The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland is intending to extend the terms of the two Contracts held by iRadio – North West and North East and Midlands.
The regulator has published a Voluntary Disclosure Notice in order to allow any interested parties to make submissions if they object to or oppose the proposed extension of the current Contract held by the station to 31st December 2019.
The BAI says it wants iRadio to be able to benefit from new, future legislation which would give the owners the flexibility to operate the two Contracts as one station, as per the special permission given in 2010 and 2011.
In a statement, BAI says: “In these circumstances, the Authority considers that the award of a new broadcasting Contract for the North West franchise area should be delayed for a period of some 24 months in order to ensure that the Contract would be awarded in a manner consistent with the Authority’s new Broadcasting Services Strategy and its Licensing Plan for 2018/2019. To ensure the orderly continuation of broadcasting services in the intervening period, it is considered necessary for the Authority to extend the term of the current Contract to 31 December 2019.”
Any such submissions are required to be made on or before 12 noon 27th July 2017.
The Contracts provides for the regional, youth music-driven sound broadcasting service for a) the North West Region (serving the counties of Galway, Mayo, Longford, Roscommon, Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal) and b) the North East & Midlands Region (serving the counties Louth, Meath, Cavan, Monaghan, Kildare, Northeast Laois, Offaly and Westmeath).
It is the intention of the BAI to extend the term of the Contract from 6th January 2018 to 31st December 2019.
As a consequence, an open contractual award procedure in accordance with Part 6 of the Broadcasting Act 2009 for the award of a new Contract for the areas will be deferred until mid-2018.