€2.5m Sound and Vision funding a vital lifeline to local radio

Wicklow Radio archive

Additional funding is to be made available to the broadcasting sector before the end of the year, news which has been welcomed by Minister Simon Harris.

Minister Simon Harris explained: “€2.5 million additional funding has been allocated for commercial radio through the Sound and Vision scheme, which is operated by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). This is welcome news for the independent broadcasting sector, which has faced serious challenges, particularly in the past couple of years, suffering significant losses to advertising revenues.

“The Sound and Vision Scheme has both supported important public service content for the Irish public as well as making a real and significant contribution to meeting the costs of producing content for the radio sector. The additional €2.5m funding is to be provided before the end of the year and will be rolled out through the BAI in 2023. The value of this funding is greater than the full year cost of the levy for the commercial radio sector. 

“I know that this news will provide a lifeline to local radio stations in particular, including my own station East Coast FM in Co. Wicklow. This is only fitting as these very same stations provided a lifeline to so many during the pandemic, providing news, entertainment, comfort, and support to listeners on a daily basis.

“I also welcome news that the Minister intends to ask the BAI to engage with the sector with a view to understanding the dynamics of the current economic environment and its impacts on the sector. The BAI will be asked to report back to him within 100 days. This is an important step and one that must be backed up with robust and independent data.

“The Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill provides for a scheme to enable local broadcasters to avail of grant funding to provide training or professional development for persons employed by, or providing services to the broadcaster in relation to promoting good professional journalistic practices. Reducing the broadcast levy is not the only way to support the sector – but it’s vital that we establish quickly the true scale of how the current economic environment has impacted this sector if we are to chart the best path forward”.

**Photograph courtesy of Anoraks Ireland Collection / Irish Pirate Radio Archive

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