MANX Radio is in an avowed “precarious position” as it reports another massive business loss for the last fiscal year in a statement to be submitted to Tynwald tomorrow.
Figures in the 30-page annual report covering the fiscal year ended March 31, 2011 show the radio station needed just under £ 1million to survive as it competes in the local media sector.
Figures show its revenue – generated almost entirely from advertising – fell by £ 40,000, requiring a government ‘grant’ of £ 961,050 to continue broadcasting.
Surprisingly, a summary of the accounts of Radio Manx Ltd chairman David North shows that the station lost just £ 25,806 during the year. The ‘grant’ was added to the company’s total turnover to offset operating expenses of £ 2,072,915.
However, Mr. North does not hesitate to admit that Manx Radio cannot maintain the same level of public services in the future.
“I have to say very clearly that our staff. . We cannot be expected to provide the same level of utilities in the future as we continue to face a steady decline in station revenues.
“Analysis of the last three years of audited accounts clearly shows that the company is at a crossroads.”
He said the station’s revenue has declined year on year “due to the proliferation of island-based businesses that depend on advertising sales to exist.” This includes the Isle of Man’s two private radio stations – Energy FM and 3FM – neither of which receives a government subsidy.
Mr North added that the government subsidy to Manx Radio for the current fiscal year had also been reduced, forcing the station to further cut operating costs, with full-time staff reduced from 35 to 26.
Concluding his statement, Mr. North said Manx Radio’s board of directors is now seeking government commitment “to return to previously agreed grant funding”.
He added: “This is fundamental if the company is to maintain the station’s current utility production and also allow the company to plan for the future.”
Manx Radio enjoys tremendous support from listeners and has consistently achieved a top three position in terms of the Quarterly Audience Survey. However, the station also has a number of criticisms, and some politicians have consistently opposed keeping the ongoing annual subsidy to one radio station while others – and other news and commercial media services – do not. not receive such financial assistance.
The Manx Radio report points out that a number of new media companies have started competing in the local market for advertising revenue over the past seven years, including bus advertising, isleofman.com, 3FM and various publications. by Keith Uren Publishing.
Previously, he says there were only five or six major players in the market, including Isle of Man Newspapers, Mannin Media, Yellow Pages, airport and marine terminal advertising and a fledgling Energy FM.
The fact that the government is commercially active in the free market in competition with private companies in a wide range of areas – such as printing, retail and media – is likely to be the source of much debate in the public prosecutor’s office. Tynwald in the near future.