Spirit Radio’s licence renewal to be fast-tracked

Sole application for Christian service ‘made in good faith’, says regulator

Licence renewal: Spirit Radio has been on air since 2010 and its current licence expires at the end of 2020.

Licence renewal: Spirit Radio has been on air since 2010 and its current licence expires at the end of 2020.

 

The broadcasting regulator will fast-track the renewal of Spirit Radio’s licence after no other applications for a Christian radio service were received.

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) issued the call for expressions of interest for a quasi-national, broad-format Christian and religious sound broadcasting service on AM and FM bands in April. Only the current holder applied by the June closing date.

“The expression of interest was submitted by Spirit Radio Limited, the incumbent contractor for the service, and was deemed to have been made in good faith.”

Under the BAI’s fast-track process, another party may still submit a statement of their intent to apply for the contract, but must do so by August 29th and accompanied by a fee of €25,000.

Spirit Radio first went on air in December 2010 by means of an FM band contract covering the cities of Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford. In 2012, it signed a quasi-national contract that is due to expire at the end of 2020.

The station, based in Bray, is chaired by Tom Ascough, with other directors including Fr John Harris and Sunshine 106.8 chief executive Sean Ashmore.

Spirit accounts

The company behind the station recorded a deficit of about €12,300 in 2018, accounts filed to the Companies Office show. This compared to a deficit of almost €25,400 the previous year.

At the end of 2018, it had assets of almost €69,000 and liabilities of €37,000.

The station, which employs 12 people, had income of €547,697 in 2018.

In supplementary information attached to its audited accounts, the company states that €98,576 of this comes from advertising sales, with the majority of its income sourced from donations.

Some €233,790 was received from standing order donations, €96,335 from once-off donations, €68,000 from capital contributions and €50,996 from tax refunds through the Revenue’s charitable donation scheme.