Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North West Aindrias Moynihan is supporting his Party’s motion to establish a Public Service Fund for independent radio stations across the country. Local stations have come under increasing financial pressure in the past decade, with many having to reduce staff numbers in order to stay afloat.
Deputy Moynihan said, “Local radio stations are the lifeblood of many communities. They depend on the radio for current affairs, entertainment and local news and for many older people it provides company for them in their homes. Here in the rural areas of north and west Cork, local radio provides a sense of inclusion and company for many.
“Despite the popularity of local and regional stations, many have struggled through the past number of years as revenues took a hit. Many have had to cut staff and reduce local output to remain viable.
“Local stations have to ensure that 20% of their output is news and current affairs programming under the public service obligation, but many find it difficult to maintain a fully staffed newsroom. They are having to cut back on local coverage – something which is not done lightly given the importance of local news in a local area.
“Fianna Fáil wants to protect the future of local stations because we recognise their importance and the value of their work. Unless they are supported the future of local radio stations is in doubt.
“Following on from our policy on newspaper publishing, which seeks to protect the future of the print sector, this motion focuses on the future of broadcast media. One of the key elements of it is the establishment of a Public Service Broadcast Fund to support local and regional stations. This would be resourced through the full collection of the existing licence fee.
“This motion highlights the value of local and regional radio stations and recognises the important service they provide to their communities. This puts forward a common-sense and affordable approach to funding the sector, which is in need of an economic boost”, concluded Deputy Moynihan.