Media groups making moves

Even in the midst of a global crisis, deals continue to happen. French mass media conglomerate, Vivendi, recently acquired 10% of Lagardère; a move that helped to strengthen the French position in the market. Following Vivendi, Groups Arnault also enters into Lagardere.
In Italy, the Agnelli family holdings company sealed the deal on the acquisition of Gedi, endowing them with three radio networks.

Arnauld Lagardère, CEO, article from Le monde, France
The French daily newspaper, Le Monde, reports tension between the Amber Fund and the management of Groupe Lagadere
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After acquiring the initial 10% in Lagardère, in May 2020 Vivendi increased its shareholder equity to 16.4%. The move strengthens the position of Arnauld Lagadère, in control of the group, that had just foiled the attack of the Amber fund. The firm, and Lagardère’s biggest stakeholder, had accused him of bad management and wanted to change directors.

corriere della sera, article about group anfault
Three weeks later Groupe Arnault, the holding company of Bernard Arnault (the majority shareholder of the Following the sudden death of the founder Jean-Luc in 2003, the multimedia empire Largardere was significantly downsized, as this article in the Italian daily newspaper, Corriere della Sera, explains very well
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After the sudden death of Lagadère’s founder, Jean-Luc, in 2003, the multimedia empire has since shrunk. The following quote from Italian newspaper, Corriere della Sera in the article ‘Francia, Sarkozy e Bolloré salvano (per ora) l’erede del regno Lagardère’ sums up the move well:
‘This acquisition is a long-term financial investment reflecting Vivendi’s confidence in the future prospects of the French group which enjoys international leadership positions in its businesses and which, like many others, is experiencing difficult times at the moment.’

Article about Vivendi acquiring 10% of Lagardère
The Vivendi press release explains the motivations for the purchase 
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To give some context to Vivendi’s owner, Vincent Bolloré is an accomplished leader. In December, 2016, he attempted to buy out the Italian Mediaset channel (publishing, three TV networks, pay TV and five radio stations), gaining up to 25.75% of the share capital and 26.77% of the voting rights.    

About Vivendi, being an integrated content, media and communications group
Vivendi, an integrated content, media and communication group, has interests in discography (Universal Music Group), pay TV (Canal+), publishing (Editis) and games (Gameloft)
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Change of ownership for Italian radio networks

Exor group purchasing Gedi
Exor, the holding company of the Agnelli family, not only controls the group FCA but now it also controls the Gruppo Editoriale Gedi, that was formed by a merger of the editorial groups of the daily newspapers La Stampa and La Repubblica
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With the purchase of Gedi by the Exor group, three radio stations, (m2o, Radio Capital and Radio Deejay) will be passed onto the Agnelli family holdings company. 
Based in the Netherlands, Exor has a capital worth € 24 billion. In addition to owning Ferrari, they are also the largest shareholder of the FCA-Fiat Chrysler Group

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Moldova: 5G is at the gate but the analogue switch off is on standby

Families that cannot afford a decoder, political instability and broadcasters’ inertia are all slowing down the change to digital. It is a situation that, considering the proximity of the Presidential elections, is convenient for the political parties. 

The first page of the law postponing the switch off
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Initially planned for December 31st, 2017 (law nr. 167 passed in 2015) the transition to digital TV was then postponed to March 1st, 2020 (law nr. 8 passed in 2018).

However, political instability in the Republic of Moldova complicated everything when nearing the deadline. In June 2019 President Igor Dodon was suspended by the Constitutional Court due to him not being able to form a government within 90 days following the elections. After this a combined diplomatic intervention by Russia, the United States and the European Union led to a partly pro-Russia and partly pro-Europe coalition government being formed. However, the pro-Europe, liberal Prime Minister, Maia Sandu lasted for only five months and was replaced by Ion Chicu, a technocrat supported by the Socialist Party. If you are interested in reading more about the specific phases of the crisis please click here.

Families do not have the money for a decoder

The article on realitatea.md analysing the reasons for delaying the transition to digital
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The main hurdle to transition, according to the Minister of the Economy and Infrastructure, Anton Usatii, is that a large number of families simply cannot afford to buy a decoder (the country has a population of 3.5 million and one of the lowest GDPs in Europe). In 2018 the government gave away 8,922 decoders but this supplied fewer than 20% of the families that receive social assistance (more than 51,000).

