stranglehold that both BBC North West Tonight and ITV Granada Reports have. Almost seven million potential viewers in North West England- from Crewe up to South Cumbria- believe that these are the best Regional TV News-services on offer. Viewers in Lancashire may be unaware of the existence of That’s TV Lancashire (Freeview Channel 7, week-days at 6.pm). Viewers in North Lancashire may not believe that they can get ITV Border Lookaround and, thinking it provides mainly Scottish news, would never realise it largely covers Cumbria and that there’s a lot of coverage of locations just north of them that they would never get from BBC North West Tonight or ITV Granada Reports.
If large numbers of viewers know that other local TV news-services exist, or that a combination of Local/ adjacent Regional TV News-services provides better all-round local news-coverage for their communities, that weakens the monopoly that BBC North West and ITV Granada have on those viewers. If the mainstream North West Regional TV News-producers then find out that large numbers of their more northern viewers have other places to go- that will greatly increase the pressure on them to provide opt-outs- or even new BBC North West and BBC Isle of Man TV Regions. The fear of losing large numbers of viewers to competition (and potentially losing revenue in the process) is a strong motivator! That is, ultimately, how the objective of much better- and more localised- Regional TV News for Lancashire, Cumbria and also the Isle of Man will be achieved.
In order to get the Campaign followers, it will be necessary to gain greater publicity for this Campaign across northern North West England and on the Isle of Man. Advertising will play a part, but once a significant number of followers has been obtained they will be encouraged to spread the word by word of mouth. Other options, such as Crowdfunding and using platforms such as 38 degrees will be looked into- to raise more finance to advertise the Campaign.