Thursday 19 May 2016

More Public Funding Necessary For Saving Local Radio Jobs in France

Community Radio Asks for 32 Million Euro Annually
SNRL,the trade association of community radio, is now pressuring the politicians in France. The Support Fund Radiophonic Expression (FSER), provides support to over 600 community radio stations charge of public service missions in France and overseas territories. These are enterprises of social and solidarity economy, employing more than 2.600, including 400 professional journalists. With nearly two million listeners nothing can replace them according to SNRL. But today, the fund lacks one million euros, and it takes another 3 million in 2017. 

"Associative local radio stations" are considered as complementary to that of public broadcasting. Like the latter, it was decided that they would not disrupt the balance of the advertising market, leaving almost all of it to commercial radios that have had their terms of advertising matter increase of 1.8% in the first quarter 2016. A huge hit in times of economic stagnation. These are the reasons why community radio enjoys a statutory public assistance.

For two years, the budget allocated to the selective grant FSER declined by over 18%! The other part of public support, the shell of the "operating grant" based on the company's budget has not increased. Mechanically, hundreds of small businesses, radios social economy, saw their reduced budget reduced.The amount allocated to the selective grant has fallen by 6.7% compared to 2014 and 18.6% compared to 2013. However, FSER remains at 29 million euros in 2016 is virtually frozen for four years. 

If nothing is done, the decline in resources dedicated to radios will impact their teams and thus their social communications mission close to their territorial jurisdiction area assigned by the CSA (The media authority).This is why the SNRL hopes that additional supplies are now added to FSER budget and the overall FSER Budget 2017 is revised upwards significantly and in a sustainable manner.

SNRL, the association of community radio stations, wish to neutralize the decline in resources allocated to local radio stations in the social economy. SNRL requests an additional allocation, now amounting to one million euros in emergency affected the FSER 2016 to avoid breakage and to increase the resources dedicated to the FSER.
It takes a commitment in the medium term to save the broadcasting nearby. The number of local radio stations benefiting from the regulatory state aid increased by 5.5% in 4 years and the number of radio stations benefiting from the selective assistance increases. One can only rejoice, as this is proof of the wealth of their activities and their attractiveness says SNRL.
More marginally, the entry of terrestrial digital radio in Paris, Marseille and Nice in June 2014 brought the arrival of new local stations. For associative radios engaging in DAB+ and already having a FM frequency, this led to demands for modernization of their equipment. 

Just like the film and music, the Support Fund is not the only source of funding of community radio. These social economy enterprises have built the last thirty years a system of local partnerships allowing them to expand their funding sources. But the regulatory public support remains the backbone of a system proven in both the activity of radio stations in control of their accounts. The FSER annual EUR 29 million is insufficient. SNRL wants an increase of FSER the year 2017 to an annual public funding of  32 millions euro.
SNRL signed on 23 March with the Minister of Education a framework agreement for the development of media education and information. SNRL wish that priority be accompanied, for radios, financing in the amount of social challenges posed by the Interministerial Committee in March 2015 following the attacks against the press in January 2015.

France is one of few countries alongside Denmark and Switzerland with significant public funding for community radio.

Read the full text (in French)