The State is going to buy them at € 12.50 each 

The invitation to tender for the purchase of decoders can be read on MTender, the website set up by the Ministry of Finance of the Republic Moldava to give information on all public tenders
Source

The Minister set the deadline for the month of May 2020, also in order to resolve the problem of the national TV stations being behind schedule. Click here for more technical details by a media expert.
He then invited families to make an official request for decoders and called for a tender in order to purchase 30,000 at the price of € 12.50 each. For further details click here and here.

But then politics interfered

The Prime Minister, Ion Chicu giving a public speech
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A new crisis then changed the political framework. The government was led by the democrat, Ion Chicu (pro-Europe and centre left, but near the controversial oligarch, Vlad Pllahotniuc). Curiously, the government was sworn in on March 16th, 2020, the closing date for bids for the supply of decoders. The Ministry of Economy and Infrastructure went to the democrat, Sergiu Railean, who was to evaluate the bids (there were two). But notwithstanding the Covid crisis, even if the contract had been signed immediately, it would have taken two months for the decoders to have been supplied and they would have been distributed in the middle of the summer. The Minister has not spoken about a new deadline.

So the political parties are behind ‘the slowdown’?

An article on the delays in the transition to digital TV appeared on Radio Free Europe’s website, a propaganda broadcaster financed by the American Congress 
Source

The opposition fears that the delay is due to the fact that the TV stations that still transmit in analogue are those near the two parties in government. It would be convenient to not have competitors until November, when the new President of the Republic should be elected. However, even the stations are also reluctant because they believe that the rent for the band in the only national multiplexing transmission system is too high to support in absence of a switch off. They are talking about € 6,000 a month.

Here are the points made by the opposition:
From the Radio Free Europe website
From the TV Moldova website

But they cannot go beyond 2021. 5G is on its way!

 
Vitalie Tarlev, State Secretary for IT & C, made an optimistic statement about the situation regarding TV to the pro-Soviet news agency, Sputnik.
Source

According to the pro-Russian press, on the other hand, everything is OK. In February 2020 the Secretary of State for IT & C, Vitalie Tarlev, asserted that the only DVB-T2 national multiplexing system had a 97% coverage of the country. And regarding the switch off, the date December 2020 is being thrown around because from 2021 even Moldava has to release frequencies that will be used for 5G.
Find another article here.

Franco Martelli in collaboration with Sergiu Musteata.

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Il Covid-19 manda in crisi le emittenti radio, che chiedono aiuto

Abstract (English)

It is a cry of pain and a heartfelt appeal that arises from 132 radio publishers that were surveyed on the consequences of the pandemic by Radio Reporter blog. In the midst of an emergency, they enhanced information, promoted fundraising and played a role of social cohesion. But government aid is overdue and two out of three radio stations (65%) ask for further immediate and non-refundable aid (40%). The drop in advertising, moreover, is dramatic (-73%) and painful cuts were necessary to make ends meet, dismissing collaborators and asking for layoffs for part of the staff. To assess the impact of the crisis, Radio Reporter asked specific questions on these aspects and asked if to immediately reduce business costs, it would make sense to halve the power of the transmitters: energy consumption absorbs 45% of a radio stations budget. A solution that in addition to being cost-free for the government, would improve the quality of listening (reducing interference) and reduce electromagnetic pollution. The results of the investigation are published in Italian, to facilitate consultation by publishers and listeners.

article (In italiano)
Le antenne sulla Torre Breda, in via Casati a Milano. Fotografate dal superattico al 29° piano, aperto eccezionalmente al pubblico l’11 marzo del 2019
Foto Fabrizio Carnevalini

