Ofcom: Three channels fell short of delivering local TV

A local TV station has been found in breach of its licence commitments after it was off air for over three months.

The service for Central Scotland, now operated by That's TV, was off-air from the end of June 2018 until early October 2018. It followed the transfer of programmes from former licence holder STV to That's TV.

Unlike other channels that have recently changed ownership and stayed on air throughout, such as Trace Music's channels following their acquisition from Sony, That's TV told Ofcom the over three month downtime was "extremely difficult to avoid". 

As Ofcom found That's TV under-delivered its Programming Commitment of first-run local programming and repeated news and current affairs programming, Ofcom found the Licensee in breach of licence condition 5(1) of its Licence.

Most of what constitutes 'local programming commitments' on local TV channels are local news, current affairs and magazine programmes. That's TV now broadcasts a three hour strand of local news on its stations between 6pm and 9pm on weeknights, followed by a simulcast of the CBS Reality channel.

Meanwhile, local channels Sheffield Live TV and Maidstone's KMTV service were also found guilty today of broadcasting fewer local programmes than they signed up to provide during Ofcom's audit of local TV output for 2018.  For Sheffield Live TV, it was the second year in a row that it fell short of its requirements, failing to broadcast at least 1,579.5 hours of local first-run programmes shown in peak evening hours throughout the year. The channel has recently sought to reduce its programme commitments, in a move approved by Ofcom.

KMTV fell short of its target by two hours a week. It told Ofcom "that this is a significant failure in its responsibility to scrutinise…and ensure its filings to Ofcom were accurate on the measure of programming hours”. KMTV confirmed that they will "undertake a more detailed review of its procedures to prevent a recurrence", but told Ofcom it had "already made a number of changes to their processes."