On National Community Radio Day (Friday 19th June, 2020), Community Radio Ireland (CRAOL), which represents 21 fully-licensed and 11 developing community radio stations in Ireland,  celebrates and recognises the work and commitment of the more than two and a half thousand people – volunteers and staff – involved in this vibrant sector of the media.

This sixth National Community Radio Say also launches  two key reports;  Assessing the Social Benefit of Community Media – A Toolkit for Community Radio  and  Introducing a Social Benefit Approach to Community Radio – A Compendium of Stories, an action from the Broadcasting Authority’s Community Media Action Plan and these reports were commissioned by the The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) supported by Community Radio Ireland (CRAOL) and undertaken by Nexus Research Cooperative.

The reports were jointly launched by Michael O’Keeffe, CEO of the (BAI) and Declan Gibbons, Chairperson of CRAOL. The two reports: ‘Assessing the Benefit of Community Radio, A Toolkit for Community Radio’; and, ‘Introducing a Social Benefit Approach to Community Radio – A Compendium of Stories’, both published by the BAI and CRAOL examines the development and implementation of an evaluation methodology that addresses the statutory requirement for community media to deliver a social benefit to the community it serves. Today’s report will also inform the review of the BAI’s Community Radio Policy, which will take place later this year. It is intended that the policy will be updated to reflect the changing face of community media, which has evolved considerably since it was first published in 1995.

Today also sees the launch of Community Radio Delivering Social Benefit an abridged version of the two reports which was supported by The Community Foundation for Ireland and marks National Community Radio Day which is a celebration of Community Radio across Ireland.

Chief Executive of the BAI, Michael O’Keeffe said: ”The findings from the Community Radio – Delivering Social Benefit report demonstrate the significant progress that has been made over the past year in implementing the actions included in the BAI’s Community Media Action Plan” . One of the plan’s nine actions requires the development of a definitional framework for the concept of social benefit, and the establishment of suitable viable methodologies to assess the extent to which the different elements of this framework are being delivered at a station and sectoral level. The report on the application of the Social Benefit Framework is recognised by stakeholders as a significant outcome and the BAI is delighted to support the publication of this abridged version of that report.”

Declan Gibbons Chair of CRAOL,  added: “The Community Radio – Delivering Social Benefit report is the product of more than two years of research, looking in-depth at the community radio sector and how it delivers social benefit to communities. That social benefit can be derived through a number of ways, including volunteering, programming, training, engagement, participation, listening or broadcasting. The report aims to support the community radio sector to capture and describe that valuable and often under-recognised work; work our member stations are engaged in every day. It arms us with the tools to gather and document the stories that best demonstrate the essence and ethos of community radio. It is only through demonstrating the social benefit that our sector delivers, that we can capture the true value of community radio and media.” 

Declan Gibbons, who is station manager at CRKC (Community Radio Kilkenny City) also remarked “that the launch of these reports is timely, as the BAI is expected to shortly announce a funding round exclusively for the community radio sector, which will be based on the Social Benefit delivered by Community Radio stations. This funding will come under the BAI’s Sound and Vision Funding Scheme, and follows a request from the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment. “On behalf of CRAOL, Community Radio Ireland, Declan  welcomed the Minister’s decision to provide financial support to the Community Radio sector at this very challenging time. “This funding will support the sector so it can continue to deliver its integral service to the communities it serves. This measure will help sustain and ensure the survival of the community radio sector, provide programming to in excess of 300,000 people, help sustain a substantial number of jobs, both full time and part time, keep communities connected and sustain skills development and opportunities for over 2,000 volunteers”, said Mr. Gibbons.

“I thank the Minister and his officials in the Department of Communications for taking action to support the survival of the sector.  We acknowledge the very serious commitment by the BAI into the development of these two landmark reports for the sector, and we look forward to engaging the roll-out of the new scheme. Community Radio stations across the country are providing an essential service to their communities, broadcasting accurate, factual and up to date information and keeping them informed on what is happening on the ground in their communities, while also adapting their work practices to protect the health and safety of their staff and volunteers” said Mr Gibbons

The reports can be downloaded here:

Story Compendium 2020-Introducing a Social Benefits approach to Community Media

BAI CR Methodology – Assessing the Social Benefit of Community Media

Community Radio Delivering Social Benefit

 

 

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