RADIOS AND COVID-19 – AER CALLS FOR SUPPORT TO COMMERCIAL RADIOS IN EUROPE
AER outlines the issues faced by radios because of current crisis and calls the EU institutions for the support commercial radios need to continue their essential role of informing people.
Recent announcements regarding the continuing spread of the Coronavirus and great economic uncertainty are having an immense impact on society and businesses of all types. Now more than ever, Europeans need to rely on viable and constant information, coming from trustworthy sources of news: they need to rely on radio.
While the full scope of the long-term consequences of the Corona crisis is hard to predict at this point, the life-threatening virus is already affecting all of us in our day-to-day lives. Media, and in particular commercial radios, have an important role to play in these difficult moments. Not only is radio the most trusted medium in Europe, but it also supports local employment, the dissemination of cultural content and contributes to a diversified European media landscape. Radio informs and entertains, and it has reacted to the crisis by changing its programmes; offering more specialised content, news for children, many relief actions across Europe etc.
However, commercial radios’ advertising revenues are today uncertain, and in certain cases this situation threatens some radio stations of closure.
Commercial radios welcome the European Union and Member States’ assistance to the wider economy but call for further support tailored to their sector.
Funding and relaxed competition rules are paramount to commercial radio who relies almost exclusively on advertising revenues to function. The instruments laid out in the European coordinated response should generate support to, amongst others, business and employee costs. The administrative burden to request such measures to benefit radio should be simple at both European and national/regional level.
Radio can play a crucial role in providing effective advertising messages for Governments at this difficult time. Significant Government advertising on radio should be encouraged, as it will not only keep citizens informed but also support radio’s role as a crucial provider of news, real time information and entertainment.
With a number of shows being reduced or hosted from home, it is vital to allow for adapted regulatory requirements so that radio stations can focus on continuing to provide a high-quality service for listeners.
Finally, it is crucial that radio journalists and essential staff are still allowed to move as freely as possible, despite confinement obligations, to maintain broadcast radio on-air.
Encouragement and financial aid will endorse commercial radios’ ongoing support to society.
- Radio is the most trusted medium in Europe: citizens rely on the verified news broadcasted on secured spectrum across Europe. It is the best tool to fight online disinformation.
- Radio reaches millions of Europeans every day, anywhere, anytime. In times of crisis, broadcast radio is robust: citizens will still be able to remain informed through radio when other sources of information are not available anymore, such as in cases of a lockdown combined with a power blackout.
- Radio does not depend on heavily requested internet access thus not reducing bandwidth to consumers and services who rely on it.
- Radio relays essential messages and news from authorities and local businesses with a united voice. It informs inhabitants in real time and on the ground.
- Radio creates jobs and contributes to employment opportunities across Europe.
- Radio is the ubiquitous companion for Europeans staying at home and those on whom society depends on.
- Radio supports the creative industry by promoting local and European artists.
- Radio supports advertiser’s business thanks to an increased audience availability.
About us. The Association of European Radios (AER) is the Europe-wide trade body for commercial radio, representing the interests of over 5,000 commercial radio stations to the EU Institutions. AER promotes the development of European commercially funded radio broadcasting, by ensuring a fair and sustainable economic framework for radio to thrive in.
For more information, please contact AER Secretary General Matt Payton matt.payton(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)aereurope.org