Solent TV

Solent TV was an independent not-for-profit television channel broadcasting on the Isle of Wight. It was transmitted from the Rowridge transmitter on the Isle of Wight on UHF channel 54 (735.25 MHz). It began broadcasting in October 2002 but ceased trading on 24 May 2007.

Solent TV
Solent TV logo
Launched31 October 2002
Closed24 May 2007
Owned byIsland Volunteers Group
Availability at time of closure
Terrestrial
AnalogueChannel 54 (735.25 MHz) from Rowridge (Isle of Wight)
Satellite
SkyChannel 219
Cable
WightCableBasic channel

Launch onto Sky Digital platform

After a false start in March 2006, the channel launched on the Sky satellite platform (channel 219) on 15 January 2007, just a few months before it ceased broadcasting altogether.

To enable the transition to Sky, Solent TV worked with Sony Broadcast and Broadcast Networks to upgrade Solent TV's technical infrastructure to digital and HD technology. The new equipment included a new Sony XDCAM HD camera system, allowing Solent TV to create all new footage on this format; an HD-ready media server and media management system from Suitcase TV; a Miranda X-Station HD-ready playout system and the new Miranda Kaleido multiview system for playout. To link Solent TV to the Sky platform, a new Broadcast Networks H264 encoder system was used to provide the live link to Globecast, who in turn provided the uplink to Sky.

Until the Sky launch, the channel's content was streamed live in Windows Media format, as well as a collection of video on demand files such as the channel's news programme 'Solent Tonight'. Shortly after the Sky launch the live web stream ceased, and although the on-demand service continued, it was via Flash video format.

Local programming

  • Solent Tonight – The nightly weekday news programme covering news, sport and weather on the Island.
  • Extra Extra – This weekly debate programme allowed members of the public to quiz Isle of Wight Council members and other leading figures on current Isle of Wight issues.
  • Hannam's Half Hour – Well loved entertainment guru John Hannam was joined for chat and insight into the life of a long list of local guests including former leader of the IOW council Morris Barton, Shaw Taylor and Ray Allen.
  • Painting On Location – Professional Isle of Wight artist Frank Jacobs took local amateurs to one of the Island's beauty spots, guiding them to achieve the best from their passion for painting.
  • Destination Isle of Wight – Isle of Wight promotion to the rest of the UK and Europe as a great holiday destination.
  • Solent TV Local Pin Board – Local community information for the Isle of Wight. Promoting worthwhile causes and charities free of charge.
  • Big Al Unleashed – A very popular programme featuring a simulcast of an Isle of Wight Radio phone-in show hosted by Alex Dyke.

Website

The website carried a news and sports service for the Isle of Wight.

The TV station's web site was by 2007 claimed by the station to be receiving over 350,000 unique visits every month. In a BBC report following the station's closure, it was revealed the station claimed it had 70,000 peak time viewers at any one time, although the company earlier in the year said it could not produce viewing figures as it was not on BARB.

Criticism

Despite its success, Solent TV was not without its detractors. While its TV and online news coverage on the Isle of Wight was professionally produced and popular, and the station broadcast many local programmes; it also included inexpensive imported output such as Futbol Mundial and classic films. Its unsuccessful predecessor, TV 12, featured almost entirely Isle of Wight-based programmes.

Many critics felt that the station concentrated too heavily on its news output and lost sight of its finances.[1]

Solent TV was positively reviewed by the Guardian TV reviewer Charlie Brooker who said "Solent TV is strikingly confident. Brash, even. It's just like an ITV region circa 1989."[2]

Financial issues

The company's publicly available bank details revealed it lost almost £1,000,000 in the 2006 financial year, more than double its losses in 2005.

