London's media are waiting with bated breath for the end of February when the TV regulatory board OFCOM will award the highly coveted Local London TV licence to one of 5 bidders. The five are London8, LondonTV (the Channel 6 Consortium), London Live, Made in London and YourTV London.
The majority of the local TV licences across the UK were dished out before Christmas but London is still awaiting the final decision. Alas the delay means the new London station probably won't be on air until early 2014.
I've been taking a look at the 5 competitors - one of which I am a part of. Clearly you're thinking, 'well if you're involved with one then that's the one you're backing'. Yes that's true. But I came to the game late in the day and scrutinized all the bidders before throwing my hat in with the one that I feel best represents my city.
As you all know I am a die-hard lover of London and all that it has to offer. I believe that a local London TV channel should engage, inform, educate and deliver a local flavour where London's communities are involved in making the content, not just being preached to like all the other channels do. All TV stations currently dictate their points of view politically and socially. TV should reflect society in a very real way and as we do know, much of it doesn't.
They're all good, no doubt about that, but I am a part of the YOURTV bid because it most closely represents what Londoners have to offer the 6th channel in the most real way. In particular, YourTV aims to work with The Media Trust, which has access to 120 young reporters with the show LONDON360. Young reporters across the capital from very diverse backgrounds all contribute in informing and engaging Londoners with what's going on in their city. With 4 series under their belt over the past 2 years the reporters have not only delivered engaging content but also given a voice to London's hidden communities in a very entertaining way.
When the London riots happened 2 summers ago, the london360 reporters went out and spoke to every type of Londoner imaginable and delivered a 1-hour special that aired on SKY to higher ratings than many mainstream news shows. This proves that young people can make news for the whole community in the same way the whole community is expected to digest news currently made by mostly white, middle class Oxbridge news crews that feed London its current diet of local news.
Similarly the young reporters juxtapose issues with celebrity to deliver unique content. They used celebrity chef Marco Pierre White to lead a story on dyslexia, as he is dyslexic- this story then made it to The Evening Standard and BBC RADIO LONDON. They had North London music star Wretch32 and Tottenham MP David Lammy feature in a story on regenerating Tottenham, which saw a lot of frenzied online reaction from Londoners. They had South London's TV and music star Alesha Dixon lead on a story about young girls affected by female genital mutilation, which many of London's ethnic communities needed to be challenged about. Channel 4 newsreader Jon Snow got involved with a homeless charity feature for London's homeless, which resulted in a London center staying open after being threatened with closure. West London actor/director Noel Clarke spoke about opportunities for ethnic youth in the acting world and how to get involved. They used DJ Scott Mills to guest present a story on multiple sclerosis and create awareness on London's suffering too. TV presenter Anne Diamond worked with London360 to highlight female business leaders in London. East London actor Adam Deacon spoke about what young disenfranchised youth would get out of the Olympics.Actor Simon Callow got involved with our LGBT show. The list goes on and on and on. The young reporters attend red carpet events, local charity fun runs, and give voices to desperate London's from refugees, victims, and underrepresented areas. There's glitz, news, ways to get engaged in London's boroughs and more. I myself who has lived in London my whole life have learnt about areas of my capital I never knew existed in the reporters ''Secret London'' strands of the show. I also learn about great fellow Londoner's who live on our doorstep in their ''Londoner of the week'' slot.
The YourTV bid is headed up by Steven Norris- Steven, a former Minister for Transport in London and twice a candidate for Mayor, is very muchinvolved with London's on-going development. He is a successful businessman who has been a Board Member for both Transport for London and the London Development Agency. I like that he has a hand in political and transport areas for the capital.
The whole team is so strong with connections in big areas. Patrick Berry- the man who brought us CHOICE FM and turned it into the huge global radio machine that it is now, is on board to- a great man with a multicultural vision that thinks global but acts local.
Your TV also has Nicholas Wheeler who has run London's top radio stations Capital (it was Number One at the time!) and on the speech radio side LBC and News Direct so knows the city pretty well.
Between us all we are connected in so many various worlds from media, community, government and more- London is a city that has so much to offer but most of the time its only available to those in the know depending on how well connected you are.
YourTV is going to provide round the clock news and information, which is great for the city that never stops.
Their commitment to making a lot of content themselves means we will get something genuinely different and a new and more detailed look at what is really going on in London from politics to the arts. YourTV offer the most plurality of choice in content as they are going to create it all themselves. YourTV has impeccable London connections through its local board members who represent a broad range of London community including the Asian, African-Caribbean and business and arts communities. YourTV will not be sourcing news from an established television or newspaper supplier and in so doing it will offer a genuinely NEW news service for London. YourTV would open up the city to all its residents making us live and breathe everything that is on offer.
What would you like to see on YOURTV? You can get involved by posting your ideas on the YourTV London Facebook page
(https://www.facebook.com/pages/YourTV/155716374518514) and express your views to Ofcom about Local TV in general.
I look forwards to reading your comments-after all-it is YOUR TV!
Follow Jasmine Dotiwala on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jasminedotiwala