The BAI is responsible for the licensing of independent radio broadcasting services in Ireland and Part 6 of the Broadcasting Act 2009 sets out the mechanism by which the BAI shall undertake the licensing process for commercial, community temporary and institutional radio services.
The BAI published its Commercial Radio Licensing Plan 2012-2013 in June, 2012. In its plan, the BAI has set out the number, type and scope of contracts that it proposes to enter into, on the recommendation of the BAI Contract Awards Committee.
A total of 24 sound broadcasting services will be licensed during this time. Of these services, 19 have been progressed through the fast-track application process. The fast-track process is provided for under the legislation where only one expression of interest is received, from the current incumbent, for the operation of the licence. As each fast-track application is assessed by the Contract Awards Committee and ratified by the Authority, a contract for the provision of a service is signed for the next ten year period.
The remaining five services are subject to a competitive licensing process. A competitive licensing process is invoked where more than one expression of interest is received for the provision of a service.
The BAI advertised three commercial radio services in June 2013; two local, broad-format, radio services in the franchise areas of North Donegal, and Laois/Offaly/Westmeath and one niche, music driven service for Dublin City and County,. At the closing date (23rd September), one application had been received for the Laois/Offaly/Westmeath franchise area, while two applications had been received for the North Donegal and Dublin City and County franchise areas.
A further two commercial radio services were advertised on 3rd September; the south-east, music-driven regional youth service and the local, broad-format service for the Sligo/North Leitrim/South Donegal franchise area. At the closing date (2nd December), one application had been received for the south-east regional youth service, while two applications were received for the Sligo/North Leitrim/South Donegal franchise area. To view all applications received as part of the competitive licensing processes, please click here .
The BAI’s Contract Awards Committee has determined that oral presentations will be held for the North Donegal, Dublin City and County and Sligo/North Leitrim/South Donegal franchise areas. The purpose of these presentations is to provide an opportunity for each applicant to make a presentation to the Committee and to answer any questions or clarifications that the Committee may have in relation to the applications received. Details of the arrangements for each oral presentation will be announced via the news release section of the BAI’s website. The first of the oral presentations to take place will be for the North Donegal franchise area. In that regard, the BAI has also produced a General Guidelines document for this public oral presentation, which is available to view here . The second of the oral hearings to take place will be for the Dublin City and County franchise area. Relevant Oral Presentation Guidelines are available to view here. To view the Press Release regarding this oral presentation, click here. The remaining oral presentation for the Sligo/North Leitrim/South Donegal franchise area will take place on 28th April. Further information is available here. To view the General Guidelines document for this public oral presentation, please click here.
The Broadcasting Services 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.
See the BAI Media Release about the launch of the Strategy
Section 68 (1) of the Broadcasting Act 2009 allows the Authority to enter into a sound broadcasting contract with an applicant for a period of up to 30 days in a 12 month period. Additionally, if the application is for a community sound broadcasting contract, the Authority may enter into a contract for up to 100 days.
Further information about Temporary Radio Licensing and how to apply for a licence can be obtained here
Section 68(2) of the Broadcasting Act 2009, provides that the Authority, on the recommendation of the Contract Awards Committee, may enter into a sound broadcasting contract with an applicant for the provision of a low-powered sound broadcasting service which is intended to serve only such single educational institution, hospital, or other similar establishment as may be specified in the contract. The term of these contracts ranges from one up to ten years.