The broadcasting levy paid by local radio stations to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland will be waived for the first six months of the year. The Communications Minister made the announcement this morning in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Richard Bruton says the sector is experiencing financial strain as a result of a drop off in advertising revenue and he says this will recognise the importance of local radio stations to their communities during this time.
Minister Bruton says he's also asked the BAI to assess the financial situation of local radio as a result of the pandemic.
It’s unthinkable that the services provided by local radio might be threatened by the present almost complete wipe-out of advertising revenue. That’s the view of Mayo Sinn Fein deputy Rose Conway Walsh.
The vital role local radio is playing in disseminating information during the COVID-19 challenge she argues is enormous.
“In my own constituency of Mayo, we are reliant and acutely aware of the value of Midwest Radio and the invaluable service it provides as a social inclusion mechanism and as one of the most important communication tools to combat rural isolation”.
The deputy and her party are calling for a 5 million euro emergency fund for local radio nationally to be established immediately by government and to be allocated for news, current affairs & speech-based programming.
This is in addition to the waiving of levies for 6 months announced by the Minister this morning.
Advertising revenue for radio station has been decimated over the past number of days as the impact of the pandemic hits almost every business.
Deputy Conway Walsh told Midwest New today that she has written and spoken to the Minister for Communications Richard Bruton to set up such a fund within the next number of days, to prevent the serious threat to the survival of local radio.