Italy: Solidarity champions

Even in full crisis the radio stations are busy on all fronts with increasing information slots, adapting programme schedules to the changing needs of the listeners and … even fund raising. 
Here are some examples:

musica che unisce, music that unites, italy
Musica che unisce – Music that Unites
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The national radio networks, Radio Italia (Cologno Monzese), the public TV and radio broadcasters Raiuno, RaiPlay (a streaming platform) and Rai Radio2 joined forces on a project called ‘Music that Unites’. The event included brief information interludes and previously unpublished live sets where the performers recorded from their own homes creating non-stop music to share. Funds raised came to more than € 7.5 million to be donated to the National Civil Protection Organisation (a government body that deals with the management of emergencies).

A helping hand for the Civil Protection Department, Klasse uno network
A helping hand for the Civil Protection Organisation, Klasse uno network
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‘A helping hand for the Civil Protection Organisation’ was organised by Gruppo Klasse Uno in Castelfranco Veneto, a province of Treviso (seven local and regional radio stations took part :  Birikina, Bella & Monella, Radio Marilù, Radio Piterpan, Radio Sorriso, Radio Gelosa, and Vibra FM)

Radio Deejay and Radio Capital, Italy fighting Coronavirus together
‘Fighting Coronavirus together’ – Radio Deejay
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Radio Deejay and Radio Capital got together with the daily newspaper La Repubblica to join an event organised by UNICEF  ‘Insieme per combattare il Coronavirus’ – ‘Fighting Coronavirus together’.

Help for other nationwide organisations  

discoradio and Buzzi foundation fighting Coronavirus together
Discoradio and the Buzzi Foundation fighting Coronavirus together
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Discoradio in Milan (broadcaster covering Lombardy and Piedmont) and the Buzzi Foundation, that manages a research centre and children’s hospital, are raising funds to increase the number of beds in the intensive care unit. 

Radio NumberOne in Bergamo, Italy, sosentiamobergamo
#wearesustainingBergamo
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Radio NumberOne (Bergamo) has taken part in #SostieniAMOBergamo and given their support to the Fondazione Della Comunità Bergamasca.

la nuova, radio Barbagia in Nuoro, Italy, donating face masks
Radio Barbagia donating face masks
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Radio Barbagia in Nuoro, Sardinia, has donated thousands of face masks to the city hospital with the help of their listeners.

Columbus covid-2 hospital, Italy, Rome
RDS group supporting a hospital in Rome
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Three Roman radio stations in the RDS group (Dimensione Suono Roma, Dimensione Suono Soft and Ram Power) have supported the capital’s hospital, Policlinico Gemelli, to create the Columbus Covid-2 Hospital by transforming an existing building into a hospital with 80 beds and another 59 beds in the intensive care unit.

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Italy: Radio stations ask for adequate funds

radio studio, female host with headphones and microphone, currently broadcasting
Insight into the studio
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The crisis funds to support local radio and TV stations are ‘totally inadequate’.  This is how the associations representing broadcasters have branded the funds allocated for the sector in the draft copy of the ‘ Revival Decree’, which the Government is preparing in order to shore up the Italian economy which has been weakened by the pandemic. The Italian Publishers Association reaffirmed in a brief press release that ‘while undergoing a drastic reduction in revenues (often up to 80%) radio and TV stations have continually carried out the role of public interest nationwide’.  Aeranti-Corallo, Confindustria Radio Televisioni and Associazione Alpi are therefore asking for ‘an adequate allocation of funds’. This is because the sector is ‘strategic in order to restart the economy, which is based on small and medium-sized companies that produce 58% of the turnover of industry in Italy’. The  40 million euros planned in the Cura Italia Decree (March 16th, 2020) were cancelled at the last moment.

The complaints have had an effect.  According to the latest draft of the decree (May 19th, 2020) which has not been published yet, the funds have apparently returned to € 40 million. We will update you shortly.

In previous articles we spoke about the collapse in advertising, the request made by Aeranti-Corallo for funds of 130 million euros and the allocations of funds made by other governments from Spain to the United States.

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Coronavirus and TV football broadcasting rights

The pandemic has wreaked havoc on the championships and programme schedules of pay TV.  Now they are arguing over payment of instalments for television rights.

corriere della sera, Italy
Corriere della sera
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The Italian football clubs are preparing to sue.  At the end of April 2020 they issued invoices to Sky, Dazn and Img for a total of 220 million euros.  If unpaid, their next move will be to file an injunction of payment.  However, following a suggestion proposed by Sky, in order to give the clubs time to organise themselves, the TV stations are asking for an immediate discount on this season or the next.

Calcio Finanza, Italy
Calcio Finanza
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BeIN Sports and Canal+ in France refused to pay their last instalments (42 million and 110 million respectively) for coverage of Ligue 1 and Ligue 2.

Sport Business Media
Sport Business Media
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Since then, Canal+ has come to an agreement in order to avoid causing the clubs problems with liquidity.  

Discovery, in Germany, is trying to terminate their contract with Bundesliga.

In Great Britain, DAZN has asked Premier League to defer rights payments.

Altice has suspended payments in Portugal.

In Brazil, Federcalcio di San Paolo sent a letter to Globo, declaring that they will not pay the last instalment for broadcasting rights of the championship, which has been suspended due to the pandemic.

