Michael Lucas, head of local programmes
As Channel celebrates its 25th birthday, news is coming in from the Independent Broadcasting Authority that the station has to increase its local output from a minimum of three and a half hours to four hours every week. This fact should not cause our local programming department too many problems — throughout our history we’ve managed to put out more programmes each week than we’ve been obliged to.
And they’re pretty diverse programmes. There’s the station’s best known personality, Oscar Puffin, loved by children the Islands over as they grow up with him wishing them a happy birthday. There are weekly French programmes, the clergy begin each Sunday with a thought-provoking message to Islanders, and of course there’s the raison d’etre of Channel Television — our local news and current affairs programmes spearheaded by Channel Report
Nine reporters in Jersey, three in Guernsey and correspondents in both Alderney and Sark work to the News Editor, finding out what’s going on in the islands. The News Editor tastes’ their copy and decides how he wants the story treated — words only, words and pictures or a full-blown report of words, pictures and interviews.
To gather these pictures there are two camera crews in Jersey and one in Guernsey. There are also freelance cameramen in Alderney and Sark. Their pictures are transported by boat or plane to Guernsey from where they are beamed over to Jersey by a micro-wave link for editing.
Over 25 years, Channel’s local programmes have built up a substantial and loyal following, mainly because the programmes are all about what’s going on here. As well as the Channel Report half hour, there are news bulletins at lunchtime, at 10.30 at night and on Sunday evenings at 625.
‘Specials’ are also mounted when something unusual is going on — a royal visit, local general elections, the anniversary of an important island institution. For example, around the time we will be celebrating our Silver Jubilee there will be Channel Report specials covering three major events — the Island Games, The Guernsey Festival and International Powerboat Week, all being staged in Guernsey at the same time.
To give these important events adequate coverage, an edit suite, an editor, camera crews, reporters and maintenance engineers will be shipped in to Guernsey to help the existing personnel. Each evening Channel Report will be presented live from our Guernsey studio, linking up for the news section of the programme with a presenter in our Jersey studio.
Thanks to advances in technology it’s now as easy to present Channel Report from Guernsey as it is from the Jersey studio. This means that the Guernsey end of our operation is as involved in the presentation of the programme — and in its transmission — as the Jersey end, which for nearly 25 years has been the real hub of Channel Television.
Now, because the Guernsey reporters and crews are as involved as their Jersey counterparts in what the public actually see from their local programme makers, Channel Television is finally living up to its name — it really is Channel Islands’ Television.