Channel M

Channel M
Channel m
Channel M UK.PNG
Launched 14 February 2000
Owned by Guardian Media Group
Picture format 16:9
Country United Kingdom
Formerly called Manchester Student Television
Freeview Channel 200 (Manchester only)
Internet television
Channel M Online Watch online

Channel M is a regional television station, based in Manchester, England. It began broadcasting on 14 February 2000 as Manchester Student Television and is owned and operated by the Guardian Media Group.



Originally an RSL station, Channel M was primarily available free-to-air on terrestrial in parts of Greater Manchester.

In 2004 Channel M launched on the NTL (now part of Virgin Media) digital cable platform, around Greater Manchester, mid-Lancashire & Cheshire.[1] In April 2006 Channel M launched on digital satellite, the first RSL channel to be do so, where it was broadcast free-to-air across Western Europe from Astra 28.2°E and was available on Sky.[2] The channel was removed from Sky channel 203 and Virgin Media channel 878 on 1 September 2010.[3]

The channel became the first broadcaster in the region to offer its programmes on demand via broadband TV on its website. The website was closed down in late March 2010.

In January 2009, the broadcasting regulator OFCOM announced that Channel M would receive a licence to broadcast on Freeview after digital switchover. On 2 December 2009, Channel M ceased broadcasting on analogue terrestrial television UHF channel 39 (615 MHz) as part of the digital switchover. Around this time, the station announced plans to launch on Freeview (digital terrestrial television); broadcasts began on Monday 12 April 2010.[4]


Originally, the main sources of programming were CHUM, Euronews, Channel M's own productions and the University of Salford. The Canadian-sourced output was gradually replaced by in-house Channel M Productions as the station invested and developed more local programming, particularly following the station's launch on digital satellite services in April 2006. Major cutbacks saw most of the station's non-news output axed in May 2009. Remaining GMG production ceased on 19 March 2010, although the channel remains on-air using a mix of archive and acquired programming.[5]

Programming produced by the University of Salford was not affected by the GMG cutbacks of March 2010 and its output remains unchanged. Having broadcast on Channel M since its launch, the university continues to produce five strands of original programming, namely Reel North (short films), Zeitgeist (arts magazine) Grey Matters (studio debate), Hitting Home (documentary) and Wildtrack (wildlife documentary). A weekly compilation of features from the local online TV channel for Cumbria, Lakes TV, was launched shortly after in-house programming ended.[6]

Guardian Media Group programming

From 2004 until July 2009, the station's flagship programme was the 5pm weeknight edition of Channel M News (produced in conjunction with the Manchester Evening News), which later expanded to include breakfast, lunchtime and late evening bulletins as well as a weekly review programme and occasional live specials.

Up until May 2009, GMG also produced highly acclaimed entertainment output including the weekly entertainment round-up City Life, the comedy talk-show Frank Sidebottom's Proper Telly Show and regular music coverage. Programming such as the weekly music show City Life Social and video/computer game review series Re:Loaded helped Channel M to gain interest nationally.

City Life Social, The Great Northern Music Show and In Session were Channel M's main music programmes, often presented by Gerry McLaughlin with Clint Boon as a stand-in host. These programmes usually featured live, acoustic or unplugged studio and outside broadcast performances from alternative and indie bands.

Former BBC Radio Manchester host, Granada presenter and Factory Records boss Tony Wilson was due to present a Friday evening music and entertainment show called The New Friday, produced by former Granada producer and BBC Radio Manchester host Eamonn O'Neill. However, this programme was postponed after Wilson became terminally ill with cancer. Wilson died in August 2007 and the plans for The New Friday were soon abandoned.

City Life Social (previously City Centre Social) then became the station's flagship music show, as Channel M shifted towards a greater focus on live performances within programmes. This policy continued until the music department ceased production in May 2009, shortly after the station announced severe cutbacks in staff and programming.

The cutbacks also affected the station's three-hour breakfast programme Channel M Breakfast, which had been airing on weekdays since 16 April 2007 and included regional news, weather, travel, sport, features and entertainment. The slot was then used to broadcast live footage of the area's traffic cameras to a simulcast of Real Radio North West. The live footage from the traffic cameras ceased shortly after with just a holding slide shown during the Real radio simulcasts. Other programmes to be axed included Style in the City, City Life, and The Great Manchester Football Show.

On Monday 13 July 2009, Channel M's news coverage was incorporated into a magazine programme entitled Channel M Today, broadcast on weekdays between 4pm & 7pm and presented by chief news anchor Andy Crane alongside a rotating team of sports and features presenters. The programme, which also featured local sport, features and entertainment coverage, was axed on Friday 19 March 2010.[5]


Channel M's extremely localised audience is unusual for a British television channel. This has promoted an opportunity for local advertising on a Greater Manchester-wide scale.

The majority of the commercials shown on Channel M are produced by local companies attempting to attract a localised audience. One can recognise that many of these commercials are extremely low budget. Large companies like Ikea and DFS have also advertised on Channel M, the former during the opening of Greater Manchester's first Ikea store in Ashton-under-Lyne. Channel M offers businesses an opportunity to create a television advertisement, as the channel also films, edits and produces commercials.


