I am no Bolshie, but I have not heard a single soul speak
in favour of this TV mast. The people don't want it.
Alderney State member
The approach is made
It is unlikely that the Channel Islands featured originally as a
franchise area in the minds of the ITA, since there were only a total
of about 25,000 homes that could be served. The BBC served them (and
still does) as an outpost of the South West region, and the ITA would
have probably made the same arrangement, if they had not been
approached by a local group who were confident they could set up
their own station and make some programmes for themselves.
Two initial difficulties had to be overcome; the first was the legal
one that the 1954 Television Act didn't apply in the Channel Islands,
and the legislation had to be extended by Orders in Council. The
other was countering fears from France that no interference would
arise to their television reception.
The invitations for bids went out in early 1960, and received two replies.
The first was led by a Jersey schoolteacher Jurat G Malet de
Cartaret, and boasted 181 shareholders; the second by Senator George
Troy, who had campaigned for a long time for a local radio station,
and was backed by the local newspapers. The second group won the
contract mainly because they were financially more secure and had more
limited ambition for local programming.
The principle of the delivery of the network was simple; the output
of Stockland Hill would be picked up off-air on Aldernay and relayed
to Jersey where unless they were opting out it would be
retransmitted. There were problems with this setup; transmissions from
Jersey had to be on Channel 9, the same as Stockland Hill, so the
power had to be limited and the opposite polarisation used so as not
to interfere with the mainland signal reception in Alderney, with the
side effect that Alderney could not be served. Additonally there
were times when the reception fell below standard, which would mean
that locally generated programmes would need to be provided to
replace the network feed. The General Manager of Channel Television,
Ken Killip (seconded from ABC) persuaded the
ITA that a second feed could be provided from reception of Chillerton
Down as well as Stockland Hill. This would give them the choice
between the programmes carried by Westward and
The sites for the reception and transmission masts were identified,
the former at Les Rodiers, Alderney, and the latter at Fremont Point.
Both choices led to local opposition, and the Alderney States
a lease, at least partially because Alderney were not going to get
decent reception from Jersey. The transmission mast was
second hand from Lichfield, and there was a delay before it became
redundant there. Nevertheless, the ITA planning date of 1 September
1962 was maintained.
A Slow Start
Most of the members of the ITA made a visit to Jersey for the opening
ceremony, which took place at 17:00 on Saturday 1 September 1962 (the
next day they were treated to a picnic on Herm). This was conducted
by the Lieutenant Governor of Jersey. Ten minutes later they had
joined the network for Robin Hood, but the evening did include a local
music programme, and an introduction to the station. Other local
programmes started in the first week included a nightly news in
French, a magazine twice a week, and a weekly farming programme.
Early audience figures remained low and they only achieved about a
two-fifths share of the audience at the end of their first year.
These figures did improve in early 1963 after a tweak to the
transmitter to improve coverage, and increased promotion. The local
population appeared to have very different tastes from mainland
Britain, with the soaps hardly featuring, but the local shoestring
programmes gaining large audience shares, and by their first
anniversary the overall share reached 60%.
Despite the significant local involvement the station continued to
operate in deficit. After two years the accumulated loss had reached
£70,000, which seemed difficult to recover from the revenue level,
bolstered as it was from increasing advertising and circulation of
'The Channel Viewer' listing magazine. Negotiations yielded a much
lower transmitter rental and network programme supply cost.
Through the franchise hoops
Despite the losses incurred by Channel they were not opposed in the
1964 round, but like everyone else there franchise was renewed, with
the transmitter fees confirmed at the lower rental. No one tried
against them in 1967.
Introduction of a colour service for the Channel Islands was delayed
much longer than for any other ITV region. There were two main
reasons; the difficulty of getting a good signal over to Alderney for
rebroadcast, and the need for the forever cash-strapped Channel
Television to upgrade their own facilities. Additionally the UHF
service from Fremont Point would only cover Jersey, so there was need
to secure a further transmitter site for Guernsey. Alderney too
finally gained a service from its own relay. The off-air method
originally employed used a bank of 24 32-element Yagi aerials to
receive the mainland transmissions, but this was replaced by a
special adaptive aerial which picked up a dedicated signal, albeit
Up to date
Channel, now more usually referred to as CTV has continued to
maintain its strong local presence, although it is no longer the only
media, having competition from both BBC and independent radio
stations. The finances remain somewhat marginal, although they are
supported by other businesses in the group, such as CR, which is the
islands' main TV and video retailer.
Their bid in the last franchise round was the minimum possible
(£1000), and they retained the franchise because their only opponent,
CI3 (headed by Bergerac actor John Nettles), failed to pass the
Fremont Point 9H 1/9/62
Fremont Point 41H 24/7/76