Manx Radio’s reliance on the taxpayer rose slightly in the last financial year, as its turnover saw a dip year on year, although it did record a small profit.
The taxpayer-owned station is partly funded by a subsidy from central government to fund ‘public service’ broadcasting.
For the year 2021/22, this figure was £1,078,722, an increase from the previous year’s total of £995,000 (an 8.4% increase). The total funding for the station from the taxpayer, including money separate from the subsidy, was £1,226,763.
This increase is in line with Tynwald policy, which ensures the station receives an inflation-linked increase in funding each year.
In the chairman’s statement, Bill Mummery said that this ‘financed 48% of our income’.
Mr Mummery added: ‘The turnover from continuing operations in 2021/22 of £1,167,772 was £31,425 (2%) below that of 2020/21 (£1,199,197). As the only shareholder of Manx Radio, the Isle of Man Treasury sent a letter of support in reference to future funding, dated July 11, 2022.’
The report also shows that operating expenses at the station, which totalled £2,236,994, was £80,331 (4%) higher than the previous year.
Mr Mummery said: ‘This was largely down to several of our public service media outside broadcast commitments, which were cancelled due to Covid-19 in the previous 12 months, returning this year.’
He added: ‘Under all the circumstances the resultant profit of £9,658 is I believe a creditable achievement particularly since Manx Radio did not seek nor receive any government financial Covid-19 support payments or furlough payments.’
The station’s report says that 45,000 islanders are reached by its coverage every month, down from 47,000 in last year’s report, while its website views are down from 45 million to 37.8 million.
The station’s annual report also shows that between second quarter 2021 and the first quarter of 2022, its website views dropped from 8.4m to 6.3m and online unique ‘connections’ fell from 183,253 to 101,039.
The station has continued its persistence in calling for a digital service (known as DAB or digital audio broadcasting) in the island, with managing director Chris Sully saying: ‘There is a danger that the Isle of Man community is being left behind as the rest of the British Isle moves to DAB.’
He added: ‘The BBC has switched off nearly all their local radio AM transmitters in favour of FM and DAB. The Channel Islands have their own DAB multiplex offering 26 different audio services via a DAB radio to listeners https://bit.ly/3nEGont
‘Therefore, it is still the intention of Manx Radio to move toward offering a DAB platform as a listening alternative on the island.
‘Alternative digital listening via connected devices such as Alexa etc also continue to grow in popularity and we have noticed a significant increase in listeners tuning in to Manx Radio via such devices.
‘Research by IPSOS/MORI into online listening via the most popular platform, Echo, shows that live, linear radio remains the most popular choice for those using the device.’
The BBC broadcasts digital services from the masts in the Isle of Man.
As well as its FM frequencies, Manx Radio broadcasts on AM.
Alongside its regular output, Mr Mummery outlined that Manx Radio continues to provide free studio facilities, training and web hosting for groups across the island including Manx Theatre Podcast, PolitiBabble, the IoM Anti-Cancer Association, Going The Match, Island ArtCast, Making Waves, Supergroup and Wild Thing, among others.
The station was also ‘instrumental’, alongside commercial partner IFGL and the Domestic Events Fund, in bringing the Red Arrows to Manx skies in August 2021.
Mr Mummery continued to note the station’s coverage of the Manx General Election in September 2021, which included having reporters at every count.
One area for which Manx Radio has won many plaudits in the last year has been its coverage of FC Isle of Man’s games, largely fronted by Rob Pritchard and Tony Mepham, for which the former was nominated for best sports coverage category at the Commercial Radio Awards.