County Clare’s award-winning radio station has welcomed proposals from Fianna Fáil that could see part of the TV licence fee divided among independent local radio stations.
The party has said the Independent Broadcasting Bill 2017 seeks to extend support to the broadcasting of local news and current affairs by providing funding which will strengthen and promote diversity in media.
Commenting at the launch of the Bill, the party’s Communications spokesperson Timmy Dooley Dooley said: “Independent, public service broadcasting has an important place in our society and we must do more to value it.
There has been a significant shift in advertising spending towards social media platforms, and traditional media organisations are increasingly starved of revenue. This makes it near impossible to continue to provide the level of news and current affairs to the standards expected.”
“Creating original news content is quite expensive, and the lack of funding for independent and local stations often makes it impossible for them to do so. This means that local communities miss out on content that is specific and important to their locality, such as coverage of local sports events or history programmes with a local twist,’ Deputy Dooley said.
“For democracy to properly function, it is essential that our citizens can access honest, unbiased news coverage of the events that matter to them,” he added.
Managing Director of Clare FM Mr Liam O’Shea said: “I really welcome Fianna Fáil’s proposed broadcasting legislation. It’s certainly a major breakthrough in long overdue reform in our industry.
I am delighted to see that it’s one of our own, Timmy Dooley TD, who is the ‘brains’ behind it. It is really innovative but nevertheless very easy to implement and I congratulate him on its simplicity.”
“The publication of this bill is hugely significant to us here in Clare FM as it explicitly recognises the public service role we play and the critical importance of this role to all our listeners. Because of the high cost of providing what we believe is a very high quality News and Sports Service, as well as broadcasting three hours of current affairs on our flagship Talk Show, Morning Focus, this Bill if implemented can be a life saver for us.
The financial pressure on Clare FM in providing all of these services is growing at an alarming rate and without urgent legislative action we will not be able to sustain our high level of public service broadcasting into the future. It is really imperative that the Dáil takes steps to enact this Bill without delay,” Mr O’Shea added.