RosFM closure fears after state funds withdrawn

Eight jobs at risk

RosFM, the community radio station, is in danger of facing closure over the coming months because its state funding has been withdrawn. 

  The station, established in 2003, has been financed by the Community Services Programme (CSP), which gives grants to community businesses that deliver services and create employment from disadvantaged groups.

  It is funded by the Department of Social Protection and managed by Pobal.

  However, Pobal informed RosFM recently that it would cut the €106,000 annual grant from May 31. The station appealed against the decision, but that was unsuccessful, casting its future in doubt.

  RosFM said that eight jobs were set to be lost because staffing was currently funded through the Pobal grant. “Due to the current situation, existing staff of two full-time and six part-time employees will conclude their employment with RosFM by May 31,” a station spokesperson said. “Every avenue has been explored to prevent this from happening and the board is currently exploring all options to identify alternative funding and resourcing.”

  RosFM said that it hoped to continue the station without Pobal funding.

  “RosFM will continue to provide a community radio service for Roscommon and its environs through its volunteer base and will be making fresh appeals for more volunteers,” said a spokesperson.

  Pobal said that it did not routinely comment on individual cases, but implied that funding was being withdrawn because the station was not viable.

  A spokesperson said: “In any cases where it becomes apparent that service providers are not complying with the agreed criteria of the programme, such as failure to address ongoing sustainability problems, financial viability issues or not providing requisite value for money, Pobal engages with that service to offer them guidance on what needs to be done to correct any irregularities.

  “In rare circumstances where repeated engagement fails to rectify the situation, Pobal is obliged to recommend to the Department of Social Protection that funding be withdrawn.”

  However, RosFM said that it was restricted to obtaining advertising revenue from only within its permitted broadcasting area of six miles.

  A spokesperson added: “Successful fundraising activities which occurred over the last few years, like Celebrity Jigs and Reels, Kings and Queens of Country, Elvis Night and the recent raffle, are not considered traded income.”

  The station, based in Roscommon town, serves as a pathway for people with disabilities back into the workplace. It has a broadcasting licence until 2020.