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Dublin: 13 °C Sunday 21 December, 2014

Independent radio stations tell Rabbitte: Don’t let RTE monopolise the airwaves

“Despite the fact that RTE is a minority player in terms of audience they hold a virtual stranglehold on public funding from the licence fee”.

Image: Antique radio via Shutterstock

A GROUP REPRESENTING Ireland’s 34 independent radio stations has asked for a meeting with RTE and Pat Rabbitte to address what it says is an unfairness in Ireland’s radio landscape.

At its annual conference today, the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland (IBI) said RTE should not be allowed to “dominate the debate or monopolise the future” when independent radio stations have such a large audience.

The group said that despite RTE being a “minority player in terms of audience, they hold a virtual stranglehold on public funding from the licence fee”.

“This needs to change,” said John Purcell of the IBI.

Independent radio stations make up 67 per cent of the radio market, with 7 out of every 10 minutes listened to radio in Ireland spent listening to a non State-funded station, the group said.

The IBI wants to meet with the Communications Minister to establish ‘fair and equitable’ rules on Ireland’s airwaves.

The group made the comments as the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland is due to publish a major report into the funding of public service broadcasters RTE and TG4.

John Purcell said all radio broadcasters face commercial pressures but that RTE has the ‘safety net’ of the licence fee.

“It can claim to be a public service broadcaster on the one hand and shamelessly seek audiences by whatever means necessary on the other,” he said.

We don’t expect to be treated the same but we want to be treated equitably.

Read: 84 per cent of all adults listen to radio on a daily basis >

Read:  iRadio founder Dan Healy to head RTE 2FM >

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