Donegal’s two main local radio stations Highland and Ocean FM have received almost €200,000 in funding to promote “greater awareness and understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) announced the allocation of €2.58m in funding for the country’s independent commercial radio stations.
Highland are to receive an allocation of €97,500 while Ocean FM will receive €100,000.
It follows a previous similar allocation last June when Highland received €85,000 while Ocean received €95,000.
The COVID-19 funding initiative was operated by the BAI under the Sound & Vision 4 Scheme at the request of, and following the provision of €2.5m in funding by the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD.
This is the second such funding initiative for the independent commercial radio sector in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Allocations ranging from €37,500 to €100,000 have now been approved by the Authority.
All licenced commercial stations submitted applications to the COVID-19 funding initiative. Each of the applications qualified for consideration for funding.
The applications were evaluated according to the COVID-19 funding initiative criteria, which included: the public value of the proposal which included regard to the ambition and additionality of the proposal for the target audience and the aims and objective of the scheme; the realism and value for money of the proposal; and the track record of the applicant.
On conclusion of the initial assessment it was noted that the qualifying projects were €77.5k over the €2.5m allocated by the Minister.
Taking into account the high standard of the projects proposed and the value of the outcomes, the Authority agreed to provide the additional funding to ensure that all projects could be fully supported.
The projects being funded cover a wide range of sources of information and educational content on the COVID-19 pandemic, including a number of initiatives in the Irish language.
In this regard, over 6,500 hours of content will be broadcast relating to COVID-19 which are sourced, produced and tailored for the various target audiences.
This includes adult and youth audiences across broad-format, music-driven and speech-driven services at local, regional and national levels.
Commenting, chief executive of the BAI, Michael O’Keeffe said: “The BAI is extremely grateful to Minister Martin for the provision of this funding which will serve the dual purposes of assisting the commercial radio sector through this difficult period and the researching, production and presentation of COVID-19 content specifically for their target audiences.
“Overall, the standard of applications was very high and the proposed programme content reflects the evolving situation of the pandemic across the country. In this regard, the projects now being funded demonstrate responsiveness to current societal needs, including mental health and well-being and also seek to build their sense of connection with listeners with positive messaging and support to cope and live through these difficult times.”