32 applications received for €2.5 million local and independent radio funding

32 projects across various local and independent radio groups have applied to avail of €2.5 million in funding being made available by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI).

This funding was initially announced in late March by Richard Bruton, the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, due to the effect that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on advertising revenue.

Speaking last week, Minister Bruton said: “Trusted, local information has never been more important. This funding, in addition to the €1 million saved from the waiving of the broadcasting levy, will support local radio stations in every community, as they manage these very challenging times.”

This Covid-19 funding initiative is operated by the BAI under it’s ‘Sound & Vision 4’ scheme, following a request from the minister. A total of 32 applications were received.

The applications were evaluated according to the Covid-19 fund assessment criteria, which included: the public value of the proposals; the feasibility; the value for money; and the track record of the applicant.

After that assessment, all 32 applications qualified for consideration for funding.

Minister Bruton’s department also said that the BAI would operate a round of applications specifically for community radio over the summer months, in response to an additional request from the minister.

Furthermore, later in the year, another round of applications for commercial and community television broadcasters and public service broadcasters will be operated. This will include RTÉ radio services.

The department added that the BAI is reporting to the minister on the impact of these measures on the “well-being” of the commercial radio sector.

Announcing the funding on March 27 last, Minister Bruton said: “Our local and independent radio stations have a crucial role to play as we respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Communities everywhere rely on their local station as a trusted source of information and this is especially important now as we manage this pandemic,” he added.

The Sound & Vision scheme is funded by the TV licence fee from the Broadcasting Fund.

The aim of the scheme is to support the production of TV and radio programmes on “Irish culture, heritage and experience”.