The opening of a new television station presents great responsibilities and challenging opportunities to the contractor entrusted with its operation. I am sure I can say that, during the time that has elapsed since Southern Television began transmission on 30th August, 1958, our responsibilities have been honourably fulfilled and that we have made the best possible use of the exciting opportunities offered by the television medium.
Southern Television is already firmly established as part of the lives of hundreds of thousands of families in the South. We have gladly accepted the opportunity given us by the Independent Television Authority, in awarding us the Dover Transmitter, of bringing our programmes to thousands more homes in the South East. Our task has been to provide entertainment of a consistently high level and to cater for a large range of interests and tastes. This we have achieved and, in doing so, we have also amply justified the confidence of our advertisers.
Most important of all, however, we have created a television service which is deeply rooted in the area it serves. By a consistent policy of lively regional programmes we have set out from the very start of our operation to make Southern Television a regional station in more than name alone, and the loyalty our viewers have shown us in return is proof that we have succeeded.
The Southern Television team has done an outstanding job in its first year, and the pages which follow tell for themselves the story of how this adventurous undertaking has grown. I am sure that when you read them you will share my pride in what has been done and my confidence in a future full of promise for our station.
What sort of station did Southern Television set out to be? What image of itself has it projected?
Above all, Southern is a regional station. It serves the South, and the people of the South. It brings them southern news, southern features, southern personalities, and it looks at the wider world from their standpoint. It is their own television station, not a remote impersonal colossus.
Southern is a responsible station. It knows it has a duty to give people the best — and it tries very hard to do so. It is alive and alert — and young in heart.
Let its programmes speak for themselves.
Recruiting of local talent is taken very seriously. Hundreds of amateurs from southern towns were auditioned for “home grown” — in which viewers’ votes could win performers cash prizes.
Southern Television is in on the most significant events — and the most entertaining. “southern affairs” is the news magazine which holds up a mirror to the South. Here is Mr. Macmillan being interviewed during a visit to the South.
3 Recruiting of local talent is taken very seriously. Hundreds of amateurs from southern towns were auditioned for “home grown” — in which viewers’ votes could win performers cash prizes.
4 Southern Television is in on the most significant events — and the most entertaining. “southern affairs” is the news magazine which holds up a mirror to the South. Here is Mr. Macmillan being interviewed during a visit to the South.
AMONG regional stations, Southern was first in a remarkable list of achievements.
FIRST to have a complete two camera news studio, used exclusively for newscasts. With the opening of the Dover transmitter four newscasts a day are scheduled—two from each station. Regional items are always included.
FIRST to secure an exclusive interview with Mr. Macmillan.
FIRST to send a sound camera unit abroad. Roy Rich headed a special news team which flew to Cyprus in November 1958, to interview men of southern regiments for “Southern Affairs”.
FIRST to send a unit to Russia. Cyril Ray, Russian-speaking journalist, covered Mr. Macmillan’s visit in February 1959.
FIRST to negotiate a series of plays to be performed by the Old Vic.
FIRST to do an outside broadcast from a liner.
FIRST to be awarded a satellite transmitter by the I.T.A. (The Dover Transmitter).