Channel for local govt goes on air

A television channel dedicated to local government has launched on Sky and over the web.

The Local Government Channel is produced by HBL Media, the agency behind the Local Government Association's (LGA) conference channel LGAtv.

Additional support is to be provided from local government trade publication The MJ.

Overseeing the project is HBL CEO Stephen Horn. 'This channel will bring together best practice and news. We are trying to capture the spirit of innovation,' he said.

Presenting the channel is Sky News anchor and BBC journalist Sarah Lockett.  The first programme last week featured an interview with LGA chief executive Sir Brian Briscoe. 'We will be dealing with the big issues in local government, such as the reform of the Comprehensive Performance Assessment,' added Horn. 'We are using TV to make it interesting and lively for people.'

Half-hour programmes will be broadcast daily at 6.30pm and at midday on Sundays. HBL hopes to generate an audience of 20,000 by Christmas and is primarily targeting senior officers and councillors.

Horn has also asked local government PROs to provide news for the channel and to give feedback. 'We want this to be a two-way street and for people to tell us what they think,' he said.

Previous attempts to launch a dedicated public sector channel have been unsuccessful. Dktv (A Different Kind of TV) launched
in September 2001, funded by a conglomerate of public sector organisations. The biggest donor was The Housing Corporation, which gave £500,000 to the interactive digital channel. The operation eventually ran out of funding ten months later.

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