Brighton and Hove is to have its own local TV station.
The news was confirmed in an announcement last week by Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
Our city is among the 20 “pioneer areas” to have local TV stations and Latest TV has been leading the bid for Brighton and Hove since the whole process started.
Bill Smith, the man behind the Latest TV bid could scarcely conceal his delight.
Mr Smith said that he was delighted that out of the hundreds of expressions of interest across the country, Brighton and Hove was first shortlisted among 65 local areas and has now been selected as one of the 20 areas to pioneer local TV.
He said: “Our now-successful bid for local terrestrial TV in Brighton and Hove has been backed by all three of our MPs – Caroline Lucas, leader of the Green Party, Simon Kirby and Mike Weatherley, both Conservative MPs, by the council leader Bill Randall, of the Green Party, by the Labour leader on the council Gill Mitchell and the Labour Chief Whip in the Lords, Lord Steve Bassam.
“We have total cross-party support in Brighton and Hove.
“This bid has been fully supported by Juice 107 and by Wired Sussex.
“Also behind the bid are the business community, the universities and colleges, local celebrities and last but by no means least the public.
“Thousands have signed petitions in support of Brighton and Hove having its own television station.
“Brighton and Hove has the biggest arts festival in England, one of the top football stadiums in the country, fantastic music festivals and is a thriving modern digital city known all over the world.
“Now we will be able to take our place with London, Manchester and Glasgow as one of the leading producers of television in the UK.
“Latest TV’s flagship online show Brighton Lights was praised in the House of Commons by Jeremy Hunt, and we look forward to it being on TV in everyone’s living rooms along with many other home-grown Brighton and Hove shows.
“There is huge television talent in this city who up until now have all had to commute to earn a living.
“Brighton and Hove will now be able to develop its own television industry. No longer too will the public turn on their local news and see Southampton studios and features about Maidstone and Oxford.”
Mr Smith added: “As Bill Randall has said, ‘Regional TV coverage of the city’s news is sparse.’ This is what we will put right.
“We have a robust business plan that will make the station a huge success and I look forward to working with everyone across the city to deliver the TV station that the world-class city of Brighton and Hove deserves.”
Mr Hunt said: “I am confident these new stations will provide local communities with programming which is relevant to their daily lives, will support local democracy, boost the big society and enhance local communities.”
London, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Newcastle and Oxford were also among the pioneer areas.
All were identified as having good local spectrum coverage and significant levels of interest from potential operators and audiences.
The local stations will be Channel 6 on Freeview.
The next step is for the TV regulator Ofcom to consult the public in these areas about its proposed licensing process.
Caroline Lucas was among the first to congratulate Mr Smith on the latest news while Simon Kirby said: “This announcement is great news for our city.
“Brighton and Hove is precisely the right place to launch a new TV channel with local talent, a local organisation that wishes to run it and an audience deeply interested in what is happening locally and the latest news.
“I hope this will provide local jobs and provide a platform for the wealth of local talent in the city.
“Credit must go to everyone involved in the campaign to bring the station to Brighton.”