Ken Bates and Leeds United miss out on local TV licence for West Yorkshire

Leeds United's Elland Road stadium
Leeds United's Elland Road stadium

The Leeds United-backed bid for the rights to run community TV in West Yorkshire has failed.

Instead, Ofcom has awarded the licence to rival bidder Made in Leeds.

The new station will launch in November 2013 on Freeview Channel 8 and on cable, covering Halifax, Leeds, Huddersfield, Wakefield and Dewsbury.

According to the Made in Leeds website, the channel will broadcast “an eclectic array of new shows dedicated to the city, with local news and current affairs at the top of the agenda. Programmes on arts and culture, entertainment, music, sport, property and cookery are all currently in development.”

Positions will be created for journalists, producers, sales staff and technicians.

Last May Ofcom invited bidders to submit applications for licences to run local TV services in 21 cities and towns, including Leeds, Belfast, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Leeds TV Ltd - part of a group of companies including Yorkshire Radio, Leeds United TV and parent company Leeds City Holdings - was among five bidders for a licence to run community TV in the West Yorkshire area. Leeds City Holdings was owned at the time by Ken Bates, who went on to sell the company to the Dubai-based investment bank Gulf Finance House in December.

In explaining their decision, Ofcom said that given its connections to Leeds United, Leeds TV “would be likely to have a narrower focus than that of other applicants displayed” and a “relative lack of engagement with other aspects of the locality.”