Scott Williams has been appointed Chairman of the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland (IBI), the representative body for Ireland’s independent commercial broadcasters, both radio and television. Mr. Williams is Chief Executive of Q102.
Mr. Williams said that an immediate priority will be scrutiny of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland’s (BAI) first three year budget due to be published by the BAI in September.
“The reason, and the only reason, that there is a requirement on the BAI to publish a three year budget in advance, was because the IBI successfully lobbied for this requirement to be included in the Broadcasting Act.
“If independent radio has to pay for regulation then the regulator must provide a transparent and a clear account that offers the very best value for money. This demand for ‘best value for money’ from industry and from politicians saw the BAI budget reduced by €2 million this year. That was a significant saving for all broadcasters at a time when many were under financial pressure due to the economic downturn”, he said.
Mr. Williams said that IBI members were encouraged by BAI Chief Executive Michael O’Keeffe’s commitment to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications that he will be seeking to maintain the annual budget of the BAI at current levels.
“The IBI will be pushing hard for a critical examination of the BAI’s proposed three year budget. In my view there are aspects of the budget that are purely public service projects and should be funded from the licence fee. These projects are not regulatory and therefore should not be borne by the independent sector. This of course would be a very significant departure, but it is one that in the interests of fairness, we should look at proactively”, said Williams.
Mr. Williams said that a significant issue which he wanted to address during his term as Chairman of the IBI was the continued promotion of radio as a unique medium.
“We are underselling the power of radio as an advertising medium and we need to do a better and more comprehensive job of explaining and selling radio to advertisers. Research shows that radio, together with cinema, has the lowest level of advertising avoidance. People rarely switch stations, and are available to listen to any message that is relevant, creative or intriguing. This is a great opportunity for advertisers who want to reach out to new customers or to tell existing customers something they didn’t know”.
“We do not have a dedicated capacity to research and to prove our case, to help sell our advertising, on a systematic basis. We have to do better and it’s time to re-evaluate our options in this regard”, he said.
Mr. Williams expressed confidence in the future of the independent radio sector which employs over 1500 people in Ireland. “Independent radio continues to provide a valuable public service to listeners and the latest JNLR figures, published last week, show that the popularity of independent radio remains high among listeners. 64.5% of the listening population (2.473 million people) continue to choose independent radio on a daily basis. While there is no doubt that our sector continues to face challenges, I am confident that we will remain a strong voice for people throughout the length and breadth of Ireland”.
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, 64.5% of the population tune into independent radio on a daily basis. This translates into weekday figures of 2.473 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, 1 multicity radio station, 4 regional radio stations and 27 local radio stations. For more information please visit: www.ibireland.ie.
For information please contact:
Laurie Mannix MKC Communications 01 7038620