This is a page in the 'From the Archive' section of my website. This pages is not being actively updated. These pages remain on-line to provide an interesting insight into the past and to provide a reference source. All content below is as originally published on this site.
Manchester Student Television and beyond
Channel M, started it's life as a project known as 'Manchester Student Television', and was one of the first handful of groups to apply and successfuly recieve a 'Television Restricted Service Licence.' The station ulimatly gained a licence to broadcast to the Manchester area on UHF channel 39. Aiming at the student and youth population of Manchester, the station is a joint venture by 'The University of Salford' and a number of commercial partners including 'The Guardian Media Group / The Manchester Evening News.'
There is an official Channel M Web Site which currently has a some information of current programmes, however on this page is some information gathered over the past couple of years. This is an Independent web page, part of my personal web site, with information about the station.
TV-RSL's and Channel M
Television RSL's, as well as being a newer development are not as widely known as their radio counterpart, so what exactly are they, well the Independent Television Commission explains in their 1999 Factfile:
"Restricted Service Licences are a new form of television licence introduced by the Broadcasting Act 1996. Unused analogue frequencies are made available, on a leasehold basis, for broadcasts to a particular establishment or other defined location, or for a particular event.
A licence to cover a specific event is for a period of 56 days. One to cover a particular establishment or other defined location is for a period of two years.* The licence process consists of two key stages. An application must be accompanied by a fee to cover initial frequency planning work. If a potential frequency is identified and the application is valid, a further payment is required to cover national and international frequency clearance work. Applicants successfully completing this stage will be granted a licence upon payment of the ITC licence fee and the Wireless Telegraphy Act Licence fee. If the frequency remains available, and RSL holder may reapply for a further two year licence at the end of the initial term, although this will be open to competition."
* The licence period as subsequently been extend to a four year term.
As you can see a long process was gone through to see the awarding of a licence to Manchester Student Television. Other contenders in the local area included 'Asian Television Ltd.' to serve North Manchester, Oldham and Rochdale and 'Manchester Television Company Limited' who applied to broadcast to South Manchester. The ITC issued a license to MSTV on the grounds that it would offer "a genuine addition to the television services available in Manchester." The station which will be using the on-air call sign 'Channel M' broadcasts on UK terrestrial UHF channel 39, from a low powered transmitter at Salford University (on the top of the 'Maxwell building'.)
Source: Waveguide' TV RSL Special (February '98); The Manchester Evening News (28/1/98); Salford University.
On the Air
The 5th November 1999 saw an historic moment on the TV airwaves in Manchester, though you'd probably not have noticed. The wait was over, with the 'launch' of Channel M. A launch in a very low key sense, unless you were involved in the station, or just happened to stumble across the broadcast then you wouldn't have seen the first ever transmission from the station. It was very much a test transmission to see that everything was working, and as can be expected things didn't go as smoothly as might have been hoped. With technical worries resulting in further delays and rearrangement of the test transmission schedule. So if you weren't there, here are some screen captures of some of the test transmissions.
In the mean time the 'bugs' appear to have been ironed out, with full time test transmissions which commenced on Monday February 14th 2000. I will soon be bringing you more details of these broadcasts.
In the News
Naturally in the fast moving world of television, the plans for the station are ever evolving and developing. The stations web site will probably be your best bet for finding out the latest happenings. However in this section of my personal website I aim to bring you a selection of local stories which have appeared in the press to help you keep in touch with the latest news 'In the News.'
STUDENT DIRECT (Greater Manchester's Student Newspaper) SALFORD EDITION 15/11/99
by Shaunna Corr
The launch of the new student TV station, Channel M, has been delayed yet again. The channel, which is the first student-run community television station in Europe, is based in the Adelphi Campus. Channel M, previously known as MSTV (Manchester Student TV), was originally meant to begin broadcasting last year but has still not made it off the ground.
The latest launch on 5th November was beset by technical problems regarding the signal, meaning that broadcasting has been delayed for another two weeks. It has taken a long time to get the channel's frequency cleared, yet technical problems are still occurring.
The lack of press coverage and the fact that Student Direct was only informed of the planned launch two hours beforehand, points to the management's embarrassment over technical hitches that are far from resolved.
The project was first contemplated in April 1998 and has taken some time in formation. The channel will be broadcast over the Greater Manchester area appealing to a youth audience with a content of sport, fashion, music, drama and other youth issues. It is hoping to serve as a window for new talent. The initiative to form such a station was taken between the University of Salford, the Manchester Evening News and City Broadcasting Ltd. It is largely subsidised by the M.E.N. but students make all the actual programmes.
For the sake of correctness I must point out the slight factual error in this article, programmes are sourced not only from the university, but a dedicated team working from the Manchester Evening News, a local facilities company, and shareholder Andrew Sumner Associates and acquired programming from elsewhere.
STUDENT DIRECT (Greater Manchester's Student Newspaper) 28/2/00
CHANNEL M FOR MANCHESTER
NEW STATION HOPES TO TURN ON LOCALS
By Ian Parker
AS if students didn't watch enough telly, a new TV station aimed squarely at young people will soon hit the Manchester airwaves.
Channel M will be available to anyone in the Manchester area using existing equipment. The new station hopes to attract young audience with a mix of entertainment, sport and local features.
The station is currently gearing up in preparation for a high profile launch in a couple of weeks.
Phillip Reevell, Director of Programmes, told Student Direct what Channel M had to offer: "The idea is to cover where students live and young people in the centre of Manchester. In particular the under 25s.
"We will be broadcasting entertainment programmes, music, and sport. We're doing Ice Hockey and Basketball and some Manchester United TV, fashion programmes, a cinema and gig guide as well as regular What's On."
Highlights of the schedule include 'Campus Cooking', which the channel chief describes as "a very different cookery show" with a transvestite host!
Channel M is the sixth local TV scheme in the country, but the station supremo is keen to point out, it hope to offer something a little different to a potential audience of over 400,000."I don't think that we're very mainstream at all. It's the only channel aimed specifically at young people."
Recent programmes have included an interview with the writer of cult Manchester serial 'Queer as Folk'. Music makes up a major strand of the transmissions. Features on the history of Factory Records and The Charlatans have already been aired. A regular guide to the best of the club scene and upcoming gigs hopes to keep viewers up to date with the local scene.
Sport will come from Manchester Giants and Manchester Storm, the city's basketball and ice hockey teams. Channel M intends to broadcast recordings of the games a day after the fixtures take place. Exclusive 'Locker Room' strands will keep fans up to date will all the latest team action.
Phillip Reevell told Student Direct readers how they could get involved in making features for the channel: "If there are people who have got things that they would want to contribute, in terms of tapes, programmes, ideas and stuff, then the general principle is that we will look at anything that people have made already.
"If you're at Salford University you should go through the media studies department because they have a production office there. If it's Manchester University, I understand that they are setting up a student society to make programmes for Channel M."
Other students are advised to contact the Salford University media department, who are already producing 'Interference' - a music and comedy performance programme.
The ambitious project got off the ground with help from the Guardian Media Group who publish Manchester Evening News and City Life. The station beat off two rival bids to secure the four-year licence.
The transmissions can be received by tuning into channel 39. Anyone experiencing any problems should call the Channel M hot-line on 0161 211 2916.