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RTE has been slammed for its ‘wilful abandonment of its public broadcasting remit’ by Willie O’Reilly, chairman of the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland.

Speaking following the publication of the latest JLNR figures, Mr. O’Reilly said the announcement by RTÉ earlier this week that it was revamping its 2FM schedule to target 25 – 44 year olds meant not one of the national broadcasters three FM stations now catered for Ireland’s youth population.

“There are over 600,000 15-24 year olds living in Ireland who are being told by RTÉ Radio, you don’t matter and we don’t want to know you. That is a terrible indictment of the mindset within RTÉ, which has been consistently watering down its public broadcasting remit over the past number of years, despite the fact that over €200 million of its annual income is paid for by taxpayers through the license fee”, he said

“Claire Duignan (RTÉ head of Radio) candidly admitted that 2FM has been under pressure from independent radio and is losing ground to their innovative ability to get close to their audience and build a loyal listenership base. But rather than abandoning the market, RTÉ should learn from the independents and give their listeners what they want.

“RTÉ Radio 1, 2FM and Lyric FM are all targeting the 25+ age cohort. This is regrettable and does not reflect RTÉ’s own mission to provide programmes which ‘reflect the cultural and regional diversity of all the people of Ireland’”.

Mr. O’Reilly pointed out that if RTÉ was regulated in the same manner as the independent sector it would not have been allowed to introduce changes to its schedule “at the drop of a hat”.

“Every independent radio station must obtain approval from the Broadcasting Commission before it can introduce programming changes. This process can often take months, and the BCI can reject the proposed changes if it believes it is not in the interest of radio listeners or broadcasting in Ireland. RTÉ is not subject to this stringent oversight. We are hopeful however that the new Broadcasting Authority of Ireland will introduce a more level playing field when it is established later this year”, he said

The Joint National Listenership Research (JNLR) figures published today shows that nearly 64% of the listening population (2.412 million people) continue to tune in to independent radio on a daily basis. Independent radio has a significant share of the listening market in the key 7am to 7pm slot compared to the state-funded stations.

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Further information:
Lisa Ni Choisdealbha, Independent Broadcasters of Ireland: 087-2038956
Laurie Mannix MKC Communications: (01) 7038600

About the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland
The Independent Broadcasters of Ireland (IBI) is the representative body for Ireland’s independent commercial radio broadcasters. The mission of the IBI is to champion the agenda of independent broadcasters in Ireland and to be a distinct and coherent national voice in the ongoing campaign for competitive equality across the sector.

The independent voice of Ireland, 64% of the population tune into independent radio on a daily basis. This translates into weekday figures of 2.412 million listeners. With more than 1500 people employed in the sector, independent broadcasters make a significant economic, social and cultural contribution to the Irish economy. The IBI represents 2 national radio stations, 4 regional radio stations and 27 local radio stations. For more information please visit: www.ibireland.ie