The BAI will endeavour to ensure that viewers and listeners in Ireland have access to a diverse range of services, programming and perspectives that meets their needs and reflects their diversity. It will actively encourage and support Irish broadcasters in realising this objective.
The Authority is responsible for the licensing of radio and television services additional to those provided by RTÉ, TG4, the Houses of the Oireachtas Channel and the Irish Film Channel. The Authority also has responsibility for the licensing of multiplex services and of electronic programme guides (EPGs).
The BAI has a policy to guide and inform its licensing activities, the Broadcasting Services Strategy, with the key objective of endeavouring to ensure that the number and categories of broadcasting services in the State best serve the needs of the people of the island of Ireland, bearing in mind their languages and traditions and their religious, ethical and cultural diversity. This Strategy outlines the Authority’s vision for the optimum mix of broadcasting services and sets out how the Authority will apply its statutory functions and regulatory practices over the lifetime of the strategy, in order to facilitate the realisation of that vision.
The licensing activities of the BAI can be proactive or reactive depending on the type of broadcast licence.
The Authority initiates the licensing activities for analogue commercial and community television and radio services and sets application deadlines. In order to do this, the Authority devises licensing plans which detail the services that will be licensed over the period of the particular plan. There are a number of licensing processes currently underway for commercial and community radio services.
There are types of radio services and television services for which applications can be submitted throughout the year by aspirant service providers. The types of licences include temporary radio, 100-day pilot community radio and content provision contracts (digital) for television and radio.
The BAI is responsible for the licensing of independent radio broadcasting services in Ireland and can award contracts for commercial, community, temporary and institutional radio services on the traditional analogue FM and AM bands and also, for content provision contracts for commercial and community radio services on digital platforms.
There are set radio licensing processes which the BAI must implement for each type of radio service.
In addition to the licensing of an independent national television service, the BAI is also responsible for the licensing of content on digital, cable, MMD and satellite systems.
There are set tv licensing processes which the BAI must implement for each type of television service.
The independent broadcasting landscape has developed over the past 25 years with the licensing of commercial, community, institutional and temporary sound broadcasting services and commercial and community television services under the various broadcasting acts from 1988 onwards by the then broadcast regulator the Independent Radio and Television Commission (IRTC) to today by the BAI.
The current Irish radio and television landscape is a mix of national, regional and local services which can be public, commercial or community in nature, offering differing and varied content.