Memorandum by Michael Colmer Esq (IW 48)
"WATERWAYS FOR TOMORROW"/TELECOMMUNICATIONS
Submission to the Environment, Transport &
Regional Affairs Committee seeking the Committee's support for
a feasibility study into an innovative proposal for private or
public and private investment into a new broadcasting station,
dedicated to Britain's waterways with the working title; RADIO
This proposal identifies clear audience segments
currently neglected by other broadcasting stations, namely the
millions who enjoy Britain's canals and rivers on a daily basis,
be they boaters, anglers, ramblers, cyclists, walkers, property
owners and local waterway communities.
Provenance; the co-partnership deal betwixt
BW and Marconi; FIBREWAY, has already completed half its fibre
optic cable insertion plans. Eventually all of the UK's 6,000
miles of canal and river towpaths will all be fully equipped.
Since this fibre optic cable offers access every two kilometres
it would be a straightforward matter to erect simple broadcasting
"repeater" stations the length of each towpath. This
offers potential for a network spanning the UK and in a prime
position to offer a unique broadcasting opportunity under the
control/guidance of British Waterways.
The advantages of such a "Radio Towpath"
station include; An immediate extension of BW's emergency coverage
service (by means of listener phone-in warnings of canal and river
emergencies). Editorial programmes specifically designed for all
towpath users including angling programmes, marine engine maintenance,
as well as historical background to Britain's much-loved waterways
and its own distinctive lifestyle as well as reaching isolated
local waterway communities. It would also provide the platform
to educate visiting boaters, anglers and walkers on local amenities,
culture and history.
Since such a dedicated broadcasting station
would reach a hitherto neglected audience catchment areas counted
in millions, advertising revenue is anticipated at highly profitable
annual levels. The very nature of these priceless waterways is
tranquillity. Radio Towpath listeners would, for example, avoid
the excess of testosterone to be found on the majority of radio
stations. It is in this genre that we find newly retired couples
enjoying six months cruising on their own boats every seasonone
of many similar audience segments that are high profile natural
targets for advertisers.
The writer has already piqued the interest of
a divisional branch of the waterways system; based at Devizes,
Wilts. A pilot study is under discussion at this local level but
the concept requires a national feasibility study.
This proposal respectfully submitted by the
author and broadcaster Michael Colmera boat owner and Life
Member of the Inland Waterways Association for over 20 years.