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GMG cuts programming, staff at Channel M

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Guardian Media Group has confirmed plans to reduce original programming and cut 29 staff from its regional digital station Channel M.

The channel, which broadcasts throughout Greater Manchester, will remain on-air in the short-term with a team of four employees managing a schedule of archive material and networked news.

From Friday, Channel M will cease transmission of its Channel M Today programme, which will be replaced by library material.

Channel M's future has been in the balance ever since Trinity Mirror opted against taking the network when it acquired Manchester Evening News from GMG last month.

In a statement, GMG said that it has received various expressions of interest, but "a viable offer for the station has not emerged".

"Following the review of Channel M, we have reached the conclusion that the station is no longer sustainable in its current form," said the publisher.

"This is due to a number of factors, including the absence of a committed buyer, the loss of access to news from MEN Media, and the costs associated with the requirement to leave the Urbis building.

"As a result, from this Friday the station will no longer broadcast evening magazine show Channel M Today, and will cease production of original news and features video.

"Channel M will remain on air, focusing in the short-term on a mixture of archive material, traffic and networked news. GMG will remain the owner and operator of both Channel M and the associated Freeview multiplex business in Manchester."

However, the decision has been met with sadness on Digital Spy's Broadcasting forum, with many members decrying the lack of city-based TV networks in the UK.

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