€750k fund approved for community radio

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland has announced details of a funding scheme specifically for the community radio broadcasting sector.

Part of the Sound & Vision 4 Scheme, the Community Radio Fund will see total funding of €750,000 being made available this year.

The Fund is open to BAI-licensed community, community of interest and community of special interest sound broadcasting services, and the special interest Christian / religious sound broadcasting service only.

The aim of the Fund is to derive additional social benefit for the community by providing financial support for the development of the eligible stations that positively impacts their capacity and sustainability.

Details of eligible costs can be found in the BAI’s Fund guidance document and may include funding to cover the cost of running the station, training, mentoring and for the development of programming.

A maximum of €40,000 will be available for community sound broadcasting services, while a maximum of €30,000 will be available to community of interest / special interest stations. The deadline for applications is Wednesday, 30th September 2020 and one application is permissible per eligible station.

The establishment of a Community Radio Fund for the development of the sector was a key recommendation of the independent review of the Sound & Vision 3 scheme. The funding measure will operate on a pilot basis and will be reviewed after two years.

BAI chief executive, Michael O’Keeffe said: “Each of the radio stations eligible to apply to this round contribute to their respective communities and communities of interest in a range of ways, including skills development, programme participation, enabling greater social and cultural cohesion and promoting regional diversity.

“Community radio stations are run by not-for-profit organisations and the BAI understands the financial pressures on these stations and, in particular, the level of focus that must be given to securing funding for the ongoing staffing and operation.

This can have an impact on the level to which the station fulfils its social benefits objectives. With this in mind, the Community Radio Fund was created specifically for the development of community radio. We hope that this Fund will help to build on the diversity of participation in these stations, resulting in the creation of more diverse broadcast content and in stronger community engagement and inclusiveness. We also hope that it will give the stations an opportunity to focus on building capacity to support greater sustainability.”

The Community Radio Fund is the second initiative to be announced by the BAI this year under the Sound & Vision 4 Scheme. Last month, the BAI allocated €2.5m to independent commercial radio stations under the COVID-19 funding initiative.

Later this year, the BAI will operate an open round, the parameters of which were recently considered by the Authority. In order to continue to provide support to independent producers across both audiovisual and audio production, this round will be open to commercial, community and public service television stations, and independent producers working with commercial, community and public service radio stations. It is envisaged that the application phase for this round will open in September. Further details on this round will be announced at the end of July.

Further details on the Community Radio Fund can be found here.

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