È un grido di dolore e un appello accorato quello che si leva da 132 editori radiofonici interpellati sulle conseguenze della pandemia. In piena emergenza, hanno potenziato l’informazione, promosso raccolte fondi e svolto un ruolo di coesione sociale. Ma gli aiuti del governo sono in ritardo: dopo la promessa (cancellata) di 40 milioni di euro in febbraio, ne sono stati stanziati 50 il 19 maggio nel “Decreto rilancio” (complessivi, però, per radio e tv). L’operato del governo e le regole con le quali verranno distribuiti i fondi, però, viene approvato solo da un editore: due radio su tre (65%) chiedono ulteriori aiuti, immediati e a fondo perduto (40%). Il calo della pubblicità, del resto, è drammatico (-73%) e per far quadrare i conti sono stati necessari tagli dolorosi, congedando collaboratori e chiedendo la cassa integrazione per una parte del personale. Per valutare l’impatto della crisi abbiamo posto domande precise su questi aspetti e chiesto se per ridurre immediatamente i costi aziendali avrebbe senso dimezzare le potenze dei trasmettitori: i consumi di energia assorbono il 45% delle risorse di un’emittente, quindi i risparmi sarebbero superiori a un quinto del bilancio. Una soluzione che oltre ad essere a costo zero per il governo, migliorerebbe la qualità dell’ascolto (riducendo le interferenze) e abbatterebbe l’inquinamento elettromagnetico. 

Ha risposto una radio su sei

L’immagine elaborata da FMLISTFMSCAN mostra la collocazione dei trasmettitori radiofonici nel mondo: sono 184.950, comprendendo quelli in onde medie (14.980), mentre le radio sono 58543 

I 132 editori del sondaggio rappresentano 101 emittenti commerciali, quasi una su sei (sono 624 per l’Agcom); di queste, 72 hanno una copertura locale, 22 regionale, cinque multiregionali e due nazionale. Ci sono poi 31 stazioni comunitarie delle 343 esistenti: va considerato, però, che molte non dipendono dalla pubblicità, come molte delle 184 di area cattolica associate al Corallo e quelle si autofinanziano, come le 33 radio evangeliche censite da FMLIST-FMSCAN (database mondiale della radiotv).

Bisogna agire in fretta: c’è chi sta per gettare la spugna

L’appello drammatico di una radio del sud prossima alla chiusura: nessuna delle 500 aziende alle quali ha proposto inserzioni a prezzi modici (30€) ha risposto
Own source

Il malessere è emerso da diversi editori, mentre presentavamo l’inchiesta: erano dubbiosi, sfiduciati e di stavano seriamente valutando di chiudere. E dal sud ci è giunta una lettera che testimonia la drammaticità della situazione (che riproduciamo qui). Tagli drastici e movimenti nell’etere, del resto, già si intravedono: come interpretare la sospensione dei programmi della ligure Radio Babboleo News, che da fine maggio ripete rete principale? O l’acquisto da parte di m2o di tre canali della pugliese Radio Giulia? Ma come abbiamo spiegato in un recente articolo le frequenze si sono svalutate e cederle non è facile, a meno che siano in zone dove hanno mantenuto valore, come in Trentino Alto Adige, dove un editore ci ha detto di essere in trattative con un network per cedere l’intera rete e chiudere.

Persi i tre quarti della pubblicità (e degli incassi)

Con la riduzione delle attività lavorative, tre quarti delle aziende hanno ridotto o sospeso le inserzioni pubblicitarie 
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Sul crollo degli spot sono tutti d’accordo: in media è stato del 73%. A risentirne meno sono le 22 commerciali di ambito regionale (-70%) e le 31 comunitarie (-71%). Va peggio per i network e le multi regionali (-80%). Ma questa è solo la punta dell’iceberg: dalle risposte degli editori emerge anche la preoccupazione per la crisi di liquidità dei clienti, che non riescono a pagare le fatture degli spot già messi in onda. Ritornare alla normalità non sarà facile, anche perché la sospensione degli eventi e dei concerti fa mancare un’altra fonte di finanziamento importante.

Superstation regine dell’informazione

Le notizie sono stati tra i programmi più seguiti, soprattutto nella prima fase dell’emergenza
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Se il potenziamento degli spazi informativi è stato in media del 54% (per commerciali e comunitarie), sono le stazioni multiregionali ad aver puntato maggiormente sulle news, incrementandole del 70%, contro il 45% dei network nazionali. Uno sforzo organizzativo che ha spinto al massimo i motori di realtà grandi e piccole, che hanno investito risorse pur private del carburante della pubblicità. 

