The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI ) has announced that it will seek applications for six new community and community of interest radio services during the course of 2009. The Commission had sought expressions of interest in new and existing community and community of interest services in September of this year. A total of 16 submissions were received.
The new services to be advertised include one in Athlone, two for Donegal (Inishowen and south-west Donegal ), and two in the Mid –West (East Limerick and Shannon ). In addition, the Commission approved the re-licensing of four existing community radio services, whose licences are due to expire in the next eighteen months. These services are Roscommon town, West Dublin, West Limerick, and environs and Dundalk town and environs.
Speaking about the decision of the Board, Michael O’Keeffe, chief executive of the BCI said: “The Commission is pleased to see the significant level of interest in the provision of community and community of interest services. This is particularly welcome in the context of the current Broadcasting Bill and the proposed legislative recognition of community broadcasting as a viable and sustainable sector. We look forward to facilitating its continued growth and to ensuring the services’ continued adherence to the principles of community radio in the years ahead.”
It is anticipated that licence applications for existing services will be advertised in the first quarter of next year. The time frame for applications for new services will be determined by the new Broadcasting Authority of Ireland in the second half of 2009.