For the first time since launching 50 years ago, Manx Radio is to be recognised in primary legislation as the National Public Service Broadcaster of the Isle of Man.
Following the publication of a Select Committee report in early March, where the Committee were tasked with ‘examining the matter of the policy, delivery, cost and scope of Public Service Broadcasting on the Isle of Man and report with recommendations’, Tynwald, the Manx Parliament, have debated the report and endorsed Manx Radio as the National Public Service Broadcaster on a permanent basis.
Following the three hour debate, Tynwald agreed to accept the recommendations of the Council of Europe on public service media governance, which have been widely accepted by European public service broadcasters, and to endorse the recommendations of the John Myers report that was completed in 2013.
John Myers, who has recently carried out reports for the BBC on Radio 1 and 2 and on BBC Local Radio, was commissioned by the Committee to take a close look at the station and to report back on the value of a public service broadcasting service on the Isle of Man and to determine how it should be financed to deliver the terms of the licence.
In his report Myers states ‘Few can argue Manx Radio is not a popular service. Indeed it is worth highlighting that the figures are just not good, they are exceptional…..critiquing Manx Radio may therefore appear churlish in the extreme’.
In addition Tynwald agreed to adopt a funding formula for the station that would see the station receive a minimum funding of £850,000 each year, to disband the Purpose Trust that had been set up to keep the station at arms length from Government, and for the Island’s Communications Commission to provide a licence for the station to include a requirement for a particular percentage of locally produced and presented speech.
Manx Radio’s Managing Director, Anthony Pugh said “After fifty years of super-serving the Isle of Man’s population it is tremendous to see that the station is now to be fully recognised in primary legislation as the public service broadcaster of the Island and that there is now an acknowledged commitment for Parliament to set the funding level of the station. This is all good news for our listeners as they are set to enjoy Manx Radio far into the future’.