Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced more details today of the new TV channel devoted to local news and information which, he hopes, “will help hold local authorities and other public service providers to account”.
Prepare for the flood-gates to open! Hell hath no fury like local citizens who believe themselves victims of public servants, and here they will have a perfect platform. Inevitably short of news, the local TV stations will be very quick to give them air-time.
But it won’t stop there. Local businesses and tradesmen should beware. Local websites (see, for example, chiswickw4.com) already encourage residents to deliver frank verdicts on everyone from restaurateurs to plumbers.
These new channels will be fighting for viewers…and sponsorship. They will offer much more than What’s On diaries and local sports results. And each good story uncovered will be offered straight to regional and national broadcasters.
The broadcasting will inevitably be under-funded and rough round the edges. But those in public office and in business who dismiss it may pay a high price. Literally.