Independent Klubrádió appealed to its audience last week for private contributions. The action was necessary because the rapidly decreasing advertisement revenues endangered the everyday functioning of the commercial radio. András Arató, CEO of the radio station, said their action was extremely successful and they were able to secure HUF 63 million (USD 271,000) from anonymous private donors. Together with the HUF 20 million (USD 83,000) Klubrádió received from the 1% tax benefits, the amount will enable them to cover basic operational costs until the end of 2014.
Arató called the radio’s one-week fundraising action “extremely successful and a source of optimism”. He said 1.5 times more people decided to financially support the station than during the whole of last year.
Klubrádió is Hungary’s only commercial radio offering political programs and news service that is independent from the government. During the first years of the Orbán government, Hungary’s centrally governed Media Authority refused to grant the radio a free FM frequency that community radios are entitled to. Although Klubrádió eventually succeeded in keeping its frequency, at least in Budapest, it suffered a severe fall-off in advertising revenues from state-owned companies. Out of total annual operating costs of HUF 400 million (USD 1.6 million), only HUF 6-8 million (USD 24-33,000) was covered from the sale of advertising.
Furthermore, the Hungarian Media Authority obliged Klubrádió to pay an additional HUF 100 million (USD 416,600) for the right to use their frequency. According to Arató, while Klubrádió paid the requested amount to the authority, they question the legal grounds and they are planning to ask compensation for the damage arising from the lack of national broadcasting opportunity during the last four years.
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