New television station for Dublin
Ireland's first ever not-for-profit community television station will be available to NTL Digital subscribers by early 2007. By John Byrne
A new Dublin community television station is to begin broadcasting on a pilot basis in early 2007, and aims to be fully operational by the middle of that year. Dublin City Television (DCTV) will be available to NTL Digital subscribers and will provide local community groups cheap and cost-price access to broadcasting equipment. It will feature programmes relating to local community issues, social issues, programmes for immigrant communities in Dublin such as those from China, Poland, Lithuania and Africa, student television and specialist music shows, all during prime time scheduling. Minority sports such as cricket may also be broadcast.
The television station will be run on a not-for-profit basis, and has come about after years of consultation and planning between the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) and a number of community and voluntary groups in the capital, including Pavee Point, the Travellers' rights organisation, the Project Arts Centre, Axis Arts and Community Centre, Ballymun, Rehab and the Dublin Adult Learning Centre (DALC).
DCTV is chaired by Seán Ó Siochrú, the vice chair is Ciaran Murray and the secretary is Margaret Gillen.
Conor Maguire, the chairperson of the BCI, said, "We are delighted to sign this contract with DCTV as it marks the first community content contract signed under the 2001 Act. The contract signing also marks the culmination of significant work undertaken by the BCI, in conjunction with community groups, in developing a community television policy. I wish DCTV every success in the coming years and am confident that they will ensure a participative, developmental approach to community broadcasting".
As yet, the station has a premises but no studio equipment or full-time staff. All members of the station committee are employed full-time in other jobs. The committee hopes to hire a station coordinator and an administrator.
The station will be partly funded by "non-comparative, non competitive" advertising, a more restrictive form of advertising than conventional advertising, and the station hopes to secure sponsorship from Dublin City Council.
At present, DCTV has no viewership targets.
DCTV will begin broadcasting for two hours a day with a view to having a 12-hour schedule by mid 2007.
According to the station's website, www.dctv.ie, the "principles" of DCTV can be summarised in three concepts: "Empowerment of communities in achieving social, economic and cultural objectives;
"Participation, in every aspect of the channel, as well as in the governance and development of the city;
"Diversity, both by celebrating the diversity of communities and by extending the range of programmes.
"The implementation of these principles radically differentiates community television from its commercial or public service counterparts, and it is crucial that the communities of Dublin, in taking ownership of the Channel, fully appreciate and take advantage of these principles.
"The above three principles translate into concrete objectives, quite distinct from those of the mainstream."