Louth Senator Erin McGreehan has welcomed the announcement of a special round of funding for the independent commercial radio sector as part of the Sound & Vision Scheme.
Senator McGreehan commented: “Local radio stations, such as LMFM and Dundalk FM, play such an important role in our communities, highlighting local issues which may otherwise never be brought to light.
"They create a dialogue that is crucial in keeping our communities connected.”
The purpose of this special round is to provide support to the independent commercial radio sector to produce programming which will strengthen public awareness and understanding of COVID-19.
From today, independent commercial radio stations can apply for amounts ranging from €40,000 up to €100,000 to assist them in communicating to their listeners on COVID-19
Senator McGreehan continued: “Local voices, local news and local views - it cannot be underestimated the value of this.
"Local radio improves local democracy and local engagement in what is going on and creates a conversation on national issues, but in a local context.
“Currently, businesses - understandably - are not placing as many adverts - revenue is crucial to a sustainable radio station. This funding is very welcome.”
However, Senator McGreehan also added that the local newspaper industry cannot be overlooked in this regard either.
“It is important that the same idea is replicated for print media also.
"We are very lucky in County Louth that we have so many great local newspapers and, similar to the radio stations, a strong and supported newspaper sector is vital.”
Funding is available to cover costs directly related to the achievement of enhanced public awareness and understanding of the COVID-19 health emergency, including costs that support the achievement of these outcomes. The maximum level of funding to be awarded will have regard to the type of service provided.
The closing date for applications is Tuesday, 23rd February 2021. Funding awards will be announced as soon as practicable.
Commenting, BAI chief executive, Michael O’Keeffe said: “The BAI is pleased to support the request of Minister Martin to make funding available specifically for the independent commercial radio sector.
"We implemented a similar initiative last year, which provided the sector with much needed funding and resulted in the production and broadcast of a wide range of programme content which provided valuable information to Irish audiences at local, regional and national levels through the pandemic in 2020.
“COVID-19 continues to have a significant impact on the independent commercial radio sector and this additional funding for 2021 further recognises the role that the sector plays in supporting public awareness and understanding of this health crisis and its value as a trusted information source for listeners during the pandemic.”
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