Two of Wales’ most popular TV presenters took to the streets today in the company of contemporary circus performers to highlight major changes about to hit the airwaves.
S4C stars, Angharad Mair, who hosts magazine programme, Wedi 7, and quizmaster, football reporter and presenter, Morgan Jones, joined members of NoFit State Circus in Cardiff Bay to raise awareness of the forthcoming switchover to digital broadcasting and the 100% Welsh-language programme offering that will follow.
Currently programmes in Welsh on S4C are interspersed with English-language shows from Channel 4. After Digital Switchover, which starts in Wales in August, S4C will be entirely in Welsh and all Channel 4 content will be broadcast separately.
To advise viewers how to receive S4C after Switchover, the Channel is staging an extensive information campaign in all parts of Wales over the coming months.
This includes a grass-roots roadshow to inform local communities of the changes and advise people on what they must do to continue receiving Welsh language TV. Local circus skills workshops have been built into the campaign to attract viewers of all ages to hear about the changes.
They will hear how each of Wales’ eight transmitter groups will switch one by one from the traditional analogue TV signal to a digital signal between August 2009 and March 2010.
This means viewers will be able to receive the benefits of digital broadcasting through an ordinary TV aerial as well as on other platforms. However only sets that are digitally enabled will continue receiving a television service.
S4C is working closely with Digital UK, the independent body responsible for Switchover, to advise households on what they must do to avoid losing reception. As part of this, viewers in Wales using Freeview equipment must retune them on September 9th and then retune again when their local transmitter switches to digital in order to continue to receive S4C.
To launch the new S4C information campaign, entitled ‘On with the Show,’ Angharad and Morgan put their coordination skills to the test by juggling and tight-rope walking with a little help from NoFit State Circus performers. Onlookers in the Bay were encouraged to join in and try their hand at a circus skill and find out more about Digital Switchover and what it means for S4C.
The circus skills roadshow will give viewers the chance to ask questions about how Digital Switchover will affect them and what they need to do to ensure they can continue enjoying their favourite S4C programmes.
High-profile presenter Sarra Elgan and comedian Tudur Owen will be joining Angharad Mair and Morgan Jones in fronting the campaign and they will all be taking part in workshops across the country.
An on-screen campaign featuring the stars and their circus tricks will also be broadcast on S4C from July 20th onwards.
Speaking at today’s event Angharad Mair said: “I’m no technology wizard, but switching to digital isn’t as scary as walking the tightrope! The right equipment doesn’t have to be expensive and investing in it will mean that you can still catch S4C’s programmes - live events and sports; drama; music; news and children’s programmes.”
Morgan Jones added: “As well as the exciting changes brought about by Digital Switchover, from August 15th onwards, sports fans should remember to adjust their equipment in order to choose the language of the commentary on selected S4C sports broadcasts.”
Tim Hartley, Head of Corporate Affairs at S4C, emphasised that the Channel was ready for the changes ahead – as, for the first time, it becomes a wholly Welsh language channel.
He said: “Digital Switchover is being introduced gradually from region to region, between August this year and March next year. We’re working closely with Digital UK who are leading the overall campaign to inform the viewing public about the changes.
“The Digital Switchover period presents a unique challenge for S4C. Our aim during this complex process is to maintain the loyalty of our core audience by offering a varied output of original, innovative and attractive high-quality programming.
.“From September, our roadshows will be going to the heart of Welsh communities to ensure everybody understands the benefits of Digital Switchover and what they must do. There’ll be a few juggling lessons thrown in of course!”
Notes to editors
• The launch was held at 10.30am, Friday 10 July 2009 at Roald Dahl Plass, Cardiff Bay.
• Digital switchover is being introduced gradually, from region to region, between August 2009 and March 2010. West Wales is the first region to switch. The Kilvey Hill transmitter in the Swansea area; Preseli, which services south and west Wales, and Carmel, which services parts of mid and east Wales will change in August and September. North Wales and parts of mid east Wales will change in October and November 2009, with mid Wales, Cardiff and south east Wales switching in February and March 2010. Viewers can use the post code checker on www.digitaluk.co.uk to find out exactly when their area switches, or can phone 08456 50 50 50*.
• On September 9th Freeview (or BT Vision or Top Up TV) viewers throughout Wales must re-tune their equipment in order to continue to watch S4C.
• Viewers on all platforms need to re-tune their equipment on August 15th to choose the language of the sports commentary on certain S4C broadcasts.
• Viewers can also join S4C’s Facebook group for more information by logging onto www.facebook.com and searching for the S4C On With the Show group. They can also go to Twitter, www.twitter.com/s4cymlaenarsioe.
• S4C’s On with the show will be visiting the following areas over the coming months:
Kilvey Hill Transmitter (Swansea area)
Shows: Tuesday, 1 and Wednesday, 2 September
Workshops: Thursday, 3 – Monday, 7 September
Preseli Transmitter (south west Wales)
Shows: Saturday, 12 and Sunday, 13 September
Workshops: Thursday, 10 – Monday, 14 September
Carmel Transmitter (parts of south and central Wales)
Shows: Saturday, 19 and Sunday, 20 September
Workshops: Thursday, 17 – Monday, 21 September
Llandona Transmitter (north west Wales)
Shows: Saturday, 7 and Sunday, 8 November
Workshops: Thursday, 12 – Monday, 16 November
Moel y Parc Transmitter (north east Wales)
Shows: Saturday, 14 and Sunday, 15 November
Workshops: Thursday, 19 – Monday, 23 November
Long Mountain Transmitter (parts of east and central Wales)
Shows: Saturday, 21 and Sunday, 22 November
Workshops: Thursday, 26 – Monday, 30 November
Blaenplwyf Transmitter (parts of west and central Wales)
Shows: Saturday, 27 and Sunday, 28 February
Workshops: Thursday, 4 March – Monday, 8 March
Wenvoe Transmitter (Cardiff and south east Wales)
Shows: Saturday, 27 March and Sunday, 28 March
Workshops: Thursday, 25 March – Monday, 30 March
Full details will be published in the local press and on the s4c.co.uk/digital website closer to the dates.
Media enquiries/RSVP to Bethan Davies or Mari Waddington
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