Musical talent search among broadcasting projects awarded State funding

TV and radio projects including Virgin drama Redemption share €7.2m funding

A radio talent search for musicians in each county of the Republic and an RTÉ One television programme called Your Song: the People's Playlist are among eight broadcasting projects to share a €1.4 million State funding pot designed to support the live music sector.

Independent Broadcasters of Ireland, the group that represents the non-RTÉ radio sector, has been allocated €297,600 for Irish Music Month, a county-by-county competition run in partnership with magazine Hot Press. It will culminate in a grand finale that airs across its member stations.

Your Song: the People's Playlist, made for RTÉ by production company Shinawil, received the highest award in the special funding round by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI), and was granted €355,000 for the one-off, two-hour show.

Fanning at Whelan's, in which Dave Fanning showcases Irish artists performing at the Dublin music venue, was awarded €285,000 for a run of eight episodes on Virgin Media One.


Other recipients included Foster & Allen – Lost in Music for RTÉ One and a Galway-set series Séisiúin sa Black Gate for TG4, as well as projects for RTÉ Lyric FM, RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta and Dublin City FM.

This was the first time the BAI ran a dedicated funding round aimed at increasing the number of live music shows on television and radio. The scheme was announced by Minister for Media Catherine Martin last December in response to the impact of Covid-19 on the sector.

“These projects will allow us to listen to a diverse range of artists perform, both established and new, with a wide variety of styles. I am also happy to note that so many female artists will be supported,” Ms Martin said.

Redemption drama

The recipients were announced as part of a total funding round of €7.2 million under the BAI’s Sound and Vision scheme, which – with the exception of special ministerial initiatives – is financed through a portion of television licence fee receipts.

Redemption, a six-part Virgin Media Television and ITV crime drama, received the highest sum, with its Irish producer Metropolitan Films awarded €500,000, while a six-part RTÉ One adaptation of Lisa McInerney's novel The Glorious Heresies, produced by Parallel Films, received €475,000.

“Once again, the funding sought under this round of the scheme far exceeded the level of funding available and indeed the allocated funding exceeds the indicative budgets by close to €500,000,” said BAI chief executive Michael O’Keeffe.

“This additional funding is within the overall funding available to the scheme and we are happy to allocate it now, as it provides additional support to the AV ] and audio sectors at this difficult time, when the industry continues to experience the adverse impacts resulting from Covid-19 restrictions.”

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery is an Irish Times journalist writing about media, advertising and other business topics