Do you remember the MTV-inspired Dundee TV channel?

Channel Six Dundee was to be the city’s first-ever television channel dedicated solely to promoting the talents of Dundonians.

Using the Tay Bridge transmitter, the network would send quality local arts programming to the Tayside area.

Soon the city channel was credited with launching the careers of many of Dundee’s top musical acts.

However, barely a year after it first aired, the Dundee Channel was taken off the air due to money issues.

Join us for a look at the city’s popular train station before its lights go out for the last time.

Light, camera, action!

Plans for a City Broadcasting Service were first introduced in Dundee in 1999.

Initially the plans were shelved, but after a similar and successful service was launched in Edinburgh, the Dundee version was finally given the green light.

But would it be better than Edinburgh?

The owners certainly believed him.

Channel Six Broadcasting Ltd managing director David Rushton was confident that the new Dundee channel could surpass the success of their other fledgling business.

Speaking from the channel’s Edinburgh headquarters in 2001, Mr Rushton said: “The channel in Edinburgh is working very well despite problems caused by poor signal.

“However, the signal in Dundee will be much stronger and we will be able to broadcast to a much wider audience.”

Using the Tay Bridge transmitter, Channel Six’s signal had to be of the same quality as the broadcasts provided by the mainstream BBC and ITV channels.

Almost 125,000 Dundonians could tune into the new channel by the end of the month, with the signal available in homes from Monifieth to Invergowrie.

The television transmitter on the south side of the Tay Bridge.

Channel Six Dundee was launched on May 31, 2001.

The local station was based at Seabraes Lane on the Perth road.

Channel Six intended to follow a similar schedule to other music channels such as MTV, with light pop music and children’s entertainment during school holidays.

Dundee's Channel Six was based on MTV
Dundee’s Channel Six was based on MTV. August 2021. Shutterstock.

The station also planned to launch its own record label later that year, allowing what it described as local talent to record singles and albums and put them on the path to stardom.

The channel’s first program kicked off shortly before midnight with the music video for Scottish rock band Travis’ latest single, Sing.

Then the station aired more music videos until around 6 a.m. when the cartoons started for the early birds.

The channel encouraged viewers to tune in and select the music videos they wanted to stream across the city.

Local bands were also encouraged to provide their own music videos to stream, and local artists could submit short films.

University of Dundee film students could also submit their work to be shown on the station, for their first taste of the glitz and glamor that came with a life on TV.

Alongside sister channel Edinburgh Television, Channel Six Dundee has also launched short previews of exhibitions and plays.

Its weekly Viewers’ Top Ten program featured short clips of the most-watched music videos and often included the music videos of local bands.

For those under 35, Channel Six Dundee was Dundee’s most popular television channel.

Live local events were also recorded for transmission on the station, including the grand lighting of the Roseangle Christmas lights in 2001.

Its coverage has been praised for the excellent sound quality and overall professionalism.

Financial problems

Despite appearing to be Scotland’s only real local television success story, Channel Six Dundee has encountered serious cash flow problems.

Channel Six Broadcasting Ltd was strapped for cash, and even the channel’s audience of 72,500 could not save it.

Unable to secure the investment needed to maintain and grow the service, liquidation was on the horizon.

But the local channel was determined not to go down without a fight and normal service continued for the Dundee station until it closed.

The Channel Six station was on borrowed time. 2001.

TV station chairman Dave Rushton said he was determined to keep local TV stations running.

“The people of Dundee have shown how popular a local service can be,” he added.

Despite the chain’s difficulties, its leaders, staff and volunteers are determined to see the service grow.

However, their faith was short-lived.

Recall

The parent company of Channel Six Dundee was indeed liquidated in 2002.

The lights at the Dundee recording studio were last extinguished just 12 months after being switched on.

The channel’s archives later served as the basis for Summerhall TV, an online arts streaming channel that shows worldwide examples of local TV programming from the 80s and 90s.

Considering how beloved the channel was across Courier Country, it’s worth wondering if we’ll ever see the likes of the local TV station lighting up our screens again.

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[Do you remember the Dundee TV channel modelled after MTV?]

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