Così si è proceduto ai tagli, soprattutto nelle grandi strutture

Per far quadrare i conti sono state sospese collaborazioni e chiesti gli ammortizzatori sociali
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Se gli editori hanno congedato, in media, un collaboratore su tre (-34%), i risparmi sui costi del personale si sono fatti sentire soprattutto nelle aziende più strutturate: superstation (-48%) e network (-85%), mentre per le comunitarie l’impatto è stato dimezzato (-16%). Analogamente, la cassa integrazione è stata richiesta per un lavoratore su tre (-31%), con punte del -47% per le radio a copertura regionale, e ancor più elevate per superstation (-48%) e nazionali (-50%). A risentirne meno sono state le comunitarie (-18%), anche perché vengono gestite con meno di un dipendente (0,72): si basano sui collaboratori (5 in media) e soprattutto sul volontariato (7 persone, tra quelle interpellate).

L’energia? Un salasso, soprattutto per le comunitarie

Per farsi ascoltare si è fatto ricorso a impianti sempre più potenti: nell’immagine, quelli di Monte Brione, a Riva del Garda (TN)
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Nel nostro paese si usano potenze di trasmissione troppo elevate. Un’eredità della guerra dei watt terminata nel 1990, che però pesa sempre di più sul budget degli editori (45%). Un valore che fotografa bene la situazione delle 22 radio commerciali regionali della nostra inchiesta (43%), che dispongono di una decina di ripetitori. Va un po’ meglio alle realtà più piccole (38%), con una media di quattro impianti, mentre per le comunitarie (con due frequenze) rappresenta un fardello pesante: assorbe il 64% delle risorse, anche perché i bilanci di queste strutture sono più magri (il 96% incassa meno di 50.000 euro) per i limiti di affollamento pubblicitario previsti dal tipo di concessione. Più le dimensioni aziendali crescono, invece, meno la componente energia è rilevante: si ferma al 25% per le multi regionali, al 20% per i network, a fronte di bilanci che, per entrambe queste categorie, possono superare il milione di euro. 

Basterebbero 3dB

Una buona antenna moltiplica la potenza, alleggerendo la bolletta, ma richiede investimenti importanti. Così in passato, spesso si è puntato su trasmettitori più potenti, una “scorciatoia” che adesso si paga 
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Perché allora non ridurre le potenze di 3dB (dimezzandole), liberando risorse preziose in momenti come questi? L’idea, rilanciata in marzo da Lorenzo Belviso, editore delle emittenti pugliesi Radio Mi Piaci e Radio Popizz, consentirebbe risparmi superiori al 40%. Purtroppo la legge impedisce di ridurre la potenza (per alleggerire i costi, un editore ha detto di avere spento impianti minori dichiarando che sono in manutenzione o in avaria), ma in situazioni di emergenza, come quelle alle quali ci ha messo di fronte la pandemia, un dimezzamento generalizzato “da decreto” potrebbe fare comodo a molti. E a costi zero per lo stato. Apparentemente, il 52% degli editori interpellati non è interessato al “taglio” dei watt, ma si tratta di una media: dai dati emerge che i più favorevoli sono i network (100%), seguiti dalle comunitarie (61%) e dalle piccole commerciali (55%). In equilibrio le regionali (50%), mentre le superstation sono per lo status quo (80%). 

Consumare meno, abbassando tutti

Un particolare di una delle torri di trasmissione di Monte Brione a Riva del Garda (TN)
Source

Su come ridurre le potenze, il 64% degli editori interpellati sarebbe favorevole solo se la riduzione fosse obbligatoria per tutti, escludendo gli impianti di potenza fino a 100 Watt (52%) impiegati di solito per illuminare le zone d’ombra nelle aree montane. Riguardo alla durata delle misure, la maggioranza (43%) preferirebbe che fosse per sempre

