Cambridge TV channel put up for sale to enable mayoral bid

A buyer is being sought for Cambridge's one year old local TV station to enable the current owner to fulfill his political ambitions.

Cambridge TV owner Dr Peter Dawes OBE told Cambridge News that "several potential bidders" had been identified for the channel, which is broadcast on Freeview channel 7 and Virgin channel 159 across the city and surrounding area.

Under strict broadcasting rules, Dr Dawes is unable to stand for the role of Mayor of Cambridgeshire while still in ownership of the Cambridge local TV service. Rules to ensure commercial broadcasters are independent of political control date back to the 1950s, when the newly formed ITV companies had to set up an independent news organisation (ITN) to supply the news for the network to mitigate against potential political bias from the owners of the ITV companies.

Of Cambridge TV, Dr Dawes went on to say that he expects the channel to be "absorbed into one of the local TV chains", heightening speculation that the channel could be sold to Made TV or That's TV, who both have a portfolio of local TV channels across the country.

The sale comes at a time when local TV operators look set to consolidate further, with local channels increasingly sharing output, relaying programmes from third-party channels and reducing the originally agreed quotas for local output as stipulated in their Ofcom licences.

Bay TV Liverpool fell into administration this week, while other local TV channels have thus far failed to make it on air. However, Cambridge TV, which celebrated its first year on air this month, has remained modestly successful, producing 12 hours of local programming a week.

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