AV Festival 11:36am, 22 October 2007
Mike Neville. The region’s best known presenter who stepped down last year is an iconic figure in the North East where he has been the face of both ITV and BBC regional news at different times.

Mike came out of retirement to launch the UK’s biggest International Audio Visual Festival on the day that the BBC starts switching off analogue television signals in Whitehaven on Wednesday 17th October. Along with AV Festival Director Honor Harger, Mike made the trip to Pontop Pike - the transmitter that provides most of the North East and North Yorkshire.

Mike Neville Launches AV Festival theme as 'Broadcast' at Pontop Pike transmitter

Festival Director Honor Harger said:

“It seemed appropriate that on the day the analogue switch over begins, AV Festival are announcing their broadcast theme from the transmitter which will be the last one in Great Britain to complete digital switchover in 2012.

The internet and mobile networks have created opportunities for us to ‘broadcast ourselves’ in entirely new ways. As the landscape of broadcasting changes irrevocably, AV Festival 08 will be a catalyst for debate about the future of broadcasting, and an event to celebrate a century of on-air and online transmission.”

AV Festival 08 is organised by Audio Visual Arts North East, an independent charitable company. AV Festival 08 forms part of NewcastleGateshead's world-class festivals and events programme managed by culture10, based at NewcastleGateshead Initiative.

Pontop Pike mast was built in 1953 and its construction was brought forward by the BBC so that people in North East England could watch the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II live on the 405-lines monochrome VHF television system then in use in the UK.
Analogue TV transmissions from this mast are due to cease on 25 October 2012, making Pontop Pike the very last transmitter in Great Britain to complete digital switchover.

The full programme for AV Festival 08 will be announced in January 2008, but you can sign up for regular updates on www.avfestival.co.uk
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