Independent commercial radio stations can apply for up to €95,000 to assist them in communicating to their listeners on COVID-19, the BAI has announced.
The special funding round will operate under the BAI’s Sound & Vision Scheme and was developed and approved by the BAI following a request by the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton.
In total, €2.5 million has been made available to support this funding round with stations able to apply for amounts ranging from €45,000 up to €95,000.
The BAI will also prioritise a funding round exclusively for the community radio sector, and, later in the year, a round for RTÉ radio services.
BAI chief executive, Michael O’Keeffe said: “The BAI is pleased to support the request of Minister Bruton to make funding available to the independent commercial radio sector. We have moved quickly to establish budget and capacity to administer this funding scheme to help to sustain the commercial radio sector, and enable it to continue its important work in providing public health information and growing awareness of COVID-19.
“Like Minister Bruton, the BAI recognises the role that the independent commercial radio sector plays in supporting public awareness and understanding of this health crisis.”
He added: “This funding round fulfils two key objectives: the first is to enable independent radio to continue to enhance social awareness and understanding of COVID-19, and the public health measures that are being put in place to protect our population.
“The second objective is to help to sustain the sector: like businesses across the country, independent radio has experienced a sharp and sudden decline in revenues. However, the importance of independent radio as an agent in informing and supporting communities through this crisis has grown.”
Features of the funding round Sound & Vision 4 – COVID-19 (S&V4 COVID 19) are as follows:
- The COVID-19 funding initiative is open to BAI licensed commercial sound broadcasting services only, that fulfil the criteria set out in section 3 of the S&V4 COVID-19 Funding Initiative guidelines.
- The maximum level of funding per applicant is €95,000, or for a joint application the maximum of €95,000 is per station member of the joint application.
- Funding is available to cover costs directly related to the achievement of enhanced public awareness and understanding of the worldwide COVID-19 health emergency, including costs that support the achievement of these outcomes.
Further information is available in the S&V4 COVID-19 Funding Initiative guidelines document, which is available on the BAI website.
In addition to these COVID-19-specific measures announced under the Sound & Vision Scheme, the BAI has also agreed to waive levy payments from the independent radio sector for the first six months of 2020, as requested by the Minister.
Reporting on the impact of the COVID-19 funding initiative on independent radio
Upon completion of the process, the BAI will also provide the Minister with an assessment on the financial impact of the measures on independent radio stations.
According to Michael O’Keeffe: “In addition to supporting all of the measures requested by the Minister, the BAI is providing advice and assistance to broadcasters at an individual level, across the independent commercial and community radio and television sectors, and to the public service broadcasting sector. We realise the important contribution they are all making during this public health emergency.
“The BAI will continue to monitor impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on the broadcasting sector, and we intend to work closely with the sector and the Minister to ensure the public are kept informed of essential information by their local and national broadcasters during this pandemic.”
The maximum level of funding to be awarded will have regard to the type of service provided. The closing date for applications is Wednesday, 29th April 2020. Applications will be assessed as a matter of priority and funding awards announced as soon as practicable.