Prior to the stations closure, Solent TV director Linda Ovnik stated the station "had not received as much as a 10p piece in public funding".[3] The parent companies of Solent TV were largely funded by public or charitable money and it was suggested at the time of the collapse that this money was used to support Solent TV.[1]

After the station folded, Isle of Wight MP Andrew Turner said he would raise the matter with ministers, and called on the Charity Commissioners to investigate Island Volunteers, the parent company of Solent TV.[4]

In September 2007, several former Solent TV staff – who lost their jobs when the station went bust – won a tribunal hearing for £17,000 for breach of contract after their contracts were terminated without notice.[5]

Shutdown

At the start of 2007, the station was losing several thousand pounds a month but had said that it was on course to reduce its losses dramatically since its move to Sky and the dramatic increase in revenue should have taken it into profit by 2008. A few months later station director Linda Ovnik told the Isle of Wight County Press that the station was "desperately seeking investors".[6] A statement on the Solent TV website on 24 May 2007 read:

Solent TV will stop broadcasting tonight Thursday 24 May 2007 as the company ceases trading because it’s insolvent.
The channel, which started terrestrial transmissions on the Isle of Wight in October 2002, expanded across Europe on the Sky satellite network in January 2007. Financial problems four months later mean company directors have decided to shut down the TV station despite talks with potential investors. Solent TV’s sister organisations, Island Volunteers, Community Solutions and DV Media, are also ceasing to trade. All employees are being made redundant.

Solent TV's final programme was a shorter-than-normal edition of the local news programme, Solent Tonight.

References

  1. ^ a b Holmes, David (1 June 2007). Isle of Wight County Press. Isle of Wight County Press. p. 16. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ Brooker, Charlie (17 March 2007). "Charlie Brooker's Screen burn: Mar 17". the Guardian.
  3. ^ UK Press Gazette. UK Press Gazette. 30 March 2007. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ "What happened to £2.3 million of our money? MP asks". Isle of Wight County Press. Isle of Wight County Press. 7 September 2007. p. 1.
  5. ^ "Solent TV staff win £17000 contract claim". Isle of Wight County Press. Isle of Wight County Press. 21 September 2007. p. 21.
  6. ^ "TV station 'desperate' for cash". Isle of Wight County Press. Isle of Wight County Press. 25 May 2007. p. 7.

External links

2002 in British television

This is a list of British television related events from 2002.

Alex Dyke

Alex Dyke (born 19 February 1962) is an English Sony Radio Academy Award-winning broadcaster, radio presenter, and disc jockey on BBC Radio Solent.

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Culture of the Isle of Wight

As an island, the Isle of Wight maintains a culture close to, but distinct from, that of the south of England. A high proportion of the population are now 'overners' rather than locally born, and so with a few notable exceptions it has more often formed the backdrop for cultural events of wider rather than island-specific significance.

The Island has inspired many creative works. Local people often seek to defend their real or perceived culture, and local politics is often dictated by a desire to preserve the traditions and habits of the Island.

The first creative flowering occurred during the reign of Queen Victoria, under whose patronage the island became a fashionable destination for the gentry.

Island Line (brand)

Island Line is a brand of the South Western Railway train operating company which runs the ​8 1⁄2-mile Island Line on the Isle of Wight. A stand-alone franchise from 1996 until 2007, it then became part of the South Western franchise operated by South West Trains until August 2017 and since by South Western Railway.

Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight (; also referred to informally as The Island or abbreviated to IoW) is a county and the largest and second-most populous island in England. It is in the English Channel, between 2 and 5 miles off the coast of Hampshire, separated by the Solent. The island has resorts that have been holiday destinations since Victorian times, and is known for its mild climate, coastal scenery, and verdant landscape of fields, downland and chines. The island is designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

The island has been home to the poets Swinburne and Tennyson and to Queen Victoria, who built her much-loved summer residence and final home Osborne House at East Cowes. It has a maritime and industrial tradition including boat-building, sail-making, the manufacture of flying boats, the hovercraft, and Britain's space rockets. The island hosts annual music festivals including the Isle of Wight Festival, which in 1970 was the largest rock music event ever held. It has well-conserved wildlife and some of the richest cliffs and quarries for dinosaur fossils in Europe.

