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The Kilkee-based radio station is under financial pressure

Financial squeeze on Clare community radio station

WHILE West Clare community radio station Raidió Corca Baiscinn has kept broadcasting throughout the pandemic, it is now under serious pressure for funding.

Chairman of RCB Paul Williams said that the station generally fundraises to continue operating, but that has been very difficult since March of 2020. “We receive money from various outlets such as Pobal, we get money from the BAI for programmes and we have to top that up with fundraising throughout the year.

“We’d have bands playing in pubs, we’d have draws so people would go out and sell tickets, even things like the bucket shake, you can’t have any music, there has to be social distance, so we’ve been hampered in our fundraising efforts.”

Without the income that would be coming in, it is hard to keep things running. “The money that we need to pay for day to day things has been reduced, we’ve been put to the pin of our collar to pay the bills essentially. These are everyday bills, anything that you can imagine that goes into running a business, paying electricity, paying rent and so on and so forth.”

He said that the station was grateful to Councillor Cillian Murphy who had made some of his discretionary funding available to the station, while they hope to step up fundraising in the coming months.

“We have ten people working here, we have 80 volunteers, it’s a big operation and it touches a lot of people’s lives, and we’re going to work as hard as we can to keep the show on the road,” he concluded.

Clare TD Violet Anne Wynne said that it is very important the station receives the money it needs to continue operating.

“This local community radio station provides an invaluable service to the rural communities scattered across South West Clare, as it has done for many years now.

“Never has their work been so important and integral to the community than the Covid-19 period.

“RCB didn’t stop broadcasting all throughout the pandemic period, over the course of the last 19 months they continued recording local radio shows and providing connection, entertainment and quite frankly, a lifeline to many people experiencing isolation.

“Community radio services were considered as essential service over the pandemic period and RCB kept broadcasting despite the fact they were not able to generate revenue from fundraising, sponsorship and advertising as in other years.

“They applied for the Covid Stability Fund 2020 and were not awarded any funding through this stream.

“They applied again this year, but again were refused funding. I have written to the appeal department for the Covid Stability Fund on behalf of RCB supporting their appeal.

“I have also written my concerns to Minister of State Joe O’Brien about this matter.”

Ms Wynne also praised the standard of programming on the station.

“The community radio station brought two awards back to Clare from last week’s CRAOL Féile awards in Kilkenny, one Gold and one Silver. They provide and essential and invaluable service and if their future operation is threatened due to lack of funding that is simply not good enough in my eyes.

“RCB provide training and volunteering opportunities to Disabled People, early-school leavers and others as well as providing a hub of activity to the South West.

“I am aware of other community organisations attracting large sums of money, in both the 2020 and 2021 tranches and if balanced regional development is to amount to more than just hollow buzzwords, the West can’t get left behind. Fair is fair.

“I will continue to raise this matter with the Minister and the Department of Rural and Community Development until there is some satisfaction reached.”

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.
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