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Commercial radio stations call for a “summit” meeting with minister

COMMERCIAL radio stations have called for a 'summit' meeting with a senior minister and the public broadcaster RTE as they battle for a slice of the new broadcasting fee.

John Purcell, chairman of the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland (IBI), said RTE could not be allowed "monopolise the future" of the Irish broadcasting landscape.

"This has gone on for too long," he said. "We must all have a viable future, Independents and RTE."

Mr Purcell told commercial radio broadcasters gathered for the IBI's annual conference in Dublin that RTE has a "virtual stranglehold" on public funding from the license fee and this must change.

Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte said he was willing to take part in a forum to discuss the changing nature of the media landscape.

Mr Rabbitte, who has ruled out an increase in the €160-a-year television licence fee, said he many commercial stations were performing an "important public service role" for loyal audiences.

Yet, he said the IBI must consider the difficulties he has in terms of State aid regulations governing the provision of monies to commercial practices.

A new 'broadcasting charge' is expected to replace the licence fee to apply to households even if they do not have a television.

Online Editors