CHIPPING Norton-based Country Channel TV has celebrated its first birthday in true rockin' style - broadcasting its first live concert featuring rock legends Eric Clapton, Bryan Ferry, Stevie Winwood, Kenny Jones, and Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel.

The three-day Countryside Rocks concert from Highclere Castle in Berkshire, in aid of the Countryside Alliance, was beamed around the world by the web-based channel.

"More than 8,000 people watched it and we had a flood of emails from as far away as Nebraska and Honolulu saying how much people enjoyed it," said station founder and former New Wave pop star Paul Aitken, who had a chart hit himself with The Banned. "Many viewers have asked to buy DVDs of the concert but we only had permission to stream it live.

"We broadcast for six hours via satellite and the web and it went really well. It made a great birthday celebration for us"

As well as the live performances, Paul interviewed Steve Harley live and Kenny Jones, now a country gent with his own polo club.

"Kenny Jones was my hero," said Paul. "It was a joy to interview him, and we'll be filming a feature at his polo club for the channel this summer."

Since it's launch at the beginning of June last year, performed by local MP David Cameron, the channel has notched up around a quarter of a million viewers.

It has six different programme strands from country matters, including farming, and country living, to wildlife, recreation, equestrian and country sports. Items can be as diverse as newscaster Bill Turnbull on bees and BBC presenter Adam Henson from Cotswold Farm Park on animals.

It now boasts 25,000 regular viewers and a place in the top one per cent of all Internet sites. Some of its programmes can be seen on Sky.

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