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Thursday 5 May 2011. The Independent Broadcasters of Ireland (IBI) which represents the independent radio sector in Ireland has called on Government to amend the 2009 Broadcasting Act to allow a greater portion of the TV Licence Fee to be allocated to the Sound & Vision Broadcasting Fund.

Speaking on the publication of the latest JNLR which shows that 2.428 million people or 69% of the population listen to independent radio every day, Scott Williams, Chairman of the IBI said;

“Colm McCarthy’s Review Group recommended that the portion of the license fee allocated to the Broadcasting Fund be increased substantially from its current level of 7%, in order to ‘better equalise conditions of competition between RTE and independent broadcasters’.  Fine Gael’s pre-election proposals stated that in Government they would increase the broadcasting fund to 15% over five years and that they would encourage more production companies and independent TV and Radio networks to bid for funding.   The need is recognised and must be acted upon. As the proposal is cost neutral to the State there is no reason for it to be long fingered.  Today’s JNLR figures confirm the dominance of independent radio and it deserves to be supported in a far more comprehensive way by Government”.

Mr. Williams said that while RTE was in receipt of the TV Licence Fee it should not be permitted to apply for funding from the Sound & Vision Broadcasting Funding Scheme.

“RTE was subsidised to the tune of €200 million last year from the TV Licence Fee. While it is in receipt of this funding it should not be allowed to apply for additional funds from Sound & Vision.  The IBI would also like the BAI to review Sound & Vision in order to remove the red tape associated with funding applications and make it more accessible to producers and independent broadcasters.  In particular we believe that the funding allocation between TV and Radio should be reviewed to support quality radio programming specifically”.