Sir Michael Lyons has been appointed chairman of YourTV Ltd one of the main contenders to win local television licences later this year.
Sir Michael, who was knighted for his services to local government, was Chairman of the BBC Trust for four years until he handed over to Lord Patten last year. He was Chief Executive of 3 major local authorities over a period of 17 years, 7 of those with Birmingham City Council.
Sir Michael also Chairs the regeneration company The English Cities Fund and social innovators Participle Ltd. He has a number of other board and advisory roles. He led the Lyons Enquiry into local government which recommended greater devolution within England.
“I have a long standing commitment to any measures which improve the quality of life and economic strength of our regional cities. We also know that audiences want more high quality local content. I’m confident local TV can play an important part on both fronts.”
“YourTV is an extremely professional outfit with great ideas, overwhelming enthusiasm and the right mix of talent and experience. Its plans are well developed and I am very pleased to be joining.”
“The emphasis on keeping costs down whilst offering a fresh approach to how local communities are engaged as active participants will make its offer compelling to both Ofcom and investors.”
YourTV are intending to bid for eight licences in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Preston/Blackpool, Sheffield, Leeds and Newcastle with local boards established in each city.
YourTV Chief Executive, Jim Manson, said:
“We are very pleased that Sir Michael has joined our already strong team. He truly understands the potential of local TV and why it is so significant for the UK. Some of our founder directors have been working on the YourTV proposition for over 4 years, ever since Ofcom first identified the potential for Local TV on Freeview. With Sir Michael’s experience as BBC Chairman we couldn’t have found a more suitable person to take us to the next stage and lead our applications”
The Government has advertised for local TV licences in 21 areas of the UK. Applications have to be submitted by August 13th and OFCOM are expected to announce the winners in the autumn.