Radio service providers satisfied with funding scheme of Media Council

Published: 20 January 2022

On a scale of 100, radio representatives awarded a rating of 71 to the funding scheme of the Medica Council – revealed a new survey approved at this week’s meeting of the Media Council of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH). The Council also closed radio tenders and opened procedures against some service providers for deviating from their contractual commitments.

The smaller the radio, the more volunteers

The Authority carried out an online survey among radio media service providers in Hungary between May and July 2021, in which they were asked to fill in a voluntary, self-administered questionnaire. The Authority contacted all Hungarian media service providers and received responses from nearly 40% of them.

The percentage of full-time staff in radio stations is typically below 30 percent, with a higher percentage in commercial stations than in community stations. Part-time employment is much more significant, accounting for more than 51% of the radio stations. Volunteers are used by almost half of the stations, mainly community radio stations, and in general, as the reception area decreases, the proportion of volunteers increases, so smaller stations are more likely to be helped by people in this way.

Staff salaries at the vast majority of media service providers, 91%, were below the average salaries in Hungary in 2020, even though the educational level of staff is well above the Hungarian average. On the positive side, the gender distribution is relatively even, with a slight male advantage.

Positive assessment of the Media Council’s funding scheme by service providers

Radio stations are mostly satisfied with the tendering system of the Hungarian Media Patronage Programme, which they rate as rather good, with an average score of 71 on a scale of 100. Their proposals on the tendering system are mainly aimed at increasing the budget, introducing electronic administration and making the tendering system simpler and more transparent.

According to the responses, 59% of independent radio stations and 90% of radio stations belonging to different networks were sanctioned by the media authority, mostly by a written warning for the latter, while independent stations were fined or imposed a penalty on. Almost half of the respondents consider the sanctioning practices of the authority too strict.

The programme structure of radio stations is dominated by own productions, but externally produced programmes are also significant, while the share of live programmes averages 39%. The majority of the editorial offices already raised topics that were then covered by other media as well, so it can be said that the majority of radio stations have some influence on the topics processed in other media outlets.

All radios aim at rejuvenating

Younger generations, which are also important for the media market, have fundamentally different media consumption habits than older consumers. Traditional media players are adversely affected, and this is also felt by radio stations. That is why almost all radio stations are trying to reach younger age groups. Most of these stations prioritise appropriate music offer, online presence, employing trainees and thematic programmes and events for young people. Almost all radio stations have a website, which mostly feature online radio broadcasting, programme guides, news, programme archives, advertising conditions and tariffs, podcasts and readers’ forums.

Of course, the Covid pandemic also had a negative impact on the market for radio stations, with most reporting a significant drop in revenues from 2020. Other consequences highlighted were the introduction of working from home, a reduction in the proportion of live broadcasts, and some respondents mentioned layoffs as well.

The full document will be available on the Authority's website.

Radio decisions and decisions of the Media Council

The Council decided on five radio tendering procedures at its meeting this week, including the finalisation of the calls for tenders and the closure of the procedures for the Pécs 101.2 MHz regional radio service, and the small community radio services at the Mezőtúr, Székesfehérvár and Gyöngyös assignments. It initiated procedures against five service providers for deviating from their contractual commitments and one operator was warned.