STV is to create two television channels for Glasgow and Edinburgh in partnership with students from the cities’ universities.
The channels, Glasgow Television (GTV) and Edinburgh Television (ETV), will see Scottish Television work with Glasgow Caledonian University and Edinburgh Napier University to produce daily broadcasts.
Offering a mix of news and current affairs as well as magazine-style shows, both channels are expected to be on air by October.
Students will help produce the primetime broadcasts of 28 hours and 21 hours per week respectively, to be broadcast from existing studios in the cities.
Bobby Hain, director of channels at STV, said: “GTV and ETV will provide an innovative television service to the communities they serve, complementing STV’s existing broadcast, online and mobile services.
“These new ventures will also provide media students with opportunities to work and learn in a live broadcast environment.”
New legislation has made it possible for Ofcom, the UK broadcasting authority, to issue local TV licences.
Julian Calvert, media and journalism subject leader at Glasgow Caledonian University, said: “We have been working closely with STV for a number of years and this is a fantastic extra opportunity for students to engage with such a high-profile broadcaster.
“The STV bid placed a lot of emphasis on enabling local communities to make their voices heard on the city’s television in a way which has never happened before, and the type of programming being planned further enhances the university’s reputation for community engagement and reflects GCU’s commitment to the common good.”
Professor Robin MacPherson, director of Screen Academy Scotland and professor of screen media at Edinburgh Napier University, said he was delighted the bid had been successful.
“It offers the opportunity for students to gain experience in a real-world broadcasting environment, and gives them the chance to engage with the surrounding community and voluntary groups,” he said.
In May, local TV licences were opened up for 21 areas and 57 applications were received.
Ofcom has awarded 13 licences to date with more expected to be announced in the coming months, including in Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and London.
Licences will allow channels to broadcast for up to 12 years.
However, one media expert claimed community organisations should have been given the opportunity to run the channels. Dr David Rushton, director of the Institute of Local Television, said: “Giving the licence in this case to Scottish Television, and in cases down south to a large single body, rather than to individual organisations set up in each area, will mean that the accountability of the service is not so easily made available to those who are going to receive it.”
He said that some trials had been carried out by smaller organisations across the UK and Northern Ireland.
He said: “Some of the business models are much more community-based, much more egalitarian and democratic in their structure than those of large commercial corporations.
“So, bodies funded with international capital strike me as the least likely to be able to resolve services that are of interest primarily to local communities.”