‘We must act now to save local radio stations’ – calls for urgent action
The chairman of the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland group has called on the Government to act now to support local radio stations such as East Coast FM in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic or the industry faces losing hundreds of jobs.
John Purcell, who is also the chief executive of KCLR in Kilkenny, said Government support was “urgently” needed to keep services going in the vital weeks ahead.
Many radio presenters in the country are broadcasting their shows remotely from their own homes in an effort to maintain social distancing, including Newstalk’s Dr Ciara Kelly who admitted on air this week that she has Covid-19 while she presented her show from her Greystones house.
Mr Purcell’s call was made as the Minister for Communications Richard Burton announced that he would ask the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland to waive the broadcasting levy paid by local radio stations for the first six months of 2020 as advertising revenues tumble due to the coronavirus crisis.
Meanwhile, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Communications, Climate Action and the Environment David Cullinane said also called for support for the industry.
“As the State deals with the unprecedented challenge COVID-19 presents it is vital that the essential service provided by local and Independent radio stations is maintained,” he said.
“Local radio stations play an important and trusted role in disseminating information and keeping the public informed.
“They are now faced with an unprecedented crisis and if measures and supports are not put in place this will result in significant job losses and a loss of an effective network of stations providing essential news and keeping the public informed.”