Senator for Roscommon-Galway Aisling Dolan has said that radio continues to play a pivotal role in Irish life following the announcement of €4.9 million of additional financial supports for the broadcasting sector. The supports are targeted at independent radio, in particular local and regional radio, and the production of programmes that support the live music sector.
Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport & Media Catherine Martin announced additional funding of €2.5m for the independent radio sector as part of the funding package. The Minister also wrote to the BAI requesting that they develop a funding round for the independent radio sector early next year. Minister Martin asked that local and regional radio stations in particular would be prioritised.
Senator Aisling Dolan said: “I’m delighted to see over €2.5 million for a fund to support independent radio stations and particularly regional stations. The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) will launch this fund in early 2021.”
The Fine Gael Senator added that the funding will be a welcome boost for independent radio stations; “This support for our well-loved local radio stations is much needed as advertising revenue has dropped during the Covid-19 crisis. It is in addition to the waiver of the broadcasting levy for the first half of 2020.”
Minister Martin said radio has played a vital role in providing reliable news and information to citizens throughout the Covid-19 crisis, and in bringing together local communities. “I hope these extra funds will help local radio stations across the country who have had a difficult year. I have met with the sector and heard their concerns and want to ensure that local radio stations have more support as we hopefully look towards a better period for the country next year.”
Recognising the severe challenges faced by the live music sector as a result of COVID-19, the Minister also asked the BAI to include a call for specific projects to support this sector in the next general round of Sound and Vision and has provided €1.4m for this purpose. Senator Aisling Dolan said this was positive news and welcomed the fact that the Minister asked the BAI to allocate €1m of the additional funding to the current Sound and Vision round. “I am delighted to hear this. The Sound and Vision round this time was hugely oversubscribed and it provides much needed support for the independent production sector.”