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Greece: Deadlines postponed because of Coronavirus

Website of the ESR, the national council for radio and television Greece
Website of the ESR, Greece
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Due to the health crisis, the authority that supervises and regulates the radio/television market in Greece has prolonged the amount of time for radio stations to send in their annual documentation to the department that supervises transparency of ownership. The new dates fixed by the ESR, the National Council for Radio and Television, are as follows: from June 3rd to June 17th, 2020, for transmitters in central Greece, the Peloponnese and the Ionian Islands; from June 18th to July 1st, 2020, for Macedonia, Thrace and Epirus; from July 2nd to July 16th, 2020, for Thessalia, Crete and the Aegean Islands.
Click here for the official declaration.

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Bolivia: Government to pay half the power bill!

Alfonso ‘Toto’ Arevalo, the President of ‘Asbora’ Bolivian Radio Broadcasting Association,  interviewed by John Arandia for Capsula AM: The programme is aired by Radio Fides, transmitting on 101.5 FM from the capital, La Paz.
Watch the interview here.

Having been brought to their knees because of the fall in advertising caused by Covid-19, a large number of Bolivian radio stations risk closure within a month. They are unable to pay salaries, the technicians, electricity and licensing fees. The association representing broadcasters (Asbora) has written an open letter to President Jeanine Anez Chavez asking her to launch new government advertising campaigns (and also pay the invoices for commercials that the public administration put on air last year). Asbora also asked for a discount of 50% on electricity bills and to postpone payment of licensing fees to next year.
More details to be found here.

John Arandia interviewing Alfonso Toto Arevalo, President of Asbora
John Arandia interviewing Alfonso Toto Arevalo, President of Asbora
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Greece: ERT is revamping and replacing transmitters

Acropolis of Athens, Greece
Acropolis of Athens, Greece
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Five years after reopening, the Greek public broadcaster is renewing its installations and image. On June 11th, 2013, ERT Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation was closed because of austerity measures following the sovereign debt crisis, and was reopened by the Tsipras government on the same day two years later. 

The board of directors called for tenders for the replacement of 162 FM transmitters (71 with outputs of 1kW, 20 of 2kW, 51 of 5kW and 20 of 10kW, costing € 2,606,000), for digital transmitters for TV (tender amount of € 3,924,000) and for redesigning the logo of the broadcaster.
Click here & here for more details.

(From our correspondent in Thessaloniki, Zacharias Liangas)

The project to replace the FM public radio repeaters
The project to replace the FM public radio repeaters
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The Philippines: ABS-CBN shut down on May 5th, 2020

ABS-CBN to go off air in compliance with NTC order, ABS-CBN News
ABS-CBN to go off air in compliance with NTC order, ABS-CBN News
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President Duterte had promised to make life difficult for the ‘unwelcome’ radio/television group, although later he seemed to have changed track (which we spoke about in one of our recent articles).  The multimedia group, which has 16 radio stations and 11,000 employees, hoped to renew its franchise temporarily, but the NTC opposed it. The National Communications Commission (NTC) is the authority that regulates the media sector.  Hence, since Tuesday transmission is only continuing on the web and pay television channels, whilst waiting for an extension to the end of June 2022.

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It’s curtains for Radio Comintern

They did not make it to blowing out their 87 birthday candles. The transmission towers (215 metres high), also known as Radio Comintern located in the transmitting centre in Moscow, were packed with dynamite and demolished.  Inaugurated on May 1st, 1933, it was the world’s most powerful (500kW) radio station in a period when radio was the only means of propaganda. After broadcasting for seventy years, it was closed in 2003 and became an attraction because the dilapidated towers were being climbed, even by free climbers. An article on Mediaradio.info recounts its history with images of the site.
Radio Comintern was named after the Third International, an organisation that advocated World Communism.

media radio info, russia, Moscow, radio comintern
Article on Mediaradio.info about Radio Cominterns history
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Covid-19 and Radio: Situation in France, Spain and Italy

Wireless, a programme produced by John Walsh on Flirt FM in Galway, 101.3 FM, is back with a special edition on the crisis, that radio is facing because of the pandemic. They are presenting an overview of how European broadcasters in France, Spain and Italy are dealing with the impact that the crisis is having on radio stations. Their previous transmission covered the situation in Ireland which we spoke about in one of our recent articles.

Click here to listen to the Wireless podcast.

Wireless, programme on Flirt FM in Galway, their blog, where one can listen to their podcast
Wireless Flirt, Radio about Radio from Ireland
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Malawi: Reorganisation of FM band to alleviate interference

Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA)
MACRA – Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority
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Repeaters are to be turned off, transmitting power to be reduced, and frequencies to be reallocated, all in order to decongest the FM frequencies in this West African country, where they have 56 radio stations with a total of about 200 channels. MACRA – Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority stopped issuing new radio broadcast licenses and called for a tender for the reorganisation of the radio frequencies. This was subsequently won by the English consulting firm, CASiTEL.

The three phase plan

workshop about achievements
One of the workshops at which the improvements achieved and the required changes were presented to the broadcasters
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The consulting firm mapped out the current FM network and created a database of the frequencies and broadcasting sites. They examined the FM network coverage, identified the areas impacted by interference and presented a plan to significantly improve the quality of service. Finally, they optimised the broadcasting services coverage to enable the introduction of a greater number of channels that will be issued broadcasting licenses in the course of 2020.

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