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The Independent radio sector has held up very well in retaining a loyal audience base and strong advertising revenues despite the recession. This is in spite of the unfair competitive advantage enjoyed by RTE which can promote its radio stations liberally on TV – to evident success for Radio 1.

So commented Willie O’Reilly, Chairman of the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland, who said that RTE’s advantage was further enhanced by the cushion provided by revenue from the licence fee.

“The cosy family relationship between RTE radio and its television stations meant that RTE radio was not constrained in promotional spend last year, unlike the independent sector, which, like many other businesses faced restricted marketing budgets over the past 12 months. RTE benefits hugely from free advertising for its own programmes – which has a negative effect on the commercial revenue of the independent sector”, said O’Reilly.

“Growth in the independent broadcasting sector has been achieved without the benefit of a licence fee subvention or indeed the extensive resources which our national broadcaster enjoys. Independent broadcasters must exist on the strength of their advertising revenue alone, unlike RTE who enjoy both licence fee funding and ad revenue”, he said. “This provides unfair advantage to the state broadcaster”.

Mr O’Reilly was speaking after the latest Joint National Listenership Research (JNLR) which shows that 64% of the listening population (2.382 million people) continue to tune in to independent radio on a daily basis.

“The JNLR figures published today continue to show that independent radio has a significant share of the listening market in the key 7am to 7pm slot compared to the state-funded stations,” said Mr O’Reilly. “For businesses where advertising budgets have come under increasing scrutiny and return on investment is crucial, independent radio delivers this with access to over two million listeners. Given the JNLR figures today there can be no doubt that independent broadcasters remain the true radio voice of Ireland,” Mr O’Reilly stated.

Mr O’Reilly added that he looked forward to welcoming Ireland’s latest independent broadcaster, 4FM, onto the airwaves in two weeks time. “Independent radio is a vibrant sector and the addition of 4FM at the end of February to the airwaves will only add to the diversity the sector offers.”

-Ends-

Further information
Lisa Ni Choisdealbha, Independent Broadcasters of Ireland: 087-2038956
Laurie Mannix / Celine Crawford, 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 2.382 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