In June 2006 the first countryside television channel was launched by former top-40 hit rock star, Paul Aitken (Country Channel CEO and Chairman).
An enthusiastic David Cameron MP switched on Country Channel TV, a free-to-view internet TV channel entirely dedicated to sharing its passion for the countryside with like-minded viewers from around the world.
Paul’s inspiration for the channel sprang from his passion for country matters and his desire to give a voice to the countryside: “I believe passionately that I want to give the countryside a voice. It has been fragmented and, here at the Country Channel, we can look at all the issues holistically and give air time to the array of country matters.
Quite simply The Country Channel is the ultimate internet television channel for everyone who has an interest or affinity for the countryside. We want to air the real issues. The countryside is full of dichotomies, things are not black and white, and we want to take a proper look at the issues and air all the arguments while giving TV coverage to all the wonderful things going on in the countryside.”
The programming on The Country Channel is extremely diverse. This archive of programming, spanning 48 different topic areas, is sub-divided into six major strands: Farming, Lifestyle, Wildlife and Animals, Recreation, Equestrian and Country Pursuits.
There is a significant amount of dog related programming available including ‘Puppy School’, a four part series about how to train your puppy presented by nationally renowned dog behavioural expert Gwen Bailey. Gwen is not only a superb dog handler and trainer, but also a trustee of The Country Channel Trust – a charity that creates educational programmes and connects people with the countryside. Other dog related programmes on the channel feature working dogs at Crufts, coverage of gundogs at the CLA Gamefair and a delightful film called ‘The Shepherds Pup’ which focuses on how to train a sheepdog puppy.
All Country Channel productions are underpinned by an unwavering commitment to the creation of high-quality material. The production team consists of experienced producers, cameramen, and editors, backed by a board of directors who contribute a blend of skills and expertise, held together by a shared passion for the countryside. This fusion of experience and understanding ensures that all Country Channel programmes are produced to a very high standard. Contributors include BBC’s Bill Turnbull and Rob Bonnet, Wendy Nelson from “Heart of the Country” and Olympic Silver Medallist, Lucinda Green.
Running a small rural business is never easy and The Country Channel has had its fair share of ups and downs over the past few years. However, despite the economic downturn, The Country Channel is continuing to expand, due in part to major government backed advances in rural broadband access and rising viewing figures. In August 2009 the channel relocated moved to new offices. The move signalled changing times at the Country Channel and represents a big step forward. The new site offers not only more space and improved facilities, but plenty of room for the new TV studio which will enable the production of live broadcasts and a wider range of programming. With continued and sustained growth on the horizon the future looks bright for the Country Channel and Paul is buoyant, “If you’ll forgive me for being waxing lyrical for a moment, I feel that beautiful views, lovely sunsets and the countryside are things that people all over the world can share and appreciate.”
How to tune in to the Country Channel
Country Channel TV streams scheduled programmes and video-on-demand over the internet 24/7 and is free to view at www.countrychannel.tv Selected country channel programming is also broadcast during peak viewing times on Sky Channel 171 (My Channel) at the following times: Sky Channel 171 Mon-Fri: 7-8am, 12-1pm and 6-8pm. Sat-Sun: 7-8am and 12-2pm.