The channel was originally based at smaller studios in the Triangle shopping mall and the later at the Printworks entertainment complex in Manchester city centre, until Channel M moved to the former Urbis museum in August 2005.

Channel M News was previously pre-recorded until live bulletins were first broadcast in May 2006. The studio's position on the ground floor of Urbis in Manchester city centre gave a live elevated background shot of the area around Cathedral Gardens and Manchester Victoria railway station.

The station's production team were based at the offices of the Stockport Express before moving to Urbis in March 2006. In November 2007, Channel M's news team moved again to the MEN Media headquarters at Spinningfields, which was used as a secondary studio base for some news bulletins.

The station later moved its in-house transmission and administration facilities from Urbis to GMG Radio's headquarters at Laser House in Salford Quays.[4]

Studio content produced by Salford University was originally produced at the Adelphi Building in Peru Street, Salford, but is now currently produced at their studios in MediaCity:UK based in Salford Quays.


On 27 April 2009, Channel M's then-chief executive Mark Dodson announced that the station was looking to make 41 redundancies from its 74 staff and restrict weekday live programming from four programmes (totalling six hours of output) to one three-hour news magazine programme, broadcast between 4pm and 7pm, in order to cut losses.[7] The new live programme, Channel M Today launched on Monday 13 July 2009. A company review carried out by the Guardian Media Group before the announcement recommended that the station should focus on news and general sport programming.[8]

Following the announcement, Channel M axed all of its stand-alone entertainment, sport and features programming as well as the weekday breakfast show and lunchtime & evening news bulletins. News and sport coverage was incorporated into Channel M Today.

In February 2010, the station's owners Guardian Media Group were reported to be in talks with staff regarding options for Channel M's future after the company sold off 32 of its regional newspaper titles, including the Manchester Evening News, to Trinity Mirror for £44.8 million.[9]

A month later, the station announced its remaining in-house regional programmes, including the flagship magazine show Channel M Today, would cease production by Friday 19 March 2010. Consequently, 29 of the station's 33 staff were made redundant.[10] Several ex-GMG employees have since secured consultancy positions working on Salford University productions produced at the IMC.

The station now airs archived programming, original output from Salford University and simulcasts of Euronews and Real Radio North West [5] alongside some new programming from independent and third party producers.[4]. The station's in-house transmission and administration facilities are based at Laser House in Salford Quays and managed by GMG's regional radio division.

In late 2010, GMG announced that it was planning to relaunch the station in May 2011 with new local programming.[11] However, these plans have not been enacted as of autumn 2011.


Current local programming

  • Grey Matters
  • Hitting Home
  • Life As I Know It
  • Reel North
  • Wildtrack
  • Zeitgeist

Previous in-house programmes

  • 30 Minutes of...
  • 4 Manchester
  • The Biker Show
  • Campus Cooking
  • Channel M Breakfast
  • Channel M Lunchtime News
  • Channel M Late News
  • Channel M News Live
  • Channel M News Review
  • Channel M Playlist
  • Channel M Plays Pop
  • Channel M Today
  • City Centre Social
  • The City Debate Show
  • City Life
  • City Life Comedian of the Year
  • City Life Social
  • Code XIII
  • Code XIII: Grassroots
  • Community Focus
  • Cookin' Impossible
  • Crime Team
  • Fashion Face Off
  • FC United
  • Frank Sidebottom's Proper Telly Show
  • The Football Debate Show
  • The Great Manchester Football Show
  • The Great Northern Music Show
  • The Homesmine (previously Homesearch)
  • I Love Manchester
  • In Session
  • Inside MCFC
  • The Jobsmine (previously Jobsearch)
  • The Lancashire Cricket Show
  • The Latics Football Show
  • Lady Lola's Lifeline
  • Made in Manchester
  • Manchester Exchange
  • Manchester Fight Night
  • Manchester Unlimited
  • M:usic Live
  • The Phoenix Ice Hockey Show
  • Re:Loaded
  • The Run
  • Seconds Out
  • Sports Central
  • Style In The City
  • Talking Sharks
  • The United Debate Show

Imported programmes

Programmes produced by CHUM TV included:

  • Star at The Movies
  • Arts and Minds
  • In Fashion
  • Best! Movies! Ever!

N.B. Imported programmes are no longer broadcast.

Royal Television Society (North West) Awards

Channel M programmes have been short-listed for RTS (NW) Awards on numerous occasions since 2001 and have won a total of seven times - once for GMG-produced output (Andy Crane) and six times for the University of Salford. In addition to programme awards, the station's website won the RTS Best Online award in 2008.

Programme winners

  • Hitting Home: Final Clearance - Best Cable, Satellite or RSL programme (2001)
  • Channel M - Best Newcomers (2005) (Three Channel M staffers were nominated for the award - GMG reporter Laura Fogg, Salford University presenter Gerry McLaughlin and the production team for Reel North)
  • Hitting Home: Displaced - Best Regional Programme (2005)
  • Reel North - Best Regional Programme (2006)
  • Nigel Hoar & Angela Byrne - Best Newcomers (2008)
  • Zeitgeist - Best Low Budget Programme (2009)
  • Andy Crane - Best Regional Presenter (2009)

See also


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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