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JNLR figures published today point to the continued dominance and popularity of independent radio with the listening public.  2.51 million people listen to independent radio every day compared to 1.26 million listeners to RTÉ.

Newly elected Chairman of the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland, John Purcell said; “The real story of this and every JNLR is that independent radio is the clear leader in the Irish radio market. This fact has been relegated to a footnote of analysis for too long. Concentration on the marginal rise and fall in the audiences of a few presenters on the State Broadcaster RTÉ ignores the real story: the most listened to radio in Ireland is independent radio. It’s time to “get with the programme” and reflect the fact that across all the key listenership indicators, the combined strength of independent radio versus RTÉ is unassailable”.

Purcell said that the JNLR’s provided further evidence, if it was needed, of the requirement for sensible and fair reform of the broadcasting landscape.

“Reform is needed across a range of areas – the position of RTÉ as the so-called only public service broadcaster, the funding of the industry and the regulatory framework all need to be addressed to ensure that a vibrant and positive independent broadcasting sector can grow and develop, sustaining jobs, providing a service to our listeners and contributing positively to society”, he said.

Earlier this year the IBI launched a policy document on the Future Funding of the Broadcasting Sector and is lobbying to ensure that the public service provided by all radio stations, regardless of ownership is recognised and supported by the new Public Service Broadcasting Levy.

“Radio is not like most industries in that we give our core product – our programmes, free to over 2.5 million people every day and in so doing provide a service that is core the our unique Irish society and lifestyle.  This should be recognised”, he said.

Purcell feels strongly that Minister Rabbitte’s response to its proposals, which appears to have been to dismiss them out of hand, is at odds with the Government’s job creation policy and with its commitment to review the funding of broadcasters in the programme for Government.

“A multinational company announcing 1500 jobs would be welcomed with open arms and given huge incentives to locate here.  We may not be a large multinational company, but the fact is that we are more deeply rooted in our communities, we create jobs for 1500 people, we contribute to the local, regional and national economies where we operate and make a huge contribution to society.  The Minister needs to recognise that we have a valid and reasonable case which we will pursue vigorously”, he said.

“Seven out of every 10 minutes of all radio listening in Ireland is to an independent radio station. Every week our members provide more than 1300 hours of public service broadcasting content to local audiences.  Independent radio is successful because it is relevant to people’s lives; it reflects their concerns and listeners identify with the people on air in independent radio stations”.

Purcell expressed thanks to the listeners to independent radio on behalf of the more than 1,500 people who work in the sector.

“Once again we’re delighted with the results of the JNLR for the sector and I’d like to use this opportunity to thank our listeners for their loyalty, support and dedication to the services we provide.”

Mr. Purcell, who is Chief Executive and Shareholder in KCLR 96FM (Carlow & Kilkenny) is a veteran of the industry having been a founder Director of Anna Livia radio station in 1991. He was General Manager of Radio Kilkenny as from 1993 – 1998 and is a former director and shareholder in regional radio station Beat 102103.  Purcell is also a director of national radio station, Newstalk.