The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has today (4th September 2014) signed ten-year contracts for three local and one regional youth radio service. The three local services are Cork’s 96FM, a music-driven service, C103, a broad-format service; both of which serve Cork City and County, and Midlands 103, also a broad-format service, which operates across Laois, Offaly and Westmeath. The regional service is Beat 102-103 which provides a youth music-driven service in the south-east of Ireland.
Speaking at the contract signings, Bob Collins, Chairperson of the BAI, said: “We are delighted to sign the contracts today with Cork’s 96FM, C103, Midlands 103 and Beat 102-103. There is no doubt that the changes of recent years in the media landscape have posed challenges for broadcasters in a range of ways. However, each service signing a contract today has created, and will continue to create, an enduring position for itself in the broader media environment, a position that is reflected in the strong levels of listenership attained over the years of their previous licences. The BAI wishes each contractor continued success in serving its audiences over the new contract period.”
The BAI was represented at the contract signings by the Chairperson, Bob Collins and Michael O’Keeffe, Chief Executive. The signatories for each of the stations, together with the effective date for each contract, are as follows:
Station Name Franchise Area Station Signatories & Effective Date
Midlands 103 Laois, Offaly & Westmeath Albert Fitzgerald, Director;William Faulkner, Director;John Blackweir, Co. Secretary 1st October 2014
Cork’s 96FM/C103 Cork City & County Kieran McGeary, Director;Ronan McManamy, Director 1st November 2014
BEAT 102-103 Waterford, Sth Tipperary, Counties Carlow,Kilkenny & Wexford Gabrielle Cummins, Director;Tom Murphy, Director;Des Whelan, Co. Secretary 1st October 2014
Media Queries to:
Tony Heffernan/Emily Kelly
01 4200580/ 087 2399508/ 087-9759248
In accordance with the BAI’s Licensing Plan 2012-2013, published in June 2012, the BAI sought applications for the provision of 24 commercial radio stations throughout the country. For 19 of the services, only the existing service provider expressed an interest in the provision of the service and consequently 19 applications were processed through the fast-track application process. Today’s contract signing with Cork’s 96FM/C103 marks the completion of contract signings through the fast-track process.
The remaining five services were subject to a competitive licensing process. A competitive licensing process is implemented where more than one expression of interest is received for the provision of a service. In two of the competitive processes – the south-east regional youth service and the local broad format service for Laois/Offaly/Westmeath – only one application was received for the respective franchise areas. The contract signings with Beat FM and Midlands 103 today are the first two contracts to be signed through the competitive licensing process.
More than one application was received for the remaining three services and oral presentations were held in all three cases. The Contract Awards Committee’s decisions in respect of the award of the licences were ratified by the Authority at its meetings in June and July of this year. Contract negotiations with Sunshine 106.8FM, Highland Radio and Ocean FM are nearing completion and contract signings are schedule to take place shortly.