Tante idee per ripartire. O l’etere verrebbe desertificato

Tra le tantissime idee, abbiamo selezionato dieci proposte per salvare la radiofonia
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Con 132 pareri, lunghi fino a 2000 caratteri, potemmo scrivere un libro. Dato che la risposta era libera, abbiamo individuato le tendenze trasformandole in proposte da indirizzare alle associazioni e al governo. Le radio commerciali si sentono mancare il terreno sotto i piedi. Dalle circa 5000 esistenti quando fu varata la legge Mammì, nel 1990, ora sono meno di mille: 967, come ci ha comunicato l’Agcom. Avrebbero bisogno di aiuti immediati, anche quelle che riceveranno una parte dei 50 milioni di euro (da dividere con le tv). Chiedono di ridiscutere le norme attuali (65%), erogando in fretta “soldi veri” e a fondo perduto (40%). Da distribuire “a pioggia” (11%), o a chi ha fatto informazione (6%) come alle piccole realtà locali (6%). Poi ci sono i sostegni indiretti: agevolazioni per l’energia elettrica (17%, quasi tutti con la richiesta di abbattere le tariffe del 50%); riduzione dei contributi per il personale assunto (12%); incentivi per chi fa pubblicità radiofonica (5%) ma riservati alle radio (il “decreto rilancio” li prevede anche per le tv, diluendo l’efficacia della misura); convogliare la pubblicità istituzionale sulle piccole realtà locali che si sentono abbandonate (5%). Qualcuno suggerisce ricette semplici, come tagliare le tasse (6%) e la burocrazia (5%). Altrimenti l’alternativa è che gran parte delle voci si spengano. Per sempre.

Fabrizio Carnevalini

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The Covid-19 bill

Cuts for five major broadcasters in Europe are on their way. While in Italy some radio stations are asking their listeners for help.

Austria: ORF is cutting outgoings

APA News reporting on Horizont about Austria's ORF planned cost cutting due to Covid-19
APA News reporting on Horizont about Austrians ORF’s planned cost cuttings
Source

The director general of ORF, Alexander Wrabetz, has announced cuts of € 75 million are to be made by the end of 2021. These will be implemented in all areas in the company, from equipment to the cost of personnel. This year the broadcasting station is predicting losses that go from a minimum of € 28.6 million to up to € 54 million, should the worst scenario play out. The budgets allocated for major events will not be touched (€ 40 million for the rights of the European Football Championship and the Olympics). This is also the case for other investments which include digitalisation. Click here for more details from the article on Horizont.

France: Cost cutting plans for the public radio causes controversy

Radio France cutting costs for radio broadcasting due to the Coronavirus pandemic
Report on Le Figaro.fr
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Cuts in the budget had already been decided on in 2018, in a period long before the present crisis. The Government had demanded a reduction of € 190 million in funds to public broadcasters (by 2022). € 20 million of spending cuts were destined for Radio France and in 2019 the CEO Sibyle Veil had prepared a plan that involved cutting 250 jobs. This provoked the longest strike in the history of public radio. The strike lasted 63 days (in total) during the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020. The trade unions consider the cuts unjustified and after a period of truce due to the Covid-19 crisis, the unrest could restart. 

Germany: NDR raises the crossbar by € 60 million

NDR, Norddeutscher Rundfunk, cutting costs due to coronavirus.
NDR logo located in Osnabrück
Source

The German broadcasting company Norddeutscher Rundfunk, NDR, wants to cut € 60 million more than the € 240 million that had been already decided on for the next four years.
The director, Joachim Knuth, is not going to reduce personnel but will not be employing new staff for 200 vacant positions. Furthermore, programmes and a series of events will be cancelled. Among those to go are crime series, entertainment and game shows on TV. Click here for more details from the article on Der Spiegel.

Italy: Onda d’Urto is banking on subscriptions

Radio Onda d'Urto has launched a campaign for subscriptions to compensate for the missing revenues
‘Take care of the black cat’
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Radio Onda d’Urto in Brescia has launched a campaign for subscriptions to compensate for the missing revenues caused by the probable cancellation of the Festival of Radio Onda. The event, that is to be held in August, is the main source of finance for the broadcaster and even if it is not cancelled, it will be much smaller.

United Kingdom: £ 125 million have gone ‘missing’ at the BBC

BBC needs to make 125 million pound sterling savings this year due to the coronavirus crisis
BBC TV studio
Source

The coffers of the public broadcasting station, BBC, are down £ 75 million due to
a delay: Listeners over seventy five were due to pay TV fees from June 1st, 2020, but this has been postponed to August 1st, 2020. This amount rises further because of losses caused by a drop in advertising and the postponement of a plan to reduce the workforce by cutting 450 jobs. According to the director general, Tony Hall, the cuts need to total £ 125 million. Upper management salaries will be frozen until August 2021 and a freeze will be put on all recruitment that is not indispensable. Other TV stations are not doing any better. ITV, free-to-air, has made a cut of £ 100 million to their budget and Channel 4 (a public broadcaster) has made a cut of £ 150 million. Further details can be found here.

