Offaly TD calls for support for local media as ad revenues collapse
Carol Nolan, Independent TD for Laois/Offaly, has said she supports the urgent calls being made by local radio stations for the broadcasting levy, paid to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI), to be waived for the full calendar year.
Deputy Nolan went on to say that while the decision by the Minister for Communications, Richard Bruton, to suspend payment of the levy for the next 6 months was welcome; it is entirely insufficient given the level of financial strain that local radio and papers have come under since the Covid-19 crisis erupted.
“We know that local radio and local media have suffered a significant and dramatic fall-off in commercial advertising revenue since this current crisis began.
"This has only compounded the challenges that the local media sector already faced-such as Google and Facebook taking an estimated 73% of advertising revenue.
"That is why it is absolutely critical that the Minister supports the calls that have been made for an extension of the broadcasting levy waiver beyond the next 6 months. I have written to the Minister asking him to take immediate action to extend the waiver.
"Without this measure, local broadcasters such as Midlands Radio 3 and Tipp FM will not be able to overcome the financial shock that has hit the sector.
"We also have to remember that local newspapers and online media platforms here in Offaly and Laois provide an invaluable public service and are trusted platforms within our communities.
"They also need to be considered and included in any rescue package that might emerge.
"We need to maintain these services, especially as many people are having to cope with so much fake news from unreliable sources.
"I am a passionate believer in keeping things local and supporting our local jobs and enterprises. Now more than ever this approach is vitally important,” concluded Deputy Nolan.