Government-critical radio station Klubrádió does not believe it has a realistic chance of getting its 92.9 FM frequency back in a newly-announced tender, although the radio station is planning “certain steps,” Richárd Stock, CEO of Klubrádió Zrt, told Magyar Hang.
The news site contacted Stock after a draft of a new tender for the 92.9 MHz frequency was published in the newsletter of the National Media and Communications Authority (NMHH) on Friday. Klubrádió had broadcast on this frequency until mid-February of this year.
Richard Stock is pessimistic because, as he recalled, Hungary’s High Court, the Curia, confirmed an earlier decision by the Media Council to disqualify Klubrádió from a previous tender. The Media Council had determined that the radio station’s business and financial plans were not well-founded, and therefore the company did not meet the objectives of the tender.
Sprit FM, which has ties to television station ATV, was later granted the broadcast license for the 92.9 frequency.
As Klubrádió still has no commercial revenue and operates from listener donations, we will have to submit the same business plan for the tender as in the previous process. NMHH does not view donations as income that satisfies the terms of the tender. The Curia’s judgments are binding, and the media authority can hide behind them, meaning that if we apply, Klubrádió will again be disqualified from the tender process
– stated CEO Richárd Stock.
As to the “certain steps” they can take, Stock said that the station plans to take part in hearings held at this stage of the NMHH’s proceedings. The radio station also wants to ask the Media Council to clarify whether the call for tenders is in line with legal regulations, as Stock is convinced that they are not.
The CEO also thought it likely that the European Union could take up their cause. The radio executive noted that the European Commission had initiated infringement proceedings against Hungary back in June, after the Media Council declined to extend Klubrádió’s broadcasting license. The Commission determined that the Media Council’s rulings on the broadcasting rights of Klubrádió were disproportionate and non-transparent, and that the Media Law had been applied in a discriminatory manner.
The NMHH has had a new president since Friday, with President János Áder appointing András Koltay, a lawyer and rector at the National University of Public Administration, to the post. However, Richárd Stock claims that the media authority is not independent and carries out the will of the government.
Klubrádió’s broadcasting license expired on February 14 this year, and since then its programs can only be heard on the Internet. However, their listener base has remained stable, according to Richárd Stock, and the survival of the station is maintained through listener donations from a spring and fall fundraising drive.