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Ex-Lyme man makes the rigtht Choice down under
A FORMER Lyme Regis man who grew up in the town is now making a huge digital impression on the other side of the world.
Alex Breingan is the managing director of Choice TV, which is based in New Zealand, and was recently crowned the sixth most watched channel in the country following the release of recent viewing figures.
It has been a sharp rise to the top for the former Woodroffe School student, as he only launched the channel at the end of April this year.
Run by a team of 22 staff, including his wife Rachel, the station now has an annual turnover of $6 million and has been snapped up by Sky TV to be shown via their airwaves.
Mr Breingan said both he and the rest of the staff who worked at the station had been shocked by how quickly the station has taken off.
Mr Breingan said: “We are shocked by Choice TV’s success, we didn’t see it becoming so big so quickly.
“The Sky move helped of course and there are times when we rate higher with more viewers for certain shows than TV One – the New Zealand equivalent of BBC1.
“Friday before last we even out-rated Coronation Street.”
“The highlight has probably been the ratings success but there are some simple things like a viewer calls up to tell us they had given up on TV until Choice TV came along and now it’s the only channel they watch.”
After leaving Woodroffe School in 1989, Mr Breingan worked at RACAL Electronics in Seaton, before completing his A Levels and going to Durham University.
After graduating from Durham University in the mid-1990s, he was an intern on Radio 1 before moving to Orchard FM in Taunton, before becoming the producer on Jools Holland’s show on Radio 2.
He initially travelled to New Zealand with Rachel for a gap year in 2002, but they were both approached by radio stations who quickly snapped them up as DJs, meaning they have remained in the southern hemisphere country ever since.
The couple are now based in Auckland and have two children, Max, eight and Macy, seven. Alex recently returned to Lyme Regis to catch up with his friends and family.
Mr Breingan added: “We visited in the summer just gone for the first time in ten years. “My parents, Jacqui and Duncan Breingan, still live in the town and we caught up with my old friends Simon and Tanya Rattenbury. “Our kids, who have of course never met, played like old mates in the garden at the Nags Head.”