Local radio station levy to be waived for six months

Minister for Communications Richard Bruton asks regulator to review sector

Many radio presenters have this week broadcast from their own homes rather than their usual station studios. Photograph: iStock

Many radio presenters have this week broadcast from their own homes rather than their usual station studios. Photograph: iStock

 

The broadcasting levy paid by local radio stations will be waived for the first six months of 2020 to help them continue during the coronavirus crisis despite disappearing advertising revenues.

Minister for Communications Richard Burton said he would request that the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland implement the waiver, which he said would save local radio stations almost €1 million between them.

“I recognise the importance of local radio stations to their communities as a trusted source of information on the Covid -19 pandemic. They play a crucial role, especially in broadcasting community specific information across the country,” the Minister said.

“In common with other businesses, the local radio sector has experienced financial strain as a result of a drop off in advertising revenue.”

The move will “ensure that local radio stations can continue to play a role in serving local communities”.

Mr Bruton also said he had asked the broadcasting regulator to conduct an urgent assessment of the financial predicament of the local radio sector.

The stations are also entitled to the range of forbearance measures announced by Revenue Commissioners and the banks, he added.

Many radio presenters around Ireland have this week broadcast their shows remotely from their own homes.

John Purcell, the chief executive of Carlow-Kildare station KCLR and the chairman of the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland group, yesterday said Government support was “urgently” needed to keep services going in the vital weeks ahead.