IBI calls for commercial radio consideration in RTÉ broadcast funding plans

The IBI has today highlighted the challenges facing core News and Current Affairs in the sector.

It comes following the announcement of the recovery plan in RTÉ and in the context of publicity about major and imminent Government decisions on broadcast funding.

The IBI believes believe it is absolutely vital that the crisis in News and Current Affairs in the sector is central to consideration by Government of wider funding for broadcasting.

The Independent Broadcasters of Ireland Chief Executive, Michael Kelly, said: “I would be highly concerned if the problems in RTÉ as outlined today were to be addressed in isolation without taking into account the need to preserve the core, day-to-day, News and Current Affairs in the independent sector, which constitutes very important Public Service Content provided to listeners by our stations. Currently zero funding from the Exchequer or TV licence is provided to the independent sector for its core News and Current Affairs.

“The survival of broadcast media is not just about RTÉ, and I have today written to the leaders of all of the political parties emphasising the nature of the crisis and seeking meetings to discuss it,” he said.

He continued: “While most of the public attention in the past year has related understandably to issues and problems around RTÉ, we in independent radio would emphasise that we face extremely serious challenges in funding and resourcing the specific News and Current Affairs part of our services.

“Against the background or major funding and resourcing challenges, it is clear that none of the schemes proposed up to now can help the core News and Current Affairs to survive and thrive in our sector in the near term.

“The Independent Broadcasters of Ireland believes that interim financial support can be, and must be, urgently made available to our sector. There is a crisis in News and Current Affairs in our sector and the direction of travel at the moment is that it could disappear, as has happened in regions in the UK and US.

“Helping save News and Current Affairs in Ireland’s independent radio sector can be done at a small fraction of the funding provided for broadcasting overall. Action is urgently needed now.”

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This story first appeared on Radio Today