Published: 09:20, 03 August 2017
James Brindle mumbles a few lines to himself as he reads over a script for the evening’s hour-long news programme.
Moments later, he answers the phone to an excitable local businessperson, inquiring about advertising rates.
An episode of Be Creative plays out on a screen in front of his desk in the newsroom at the University of Kent’s Medway campus in Chatham Maritime.
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He enthuses KMTV has enjoyed “a really good start” and he cannot believe how many calls the station has received since it launched on Freeview just over a fortnight ago.
“We can’t hide away because we are on Channel 7,” he said.
“It’s like having a store in the middle of Oxford Street. You are going to have tonnes of people looking in your window and if you’re good at what you do they will come in and buy.”
News programme Kent Tonight is broadcast live from KMTV’s studio across the road from the channel’s newsroom.
Mr Brindle, 37, has focused all his main resources on peak viewing times, with the hour-long live news programme going out every week day from 5.30pm.
It is supplemented by half-hour broadcasts like sports show Team Talk, Paul on Politics and business programme Chris & Co, the latter presented by yours truly.
Every morning, KMTV also brings Garry and Laura’s radio breakfast show on kmfm to the small screen.
“If local TV works it’s win, win, win,” said Mr Brindle. “The viewer gets another opportunity to watch great content, business owners get another way to tell their story and it adds another layer to the publisher.
“Also, for most local businesses, TV is not an option because they can’t afford it.
“Local TV is delivered to their local market but at high street prices.
"Your advert will look as good as any network but you’re not paying anywhere near that level. And if you are a Kent business, you are not interested in customers in Sussex or Surrey.
“With adverts on regional TV, it means you end up paying for something you’re not benefiting from. Local TV delivers a Kent audience at a competitive rate.”
A former BBC journalist and producer, Mr Brindle is no stranger to launching hyper-local TV stations.
He founded Notts TV in 2014 and ran the station for three years before joining KMTV.
Notts was the fourth to launch nationally after Ofcom began awarding licences to local broadcasters.
KMTV is the 30th channel to get off the ground, in a joint venture between the KM Group and the University of Kent.
He jokes he decided to do it all again “because I’m mental”.
Mr Brindle, who lives in Chatham Maritime, said: “It’s an exhilarating challenge to be part of something as exciting as creating something from scratch. That is a really rare opportunity.
"Usually in a new job you are told what to do and in a routine but when you are in a position to create something from the beginning that’s a wonderful thing.”
Audience figures are a long way over the horizon just yet but Mr Brindle’s aspiration is for KMTV to become “the go-to choice for local news”.
The station has “blown away” his expectations for advertising and sponsorships so far”.
He said: “A lot of businesses want you to take care of the whole of their needs. Some want you to make them TV adverts, some want you to manage their social media, some want street teams giving out flyers.
“They want a solution and the KM is in an incredible position to offer all that. That is rare.”
He added: “Other local TV channels are proving they can compete. Some are in the top 10 channels watched in their area. There are 250 channels available in some Freeview areas.
“If you want local news you are hopefully going to watch KMTV every day. KMTV is the only channel where Kent comes first.”
Anyone interested in advertising on KMTV can call 01622 794578 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Watch the latest episode of Kent Tonight
Viewers can follow the debate around the county’s biggest business stories on KMTV show Chris & Co.
Presented by business editor Chris Price, the live programme contains news and features about the companies and economy of the Garden of England, with a panel offering their insights.
Tune in for half an hour every Wednesday from 6.30pm.
HOW TO WATCH
KMTV will be available on Freeview Channel 7 and Virgin Channel 159 from 5.30pm today. It will reach hundreds of thousands of homes across the county, so be sure to retune your set top box to check you can receive us.