In the Seanad on Tuesday, Fine Gael’s Dr. Liam Twomey called on the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Deputy Eamon Ryan to discuss the potential negative effects the 3% levy for the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) could have on jobs and the future viability of local radio stations.
Dr. Twomey said “Because of the recent legislation which has been passed, three radio stations across Ireland could end up being closed. The levy has already cost people their jobs and works against small local radio stations. The cost of running the BAI is equivalent to the turnover of three local radio stations.” He added that local radio stations are of great benefit to local communities. “We do not want to see two or three go out of business because of a levy which discriminates against smaller stations and which does not appear to have been fully thought through by the Minister.”
Given the fact that advertising revenue was down by 20-25% last year with another expected 5% decrease this year, the introduction of this levy is coming at a bad time for radio stations. This levy will fund the BAI with €7.4 million per annum.
“Our local radio station in county Wexford, South East Radio, provides a vital service and it is the same with local radio stations across the country. We should be doing our best to support these local businesses, during this difficult time, not putting more financial pressure on them”, said Dr. Twomey. The latest results from the JNLR survey shows that South East Radio has 50,000 adult listeners per day. It also has a weekly reach of 61% which equates to 67,000 weekly listeners over the age of 15. “These figures show how important South East Radio Station is to the Wexford community.”
Dr. Twomey has promised to continue to press this issue regarding the levy with Minister Ryan.
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