Thursday 23 February 2017

Commercial stations deserve a greater share of licence fee

Patrick O'Donovan

'Every day across Ireland thousands of people tune into local, regional, commercial and community radio stations'
'Every day across Ireland thousands of people tune into local, regional, commercial and community radio stations'

What is Public Service Broadcasting and how is it defined? Well, according to law "public service broadcaster" applies to RTÉ, TG4, the Houses of the Oireachtas Channel and the Irish Film Channel. But surely it's more than that. I believe today it should be something along the lines of a broadcaster, public or private, whose role is to inform and entertain its audience within certain guidelines.

Every day across Ireland thousands of people tune into local, regional, commercial and community radio stations. They turn the dial for local news, current affairs, community notes, sports programmes, agricultural programmes and obituaries. Also, throughout the year, regional, provincial and national sporting events, together with days special like election counts, are broadcast. Most days people can listen to their public representatives debating national and local issues while being held to account on these stations. While this is an important feature of how our democracy works, it isn't recognised at all.

It's not that long ago that familiar voices could be heard on the airwaves with about the same frequency as a fly-past from Halley's Comet. Radio was very much a Dublin-centric medium.

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