Two competing radio stations on the Isle of Man have moved in together to share costs.
3FM and Energy, which both cover the whole island, now have joint news, sales, administration and engineering teams.
Energy FM’s founder Juan Turner said, ‘It was inevitable that the two stations would have to look for some sort of economies of scale. The Isle of Man Government own Manx Radio and pump almost £1million pounds a year annual subsidy in to the failing radio station. In addition another Government Department (Department of Home Affairs) provide free of charge transmission on 4 VHF frequencies and 1 Medium Wave frequency island wide – this includes ALL site rental, electricity and hardware renewal – there is no cost to Manx Radio. But the double whammy is that the Department contract back the maintenance of these facilities to Manx Radio themselves thus the state owned broadcasters receives even more public money.’
Turner goes on, ‘The Manx Government also gave all of the Isle of Man’s BBC licence fee rebate from digital switchover to Manx Radio – why? as Manx Radio is also permitted to operate fully commercial. It is an outrage that BBC money is going to prop up an over structured commercial operation. In addition to this the Manx Government restrict access to commentary rights to the TT Races thereby closing down revenue options for other broadcasters. They refuse to tender out the radio rights, yet all other parts of the TT from TT T-shirts and stickers to Television rights are put out to tender. This would normally be anti competitive illegal action although not as the Isle of Man is not part of Europe, it can abuse this loophole.’ This is similar to the issue Cable & Wireless are having with the Manx Authorities restricting access to the Telecoms sector. This behaviour is damaging to the reputation of the Island as a place to do business.
“Then last year the IOM Treasury have completely refurbished Manx Radio’s building with state of the art studios that Radio 2 would be proud of – again at no cost to Manx Radio.
“With all of these issues the Government make it deliberately difficult to compete.”
3FM offers a ‘more music’ format playing a mature mix of classic oldies mixed with current melodic hits while Energy is a community station playing a format of chart hits with an element of oldies. Energy also has a higher speech content than that of 3FM. The two stations are now able to work together to provide a diverse range of programmes across their two networks whilst previously as competitors they were head to head.