NMHH Media Council: Draft national commercial radio tender open for consultation

Published: 14 September 2016

The Media Council of the National Media and Communications Authority has adopted and published on its website the draft tender for national commercial radio licences, about to expire in November, which envisages four new radio stations to be added to the existing network. As part of the agenda of this week’s session of the Media Council, a decision was made on granting financing, in the total amount of HUF 105.7 million, for the production of news, cultural and public life magazine programs of 23 local and regional TV stations over a year in the framework of the Hungarian Media Sponsorship program.

The publication of the frequency plan and the draft invitation for applications is the next step in the preparation of the national commercial radio tender

Since no comments had been received on the draft frequency plan related to the national commercial radio tender, published in announcements between 10 and 24 August, the document was adopted by the Media Council without modifications, as a final document. According to the draft, the number of commercial radio stations in the national network will increase to 18. The new radio stations in the network will include the frequencies Fehérgyarmat 102.8 MHz, Gerecse 100.0 MHz, Szentes 95.7 MHz and Vasvár 101.2 MHz. Compared to the frequency plan under the tender seven years ago, through the use of state-of-the-art frequency management methods that are more responsive to terrain conditions, stereo retail coverage will increase to 69.3 percent, i.e. the programs of successful bidders will be broadcast to a considerably wider audience.

The adopted text of the national commercial radio tender is now publicly available and may be commented on for a limited period of four weeks. The document can be viewed on the Media Council’s website. The draft invitation for applications specifies the amount of the annual basic media service charge, net of VAT, which is the minimum charge for media service licences. An amount equivalent to five percent of the basic charge must be paid by all applicants in the way of application fee.

At a public hearing on 5 October, organised by the NMHH Office, all are invited to put forward comments or raise questions in connection with the document. Once comments have been processed, the Media Council will decide on the publication of the final invitation for applications within 45 days. A period of at least 60 days will then be available for the submission of applications.

One-year financing for regular local and regional television programs

At the meeting, it was decided that grants of a total amount of HUF 105.7 million will be awarded to the 23 local and regional television stations in the second round of this year’s tender under the Hungarian Media Sponsorship program for the financing of regular television programs. The seven successful applicants in the news program category included the TV stations of Debrecen, Hódmezővásárhely, Kalocsa, Kecskemét, Miskolc, Makó and Zalaegerszeg. In the cultural programs category, a grant was awarded to seven applicants, including the Eger, Kaposvár, Mezőtúr, Miskolc, Pécs, Szentendre and Zemplén television stations. In the public life category, the applications of nine TV stations were successful, including Centrum of Budapest, Baranya of Komló, KÉK-KÁLLÓ of Derecske, MÓRA-NET of Mórahalom, the TiszapART Televízió of Szeged and Makó and the TV stations of Mohács, Kiskőrös and Szentgál. In that category, the Media Council has awarded 501 grants amounting in total to nearly HUF 2.3 billion since 2011 for the financing of local and regional television programs in order to help viewers to obtain information on local public and cultural affairs. Applications for the next round of this year’s tender can be submitted until 6 October using the e-tender system.

Decisions on obligations related to the radio tender and data reporting

The local radio tender for the Kisvárda 93.4 MHz frequency has been awarded to the only applicant FRISS MÉDIA Kft., which intends to operate the service under the name Friss FM, as a community radio. Due to formal deficiencies of all applications submitted to the Hajdúböszörmény 98.9 MHz local radio tender, the Media Council declared the tender to be inconclusive, calling upon the NMHH Office to prepare the publication of a new tender. In the tender procedure for the utilisation of the Sárvár 96.5 MHz local radio media service opportunity, following a formal assessment, the Media Council will call upon the applicant to submit additional documents.

The Media Council warned 11 media providers and imposed a fine on 38 media providers for partial or complete non-compliance with their obligations concerning the statutory quotas for music and programs during the first five months of the year.

The schedule of the tender for the licences of national commercial radio stations is as follows:

  • On 1 August, the Media Council of the NMHH requested the NMHH Office to draw up a new draft tender, as the Media Council had dismissed an application of the media provider of Class FM to renew its media licence, expiring on 19 November this year. On the basis of statutory requirements (Section 48)5) of Act CLXXXV of 2010, the Media Council was required to adopt a decision on the application during the period between two and four months prior to the expiry of the licence.
  • On 2 August, the NMHH published a notice specifying the date and place of publication of the frequency plan. According to the applicable statutory provisions (Section 49(5) of Act CLXXXV of 2010), it was required to do so at least a week prior to publication.
  • Between 10 and 24 August, the frequency plan the licences are based on was available to the public for at least 15 days in accordance with the applicable requirements (Section 49(5) of Act CLXXXV of 2010).
  • Following the end of the period of publication of the frequency plan, five days were available, until 29 August, for submitting comments (Section 49(5) of Act CLXXXV of 2010). No comments were received by the NMHH. Simultaneously, the development of the draft invitation for applications was commenced.
  • On 13 September, the NMHH Media Council adopted the published frequency plan and the draft invitation for applications (within 45 days of 24 August, the last day of publication of the frequency Plan, as set out in Section 49(6) of Act CLXXXV of 2010).
  • A public hearing on the draft invitation for applications is scheduled for 5 October. According to statutory requirements (Section 50(2) of Act CLXXXV of 2010) it shall be held by the NMHH Office within a period not less than twenty days and not more than thirty days following publication. The hearing will take place on the 21st day. At the hearing, any person may put forward comments on the draft by word of mouth or in writing. Comments may also be submitted in writing within five days following the hearing (Section 50(4) of Act CLXXXV of 2010).
  • In accordance with statutory provisions (Section 50(6) of Act CLXXXV of 2010), taking into account the comments received and proposals put forward at the public hearing as much as possible, the Media Council will decide on the finalisation of the invitation for applications within forty-five days following the hearing; the Media Council and the NMHH Office will endeavour to ensure that the tender procedure is completed as soon as possible. The time required for processing proposals and drafting the final version will depend on the volume and complexity of comments received.
  • A period of at least 60 days following publication of the final version of the invitation for applications must be allowed for the submission of bids (Section 52(5) of Act CLXXXV of 2010); following that period, the Media Council may adopt a decision on the formal and substantial validity of applications and then on the outcome of the tender.