Thursday, January 14, 2010

Spain to shut down up to 3,000 illegal radio stations

Spain’s planned State Radio Communications Agency has been tasked with evaluating and closing down up to 3,000 illegal radio stations throughout Spain. In some regions of Spain, especially the major cities and along the Coast, illegal ‘pirate’ stations outnumber the legal frequencies by two, sometimes three to one. Thus, those that are legal have been complaining to the Government for years of their loss in revenue and wanting action to be taken.

The agency has been created following pressure by the AERC, the Spanish Association of Commercial Radio. They have already presented a list of broadcasters they consider to be outside the law including 482 on the Canaries, 387 in Andalucía, 338 in the Valencia region, 183 in Cataluña, 144 in Madrid and 143 in the Basque Country. In addition there are many so-called Municipal Radios that are breaking the law as they are run by companies and not by the local Town Hall.

Some of the local English-language stations around the Costa Blanca have been operating without the correct business licences and may face closure sooner rather than later, mainly because they interfere with and impact the revenue potential of the Spanish broadcasters. The coverage area of some Spanish broadcasters has been reduced by the setting-up of these English-language stations.

Central Government has said it is to draw up a map of Spanish radio, which will allow a cleaning up of the FM band followed by the quick and firm closure of those broadcasters who lack the correct permissions. The State Radio Communications Agency is scheduled to be set up by 1 June, so the stations have a few months to get their official paperwork in order. But the illegal operators complain that no new concessions for licences have been made available and that many of them have submitted applications for licences but have not heard back from the commission.

(Source: via Radio Netherlands Media Network)

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