Europe’s only 24-hour country and western station, Keep It Country TV, has announced a multi-million-pound expansion across all of the UK’s Freeview free-to-air digital television network.
The expansion, following three months of negotiations between ITV and Keep It Country TV’s shareholders, will go ahead next week on 25 January.
It means the channel will now be available in up to 20 million UK households.
To date, the channel could only be received in certain Freeview areas on channel 87 and by 8 million viewers with access to Sky’s electronic programme guide (epg).
Phil McLaughlin, also known as Phil Mack, the founder of the channel, which is based in Hornchurch, Essex and has a large, dedicated audience in Ireland, said the expansion follows a commitment to invest more than £10m over the next three years and should see as much as a five-fold increase in audience figures.
“It’s a massive gamble but we had to do it, going into 20m homes,” he said.
“We are also diversifying some of our programming ad building on shows like Memory Lane and bringing in day time tv presenters like Hayley Sparkes,” added Mr McLaughlin.