For Oral Answer on : 19/10/2023
Question Number(s): 27 Question Reference(s): 45047/23
Department: Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Tourism; Culture; Arts; Gaeltacht; Sport and Media to outline the way she is supporting community radio stations across the country; the community radio stations that she has supported in the past; the amount of support each has received; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
Community radio is an important element of the overall media landscape in Ireland, playing a vital role in community engagement and cohesion, and in the promotion of social inclusion.
Support is made available to community radio stations through the Sound and Vision Scheme, which is administered by Coimisiún na Meán, and which provides dedicated funding rounds for the sector. A major innovation in the current scheme has been the establishment of Social Benefit rounds for community broadcasters. This funding supports not only the creation of a diverse range of programming, but also supports training and outreach activities.
With regard to the level of funding provided to the community radio, in 2020 €670k was awarded to 22 community radio projects focused on social benefit in Round 36 of the Sound and Vision Scheme, which was only accessible to Community Radio projects. Similarly, in 2021, Round 41 of the Sound and Vision Scheme provided awards of between €5,000 and €40,000 to 19 community radio station projects, and total funding awarded amounted to €516,300.
In addition to the funding provided to Community Radio in the ringfenced funding rounds which I have outlined, community radio stations are also encouraged to apply for open rounds of Sound and Vision, i.e. those also open to commercial radio and to television stations. Community radio projects received a further €1.14m under general Sound and Vision funding rounds in the period from 2020 to 2022.
This year, under Rounds 48 and 49 of the Scheme, funding of €710k was granted to 20 community broadcast projects across the country, including community television projects. Next year, Round 52 will open in January, when up to €750k in funding will be available for community broadcasters.
As Coimisiún na Meán are responsible for the administration of the Sound and Vision Scheme, details of the awards made to community radio projects are available directly from An Coimisiún, who also provide details of the forthcoming funding rounds.
The Future of Media Commission recommended that a new Community Media Scheme be established as part of the wider Media Fund. The Media Fund has been established on an administrative basis, and I have secured €6m for rollout next year of the first two Schemes under the Media Fund, namely the Local Democracy and Courts Reporting Schemes. Community radio stations will be eligible to apply for these Schemes.
Finally, I assure the Deputy that both An Coimisiún and I are fully committed to the continuing development and support of the wider media sector, and in particular regional, local and community media outlets.