Spain: SER cuts cost of personnel

the Spanish network, Cadena SER, is reducing cost of labour. Article from inertia, el espanol.
Cadena SER radio studio in Madrid
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Spains main network, Cadena SER, owned by the Prisa group (they own the daily newspaper El Pais and have business interests in 24 countries) is reducing the cost of labour. Of the personnel employed by the radio, 256 workers have been laid off until July 12th, 2020, (on unemployment benefit) while another 924 have a salary reduction of 10% until December 31st, 2020. Cadena Ser has 202 stations and the Prisa group also owns Cadena 100 and Los 40 Principales.
Click here for details in the article of El Español.

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Snapshots of radio broadcasting during the crisis

Everything will fade into past memories, but it is worth seeing some of the photographs taken in these last few months again. They include announcers and journalists broadcasting live from home, and courses for listeners on how to make their own radio programmes. It is also worth mentioning the vade mecums that have appeared in online magazines and on the websites of various associations. Their advice goes from how to choose equipment and software for a home studio to the procedures needed to protect radio station studios from contagion. There are even broadcasters that have put their studio disinfection procedures on show or have used their facemasks for self-promotion.

Radio stations broadcasting live from home

StuBru, Flemish speaking public radio station from Brussels in Belgium, broadcasting from home
Stu Bru, studio at home
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Belgium:  While a lot of broadcasters, in spite of homely backgrounds, are narrowing the field of view with close-ups to give a professional touch, with the photographs of VRT Studio Brussel, a Flemish speaking public radio station, your eye tends to be drawn to the furnishings which reflect the personality of the announcer and goes from the large philodendron in the foreground to the bookcase on the right, and the door opening onto another room, making you wonder where it goes to. 

Radio 3 Modo, Italy broadcasting from home with a cat as their helper
Radio3 Mondo, studio at home
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Italy: When Roberto Zicchitella was conducting Radio3 Mondo live from his flat, his curious cat leapt onto his desk to sniff his tablet. The international news programme is on air on the public radio station, Rai Radio 3.

Spain:  The SER network teaching listeners how to make a radio programme

Cadena SER, Spain, initiative about turadio, teaching workshops for listeners how to make their own programme
#turadio, a new initiative from SER in Spain
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The journalist, Pedro Blanco of Cadena Ser (a network of 202 radio stations we have  spoken about in a previous article) on air with a radio workshop teaching listeners how to make their own programmes to then send to the radio station.

Canada:  How to go on air from a distance

ARC du Canada, explaining how to work from home as a radio station
ARC explaining how radio stations can work from home
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ARC, a Canadian alliance of community radio stations, explains how to equip yourself to produce your own show from home without excessive costs.  They suggest a selection of hardware and software, some free of charge.

An antivirus guide for radio stations

Inside Radio, 12 tips for creating a safer radio studio in a coronavirus reality
A guide for a safer radio station, Inside Radio
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This guide in the American magazine ‘Inside Radio’ lists 12 things to do in order to prevent contagion in radio stations.

And in Italy?

Radio millenium, Milan, Italy disinfecting the studio
Cleaning session in Radio Millennium’s studio, Italy
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After disinfecting the Milan studios of Radio Millennium, the ‘ghostbusters’ pose for a photograph.

Instagram photo from radio rock, Rome, Italy
Radio Rock created their own face mask design
Source

Radio Rock ‘designer’ masks:
Back in the golden years of free radio, listeners used to stick adhesives of their favourite radio stations onto their cars. Today the Roman station, Radio Rock, has made face masks with their own logos on them. Will this become a fashion with other stations?

