|Owned by||Oxford Broadcasting (1999–2009)|
(a subsidiary of Milestone Group from 2001–2009)
|Formerly called||The Oxford Channel (1999–2001)|
Channel 29 (Fawley)
Channel 55 (Millbrook)
Six TV was the sixth free to air terrestrial television channel in the United Kingdom, broadcast in Oxford and Southampton. It was the final analogue network to have been launched after BBC One, BBC Two, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5. It operated under a set of Restricted Television Service Licences, broadcasting on UHF channel 47 in Oxford and channel 29 in Southampton. It was owned by Oxford Broadcasting, who launched the channel in 1999; Oxford Broadcasting was sold to Milestone Group in 2001, who closed all operations by April 2009.
Launch and expansion
Oxford Broadcasting was founded in 1998 by Debora and Thomas Harding, who both had worked at the award-winning Oxford-based video production company Undercurrents. They applied for a local television licence and were successful. They raised the capital to launch the station, set up a broadcast studio in an old nuclear bunker on Woodstock Road, and hired over 60 staff. From the beginning, the channel focused on local stories, particularly sports, business, arts, music and politics.
The Oxford Channel was launched on 6 June 1999. Within a few months, the station's programming had built a considerable following: over 25% of the potential audience of 500,000 watched each week.
Advertising for the station was produced by Tom, Dick and Debbie Productions, founded by Debora & Thomas Harding and Richard Lewis.
According to a Reuters Institute report, the channel "also had a strong training programme, which made formal in 2000 through the Local Television Training company that attracted government money to train unemployed young people from Oxford and taught them the skills of broadcast television. This scheme had a high success rate of placing trainees within the television industry."
In 2001, with the station financially broke, the board voted to sell the station and its operating company to Milestone Group. During this transition, most of the staff were laid off by Milestone, who also laid off the station's founders, though a small percentage of the staff remained.
Milestone gained further licences to broadcast in Southampton, Fawley, Reading and Portsmouth in 2003 after the re-advertising of the four-year contracts, and successfully renewed its contract to broadcast to Oxford. The station was re-branded as Six TV in anticipation of the launch of these services.
The channel broadcast a 24-hour service, seven days a week and featured numerous local programmes including a popular motoring show V6 presented by Chris Ford, as well as an interactive music program OX900, and wildlife series Wild, which was nominated for an RTS Award. It also introduced a children's section, local sports, and local news under the guidance of managing director, Nigel Taylor.
Six TV's licences to broadcast in Reading and Portsmouth were activated but the channel did not launch in those areas.
The channel's contract to broadcast was set to expire on 30 June 2007; however, Ofcom confirmed that all RSL licences would be extended until the 2012 digital switchover but gave no undertaking that a digital licence would be granted. Milestone concluded that the lack of digital licences rendered the stations non-viable and all channels had ceased broadcasting by April 2009, including the original Oxford channel.
- Document[permanent dead link], Milestone Group, UK.
- Mansfield, Roddy (24 July 2000). "TV that's right up your street". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
- Article Archived 30 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine, Oxford Mail
- Vozhdaeva, Oksana (2010). "The crisis in commercial regional TV: main challenges and possible solutions" (PDF). Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. pp. 49–50.
- Archived article, The Oxford Times 24 July 2000
- RTSL Archived 15 February 2006 at the Wayback Machine, Ofcom.
- Digital shake up turns off Six TV, Oxford Mail.