Radio stations will receive up to €95,000 under Covid-19 scheme

Special €2.5m funding round launched by Broadcasting Authority of Ireland

The highest possible award will be for local speech and information radio stations. Photograph: iStock.

The highest possible award will be for local speech and information radio stations. Photograph: iStock.

 

Independent commercial radio stations can apply for up to €95,000 in special funds to help them raise “public awareness and understanding of Covid-19” in a €2.5 million scheme launched by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.

The regulator has introduced the special funding round on the request of Minister for Communications Richard Bruton.

Licensed commercial radio stations can from Wednesday apply for sums ranging from €45,000 to €95,000 per station under the round, which is paid for out of the existing Sound & Vision scheme financed by a portion of licence fee receipts.

The funding is available to cover costs “directly related” to the aim of enhancing public awareness and understanding of the health emergency and the closing date for applications is April 29th, with funding decisions “announced as soon as practicable”.

The maximum award of €95,000 will be available to local speech and information radio stations, with the upper limit for national speech and information stations set at €85,000.

Local, regional and national music-driven stations can receive up to €70,000, while stations holding “niche music-driven” licences may be awarded up to €45,000.

The funding will not cover work that has already taken place.

Sustaining radio

BAI chief executive Michael O’Keeffe said the regulator recognised the role that sector played in its coverage of the coronavirus crisis.

“We have moved quickly to establish budget and capacity to administer this funding scheme to help to sustain the commercial radio sector, and enable it to continue its important work in providing public health information and growing awareness of Covid-19,” he said.

He noted that independent radio stations have suffered “a sharp and sudden decline in revenues” in common with other businesses across Ireland.

The levy paid by independent stations to fund the cost of their regulation has also been waived for six months.

Mr O’Keeffe said the BAI was separately “providing advice and assistance” to individual broadcasters, including both public service broadcasters and the community radio and television sector.

“The BAI will continue to monitor impacts of the Covid-19 crisis on the broadcasting sector.”