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Italy: More resources for radio from the government

the publication of the relaunch decree in italy
The publication of the ‘Relaunch Decree’
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The ‘Relaunch Decree’, published late in the evening on May 19th, 2020, contained a wonderful surprise. The radio and TV stations, that have been broadcasting information on the pandemic, will be receiving € 50 million (in the first draft it was 20 million, which became 40 after protests made by the broadcasting associations). The allocation of the funds will be according to a points system, which is used by the fund that has the task to promote pluralism and innovation of the media. The only obligation for the broadcasters is to put government  information campaigns on air during the Covid-19 health crisis. In addition, in order to relaunch advertising (that saw a fall of up to 80%) companies that buy radio and TV spots will be able to deduct 50% off their taxes (€ 20 million have been allocated, but considering that the deduction has been extended to national TV stations, the effectiveness of this measure will be largely diminished).

More advantages and simpler procedures

the relaunch decree from may 2020, italy
The ‘Relaunch Decree’, May 19th, 2020
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The decree includes other concessions for businesses which the broadcasting stations will be able to benefit from. For example, a tax credit of 60% on rents in March, April and May 2020 (for both studios and repeater stations) if revenues are not over € 5 million and there is a drop of 50% in turnover compared to the same period last year. There is also a postponement of tax deadlines from April 16th to May 16th, 2020, for companies with a fall in turnover of at least 33% in the months of March and April 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. Furthermore, companies will not be obliged to pay IRAP (Italian Regional Production Tax) in June 2020 (balance and advance payment for the following year) if turnover is not over € 250 million. The procedures for applying for furloughing of staff and for having a reduction in the electricity bills will be simplified. Some expenses (cost of energy transport, electricity meter management and general expenses) will be reduced for three months (May to July 2020), but this will not affect energy consumed, which would have been welcomed by the associations.

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Italy: The State speeds up funds

Website of Aeranti-Corallo
Source

A breath of fresh air for broadcasters has arrived in the form of state funds, albeit years overdue.  Outstanding government subsidies for both 2017 and 2018 were paid at the end of April this year. About a thousand community and commercial radio and TV stations benefit from this aid, which is calculated by following a points system.  Further help has arrived through ‘extra revenues’ from the RAI license fees. Since monthly instalments of  the public broadcaster’s license fee have been added to the citizens’ electricity bills, evasion has been reduced. This little ‘nest egg’ (higher revenues than before the law passed) is divided between RAI and the local broadcasting stations.

How the funds have been allocated

Website of Italian Ministry of Economic Development
Source

The attached documents show how the funds have been divided.

216 commercial radio stations have been allocated € 12,383,220.26 for 2017.

207 commercial radio stations have been allocated € 6,073,587.90 for 2018.  

314 community radio stations have been allocated € 4,127,740.09 for 2017.  

207 community radio stations have been allocated € 2,024,529.30 for 2018.  

These, on the other hand, are the allocations of the extra payments of RAI license fees in 2018 which were distributed to 26 commercial radio stations.

and to 25 community radio stations.

Not much choice: Even frequencies have lost value

Frequency auction
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Some time ago radio stations that had multiple frequencies could sell them off to networks. In this way they could balance their budgets and, hopefully all being well, renovate their studios.  However, due to the financial crisis in 2008 the going prices were more than halved and a surplus of channels on sale was created. The Florentine radio station RTR957 bankruptcy auction,  that had no bidders on two occasions, is evidence of this. The prices the liquidator was asking for were those of the past, the quality control head of one of the large networks pointed out:  € 118,000 for the Monte Morello station (in the municipality of Sesto Fiorentino in the suburbs of the Tuscan capital), and € 63,000 for the one in Poggio Ciliegio in the municipality of Carmignano in the province of Prato.

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Local authorities are more generous

relaunching tourism in the region Emilia-Romagna, italy - 2 million euro campaign to promote tourism
Emilia-Romagna, Italy, relaunching tourism
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Luckily measures have been taken by some Regional Governments.  Emilia-Romagna has allocated  € two million for a campaign on the radio, TV and social media in order to relaunch the tourist season. While in Abruzzo (even though it is still a proposed bill) €300,000 are arriving to support local radio and TV stations, newspapers and online press.

Public radio stations ask Trump for help

CPB, corporation for public broadcasting seeking for additional emergency funding
CPB seeking additional US$ 175 million
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The US$ 75 million received from Congress (we have spoken about in one of our previous articles) is not enough. The Corporation of Public Broadcasting, that distributes funds to about 1500 public radio and television stations, had originally asked for US$ 250 million and insists on having the other US$ 175 million, which is indispensable to guarantee the survival of the public and university stations.

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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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