Manx Radio’s managing director has responded to Energy FM’s claim that the Isle of Man station is failing and receiving extra government funding.
MD Anthony Pugh says the comments by Energy FM’s Director Juan Turner are erroneous and subject to vilification.
Turner said “The Isle of Man Government own Manx Radio and pump almost £1million pounds a year annual subsidy in to the failing radio station,” to which Pugh points out since joining RAJAR in 2003, the station has remained within the Top 5 British stations as measured by ‘Reach’ and brings in almost double the number of listeners to 3FM who are the only other radio station to subscribe to RAJAR on the Island. Furthermore, Manx Radio has won the Best Station of the Year Award in the North West for 3 of the last five years.”
In the original statement Juan Turner, who is also a member of the Government’s Legislative Council, says the Government make it deliberately difficult to compete again Manx Radio.
Putting the record straight, Anthony Pugh told us Manx Radio does transmit via transmitters belonging to the Department of Home Affairs. “Mr Turner fails to mention that Tynwald, the Island’s Parliament, determined that this is how the National Public Service Broadcaster is to transmit its programming, he said”.
“The BBC’s digital refund to the Island comes with specific caveats as to how it is to be utilised. The funds are passed to the Isle of Man Treasury who decided that it should be utilised by Manx Radio. However Mr Turner fails to mention that Manx Radio’s government subvention has been reduced by exactly the same amount as the annual refund so that, in reality, Manx Radio has not received any financial benefit from the BBC’s digital rebate.
“In December 2002 Tynwald accepted the recommendations of the Darwin Consulting report that looked in depth at the future broadcast landscape of the Isle of Man. Amongst its many recommendations, two are of particular interest regarding this article, It proposed Manx Radio should close down its weekend youth service KIK FM so that a second radio station targeting the youth of the Island could be licensed. This station became Energy FM. Another recommendation was that the Public Service Broadcaster, Manx Radio, be allowed commentary access to major Island events including the TT.
“The refurbishment of Manx Radio’s studios has primarily been funded by a government capital grant. Manx Radio has contributed to the funding and will be paying the depreciation on the capital.”
Finally, Pugh points out that both Energy FM and 3FM were licensed in the full knowledge as to how the nation’s Public Service Broadcaster was funded and no funding relationships have changed since the station’s were licensed. “The real issue here is whether an Island with a population of 84,000 can support three commercial stations,” he says.