The Finland-Swedish Local TV Association

The very first local TV transmission took place in 1972 in Nykarleby by what is known today as NY-TV. Today there's 24 community TV stations in the Swedish-speaking parts of Finland. Seven of them are located in the southern Finland and the rest are in Ostrobothnia, the west coast. 18 of these stations are more active with regular transmissions. Most of the community TV stations started during the 80s. According to the survey that was made in 1995 the average age of them was 10 years and it was in 1993 that the most recent station was started. During 1995 the 22 different local TV stations that was part of the survey together broadcasted a total of 1480 hours of programming, which at the time was more than FST, the Finland-Swedish section of the Finnish public service TV network, broadcasted in Finland.

The work within these local TV stations has through the years always been and still is performed on a voluntary basis. Today four of the stations have hired persons coordinating the work. Characteristic for the local TV's is that enthusiasts and otherwise interested people has started up their own local TV station and begun producing programs. They have passed on the knowledge and the laws gained by them to new co-workers joining the stations. The labour behind the Finland-Swedish community television is impressing as it has evolved into producing programs that can be seen by half of the Finland-Swedish population - 150 000 potential viewers. And when it comes to technical development the local TV's are also in the frontline, 19 of the stations are DV-equipped and several also have fully digital editing suites.

The Association

The Finland-Swedish Local TV Association was founded in 1993, and the goal was to consolidate and help develop the community television. Already back in 1990 the first Videoforum was arranged. Videoforum has since that went on into being a yearly recurring seminar for those involved in community TV. The agenda consists of e.g. lectures, current information, TV-tech exhibitions and the very popular and encouraging video competition where the best local TV production of the year is chosen. Another important role for the Association is to keep its members (in year 2001 the Association had 15 members) informed about current events on the media scene both nationally and internationally. The board has throughout the years also arranged other courses matching the needs of the members. Examples are courses in program production, lighting, audio, digital editing etc.

Since August of 2001 the Association has employed a coordinator for its activities. This has given the Association the possibility to in a much more active way help the community television develop and move ahead into the future. It's now of great importance to help the local TV stations adapt to all aspects of the new digital future; new technology, digital transmissions and digital program archives. The digital technology will enable the community television to stand out much more than in the past providing them with a variety of new possibilities. It will be possible for the stations to function as an educational platform for youths, organizations, schools, media students etc. The community TV has a whole new spectrum of possibilities in the digital future.