Funding of €2.5m nationally has been allocated to independent commercial radio stations from the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland with Clare FM benefiting as a result.
Under the new Sound and Vision COVID-19 initiative, Clare FM are to be awarded €95,000 in funding. Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, Richard Bruton (FG) has confirmed that the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) will be allocating €2.5m to independent local radio stations.
Clare FM successfully applied for funding under the initiative which they have received in light of their virtual concerts featuring local musicians, comedians, and other arts performers.
It will allow radio stations to continue to provide information to the public during the pandemic. Radio stations have also welcomed the waiver of the broadcasting levy for the first six months of 2020 which will see them save €1m.
Funding from the BAI for the initiative vary from €40,000 to €95,000 with the Francis St headquartered station getting the top amount.
A total of 32 applications were received from the BAI seeking total funding in the region of €2.75m. The applications were evaluated according to the COVID-19 Fund assessment criteria, which included, the public value of the proposals, feasibility, value for money; and the track record of the applicant. All 32 applications qualified for consideration for funding.
Media outlets of all guises have suffered as a result of COVID-19 with a sharp decline in advertising recorded in print, online and radio.
Radio “continues to be a key source of information” for Irish people, BAI chief executive, Michael O’Keeffe stated. He said they were very pleased with the standard of applications received. “This funding will have a significant impact on the independent commercial broadcasting sector, facilitating them to provide bespoke COVID-19 programme content that speaks directly to and for its audience.
“It will facilitate a more structured and planned approach to the pandemic which will include informed and effective engagement with, and by, local groups representing a broad range of expertise across health, social, business, community and voluntary groups. It will also offer content that is interactive, engaging and provides for a high level of social content and community outreach that would otherwise not be possible,” O’Keeffe added.
Clare TD, Joe Carey (FG) has expressed his delight with the allocation for the county’s only commercial radio station. He outlined, “Local radio stations can also avail of the Wage Subsidy Scheme to help them keep staff on the books, and can avail of a number of other grants available to businesses to help them get through the pandemic, as well as availing of the various forebearance measures announced by Revenue and the banks”.
“I am really pleased to get confirmation from Minister Bruton that in response to additional requests under the Sound & Vision 4 scheme, the BAI will also operate a funding round specifically for the community radio sector over the summer months. Later this year there will also be a separate round for the commercial and community television broadcasters and public service broadcasters, including RTÉ radio services. Details of these rounds will be announced in due course”.