The BAI has published this Voluntary Disclosure Notice of 6th July 2017 in order to allow any interested parties to make submissions if they object to or oppose the proposed extension of the current Contract held by iRadio NEM to 31st December 2019.  Any such submissions are required to be made on or before 12 noon 27th July 2017.

You can make your submission by using the response form below, or by e-mailing licensing@bai.ie.  The BAI would ask you that when drafting your response that you follow the format as set out in section 3 of the BAI’s Guidelines for making such a submission, which is available here.

 

The Contract & the Proposed Extension

The BAI hereby provides a voluntary disclosure notice of its intention to extend the term of the following sound broadcasting contract (‚Äúthe Contract‚ÄĚ):

The Contract issued to iRadio North East and Midlands Limited trading as iRadio NEM, a wholly owned subsidiary of Wilton Radio Limited, dated 3rd November 2008 which is due to expire on 2nd November 2018.

The Contract provides for the regional, youth music-driven sound broadcasting service for the North East & Midlands Region (serving the counties Louth, Meath, Cavan, Monaghan, Kildare, Northeast Laois, Offaly and Westmeath).

It is the intention of the BAI to extend the term of the Contract from 2nd November 2018 to 31st December 2019.

As a consequence, an open contractual award procedure in accordance with Part 6 of the Broadcasting Act 2009 for the award of a new Contract for the North East and Midlands Region will be deferred until mid-2018.

Reasons for the Proposed Extension

The Authority has taken into account in particular the following matters:

  • The difficult market conditions in the radio broadcasting sector which have particularly impacted upon newer broadcasting services licensed by the Authority over the past 10 years. These market conditions have been created by a more competitive environment for national advertising revenues, substantial changes in media consumption patterns and uncertainties resulting from the outcome of the Brexit Referendum. In this environment, the Authority is formulating a new Licensing Plan for the 2018/2019 years which is likely to impact upon the structure of future broadcasting services to be provided in the North East and Midlands franchise area.
  • The Authority has also commenced preparatory work on the development of a new Broadcasting Services Strategy which will set out the Authority‚Äôs policies and future approach in relation to the licensing of sound broadcasting services. Core parts of this new strategy will include a detailed review of the present sound broadcasting market place, an examination of the viability and sustainability issues which have arisen for broadcasters over recent years and what radio model/models will be best suited to the evolving media landscape. The contents of the Authority‚Äôs new Broadcasting Services Strategy will impact significantly upon the considerations which should inform the future licensing of sound broadcasting services including in the regional franchise area of the North East and Midlands. In such circumstances, it is considered necessary and appropriate for the award of a new broadcasting contract for the North East and Midlands regional franchise area to be conducted in the context of the new Broadcasting Services Strategy which should be completed in late 2017.
  • In February 2010, it was necessary for the Authority to approve a number of cost cutting measures to ensure the viability of iRadio NEM and of the regional youth broadcasting service in the North West franchise area (where the current contractor is iRadio Limited, trading as iRadio NW). This included approving the co-location of both services, the sharing of staff and the introduction of a single programme schedule. Further to this, it was necessary for the Authority to approve further integration of the services and a reduction in staffing levels during 2011 so that the two services were effectively authorised to operate on an integrated and shared basis for the remainder of the current broadcasting contracts.

In light of these factors, the Authority considers that the award of a new broadcasting Contract for the North East and Midlands franchise area should be delayed for a period of some 14 months in order to ensure that the Contract would be awarded in a manner consistent with the Authority’s new Broadcasting Services Strategy and its Licensing Plan for 2018/2019. It is considered that such an approach will provide the best opportunity to establish financially viable broadcasting services for the North East and Midlands franchise area over the medium to long term. To ensure the orderly continuation of broadcasting services in the intervening period, it is considered necessary for the Authority to extend the term of the current Contract to 31st December 2019.

Making a Submission

In its written submissions, the interested party should set out the grounds upon which it objects or opposes the relevant extension of the term of the Contract. In particular, the interested party should identify any adverse impact which the granting of the proposed extension of the term of the Contract would have upon that party, including full details of any adverse financial consequences which are alleged to arise from the proposed Contract extension.

Any written submission in response to the Voluntary Disclosure Notice of 6th July 2017 are required to made in accordance with the format specified in Section 2 of the BAI’s Guide.

The closing date for making a submission is 12 noon on Thursday, 27th July 2017.

Public Access & Confidential Information

The BAI undertakes to use its best endeavours to hold confidential any material provided in response to this process, subject to the BAI‚Äôs obligations under law, including the Freedom of Information Act 2014 (‚ÄúFOI Act‚ÄĚ).¬† In making submissions you are asked to consider if any of the information supplied should not be disclosed because of its information content, to identify same and to specify reasons for its sensitivity.

The BAI will consult about confidential, personal or commercially sensitive information before making a decision on any request received under the FOI Act.  Such information may be released in response to an FOI request.  Further information on FOI is available here.

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