By John Turner Published on Saturday 28 April 2012 06:55
TT FANS are to have year-round 24-hour coverage of TT related matters in May when Manx Radio launches its new channel TT365.
The service extends the current Radio TT service which operates for just two weeks during the TT race period itself.
The broadcasts will be on Manx Radio's mediumwave (AM) 1368 service, which broadcasts TT commentaries during the races, and will also be available worldwide over the internet so listeners can access them using a smart phone or computer as well as interacting with the station through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Content will also be available to download as a Podcast.
Manx Radio business director John Marsom said the new channel would be self-funding using website and on-air advertising. He said they were talking to the Department of Economic Development about getting support for TT365 from TT race sponsors.
Current sponsors for the TT include life assurance company Royal London 360 and Cable and Wireless.
No government funding is being provided for the new station but he added such organisations as Manx National Heritage could well benefit from advertising its attractions with the station.
He suggested other firms which would benefit from visitors' custom such as car hire companies may also consider advertising.
'365 is to provide an off-island service all year round and grow the brand of the TT and, we hope, do a lot of good things for Isle of Man plc,' he said.
'This is a very exciting development for Manx Radio and the TT in general.'
The channel will broadcast from May 14 and the main presenters will be Chris Kinley and Chris Williams, who will host daily music shows.
There will also be archive material including race commentaries from the past 40 years, Charlie Williams and his chat shows featuring guests such as John McGuinness, Nick Jefferies and Guy Martin, as well as other interviews with riders, officials and organisers dating back to the early 1960s.
A live Saturday evening programme will feature studio guests and discussion of latest developments relating to motorcycling, racing in general and the TT.
Colin Kniveton, chief executive of the Department of Economic Development, said it would help to promote the TT races and the Isle of Man.
'It will help us to keep fans up to date with everything that's happening with the TT as well as adding to the services that we can offer our commercial partners.
'The long term plan will be to integrate this activity into the official iomtt.com website where fans can already listen to live race commentary and access live timing during the TT itself,' he said.
While there is no government subsidy, it seems likely that the government's tourism division will advertise on the service.
Manx Radio, which is subsidised by the taxpayer, recently made a series of cuts to staff after making a loss.
The station is one of three broadcasting in the island. The government's subsidy to the station is £850,000. Neither of the island's other radio stations gets a state handout. Manx Radio, which also carries advertising, argues that its 'public service' remit justifies the money.