FF moves to provide funding for local journalism through regional radio stations – Chambers

Published on: 28 February 2019

Fianna Fáil TD for Mayo Lisa Chambers is supporting her Party’s motion to establish a Public Service Fund for independent radio stations across the country. Local stations have been under financial pressure over the past decade, with many having to reduce staff numbers in order to stay afloat.

Deputy Chambers 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. In my own constituency of Mayo in the rural areas 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.

“We have proposed a Public Service Broadcast Fund to address this imbalance.  This would be resourced through the full collection of the existing licence fee.

“I look forward to supporting my party colleagues when this motion is debated in the Dáil given its importance to rural communities and journalism in the West.  We just need the government to implement it”, concluded Deputy Chambers.

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