1st September 1962
Channel Television took to the air
Guernsey and Jersey got their first local commercial TV station in autumn 1962. Channel Television, which is headquartered in Jersey and has studios in Guernsey on Bulwer Avenue, produces regional output for the Channel Islands, and was one of the last broadcasters to remain independent of ITV.
Channel Television’s first night on the air began with a grand opening at 5pm. This was presided over by the Lieutenant-Governor of Jersey, General Sir George Erskine, in the presence of the Director General of the Independent Television Authority and the Bailiffs of both Guernsey and Jersey. This was followed, at 5.10pm, by The Adventures of Robin Hood starring Richard Greene.
The station carried ITV programming from the very earliest days, courtesy of a microwave relay station that was built on Alderney. Through this it received a feed from Westward Television, which at that time was the franchisee for the British south-west. It later took output from TVS (Television South), and then Meridian, as various regional licences changed hands on the mainland.
Changing Channel over the years
Channel has always maintained studios on both Jersey and Guernsey. Upon launch, its Guernsey base was Albion House in St Peter Port, but in 1967 it moved to Market Square; to St George’s Esplanade in 1983; and finally, in 1997, to the building it now shares with the BBC on Bulwer Avenue.
Initially, all broadcasts were black and white, but colour came to the islands on 26 July 1976 when Channel became the last broadcaster on the network to convert. It soon caught up, though, and eventually overtook other independent broadcasters on the ITV network. It was the first to introduce electronic newsgathering tools to its newsroom.
However, it was one of the last independent stations to complete its transition to digital broadcasting. The islands’s analogue transmission signals were finally switched off on 17 November 2010. After that date, the 50,000 households within the region received Freeview for the first time.