Dublin licences cut back to just two new radio stations

The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland has decided to restrict the issuing of new radio licences for Dublin to two because of concerns about the viability of the existing stations in the capital’s highly competitive climate.

In advertising for an alternative rock service for the city and county, as well as a multicultured ethnic station, the BCI said it was seeking to add diversity to the radio market.

It had been anticipated that four new stations would be commissioned from the 60 groupings which have made submissions but the restriction to two has been hailed as realistic.

Several newspaper groups are among the applicants. These include Thomas Crosbie Holdings, owner of the Irish Examiner and the Sunday Business Post, and, most surprisingly, Irish Press plc, former owners of the defunct Burgh Quay publications.

Chairman Eamon de Valera has advocated a music-based radio station “supplemented by and mixed with talk elements’.’ One group expressing interest in a multicultural service, called Metro Eireann, is headed by journalist Chinedu Onyejelem.

It offers “a unique blend of music, art, news and information” directed at `the “rich, multicultural make-up of Dublin”.

The Scottish Media Group is also among the applicants for one of the new licences.

By Des Cryan in Dublin

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