Private radio stations to receive more funding from 2016

From mid-2016 private radio stations are to receive more money from the licence fee pot. This was announced by Federal Councillor Doris Leuthard on Thursday at Swiss Radio Day 15. Her department will submit a corresponding proposal to the Federal Council.

At Swiss Radio Day 15, Federal Councillor Doris Leuthard ventured a glimpse into the future of the radio landscape. This future can now be definitively built after the Federal Court confirmed the outcome of the vote on the new Radio and Television Act (RTVA) last week. Now it is a matter of drawing up the ordinance and carrying out the necessary preliminary work, said Leuthard. She assumes that the new household tax can be levied from 2018. Leuthard did not want to commit herself to the amount. "The Federal Council will only do that shortly before it comes into force". But she said she assumed that the levy would not be more than the 400 francs per year mentioned in the referendum campaign. However, the Federal Council will not wait until 2018 to give licensed private radio stations a stronger hand. Rather, this should already happen from the middle of next year. In this way, the Confederation wants to help the stations, some of which are suffering from a strained financial situation.

Praise for the industry

Leuthard was not sparing in her praise for the radio industry. She very much welcomed the fact that the private providers and the SRG were working closely together in the radio sector. As a successful example of this cooperation, she mentioned the switchover from FM to DAB+. Since all the players had joined forces here, it would probably be possible to complete the switchover in 2020. However, the next challenge is already on the horizon. The internet brings completely new possibilities, but also completely new competition. Here it is once again up to the radio stations to find good solutions so that they can also fulfil their public service mandate. Leuthard is convinced, however, that the radio stations can stand up to the global competitors with a large portion of Swissness. "The audience is looking for that," she said, stressing the high credibility that the medium of radio still enjoys.

Everything open after 2020

How things will continue after 2020 and the expiry of the current licences is completely open, according to Leuthard. After the switchover to DAB+, licences would no longer be necessary. Whether and to what extent the state would then still have to be active in terms of regulation is currently being examined. "Perhaps everything can be left to the market, but perhaps there is still a need for certain rules and specifications for the important public services and thus a performance mandate," the media minister said. (SDA)

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