The isle was owned by a Norman family until 1293 and was earlier a kingdom in its own right. In common with the Crown dependencies, the British Crown was then represented on the island by the Governor of the Isle of Wight until 1995. The island has played an important part in the defence of the ports of Southampton and Portsmouth, and been near the front-line of conflicts through the ages, including the Spanish Armada and the Battle of Britain. Rural for most of its history, its Victorian fashionability and the growing affordability of holidays led to significant urban development during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Historically part of Hampshire, the island became a separate administrative county in 1890. It continued to share the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire until 1974, when it was made its own ceremonial county. Apart from a shared police force, there is now no administrative link with Hampshire, although a combined local authority with Portsmouth and Southampton was considered, this is now unlikely to proceed.The quickest public transport link to the mainland is the hovercraft from Ryde to Southsea; three vehicle ferry and two catamaran services cross the Solent to Southampton, Lymington and Portsmouth.

List of former TV channels in the United Kingdom

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Restricted Service Licence

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Rowridge transmitting station

The Rowridge transmitting station is a facility for FM radio and television transmission at Rowridge on the Isle of Wight in southern England.

It currently has a 172 metres (564 ft) tall guyed mast, owned and operated by Arqiva (previously National Grid Wireless). There is a smaller tower on the site belonging to British Telecom. Prior to Digital Switchover (DSO) the station broadcast with a power of 250 kW (ERP) for FM radio, 500 kW for analogue television, and 20 kW for digital television. In July 2007, Ofcom confirmed that Rowridge would remain an A Group transmitter at Digital switchover; the digital television transmission signal was then boosted to 200 kW. From March 2018 MUXES 7 & 8 moved out of the A group to channels 55 & 56, though these are due to be turned off between 2020 and 2022.

Rowridge is one of only two main transmitters (the other is the rather smaller transmitter of Rosneath in Scotland) to broadcast its output on both horizontal and vertical polarities. Only the main 6 MUXES are transmitted in vertical polarity.

The reason for this dual polarity transmission is to give a second option to those experiencing co-channel interference from transmitters on the continent.

Analogue Channel 5 was not transmitted from Rowridge but was broadcast (at 10 kW) from Fawley Power Station, with the antenna located on the main chimney. Transmissions all fitted within the A group and were horizontally polarised. On 25 March 2009, Channel 5's analogue signal was turned off from Fawley Power Station, due to the digital switchover in the neighbouring Westcountry region.

Population coverage for the main four analogue channels was about 1.75 million.

South East England

South East England is the most populous of the nine official regions of England at the first level of NUTS for statistical purposes. It consists of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, East Sussex, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxfordshire, Surrey and West Sussex. As with the other regions of England, apart from Greater London, the south east has no elected government.

It is the third largest region of England, with an area of 19,096 km2 (7,373 sq mi), and is also the most populous with a total population of over eight and a half million (2011). The headquarters of the region's governmental bodies are in Guildford, and the region contains seven cities: Brighton and Hove, Canterbury, Chichester, Oxford, Portsmouth, Southampton and Winchester, though other major settlements include Reading, Medway and Milton Keynes. Its proximity to London and connections to several national motorways have led to South East England becoming an economic hub, with the largest economy in the country outside the capital. It is the location of Gatwick Airport, the UK's second-busiest airport, and its coastline along the English Channel provides numerous ferry crossings to mainland Europe.

The region is known for its countryside, which includes the North Downs and the Chiltern Hills as well as two national parks: the New Forest and the South Downs. The River Thames flows through the region and its basin is known as the Thames Valley. It is also the location of a number of internationally known places of interest, such as HMS Victory in Portsmouth, Cliveden in Buckinghamshire, Thorpe Park and RHS Wisley in Surrey, Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, Windsor Castle in Berkshire, Leeds Castle, the White Cliffs of Dover and Canterbury Cathedral in Kent, Brighton Pier and Hammerwood Park in East Sussex, and Wakehurst Place in West Sussex. The region has many universities; the University of Oxford is ranked among the best in the world.

South East England is host to various sporting events, including the annual Henley Royal Regatta, Royal Ascot and The Derby, and sporting venues include Wentworth Golf Club and Brands Hatch. Some of the events of the 2012 Summer Olympics were held in the south east, including the rowing at Eton Dorney and part of the cycling road race in the Surrey Hills.

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