Hungary will get a new sports-themed radio station on January 17, when Sportrádió begins broadcasting in and around Budapest. Its owner is György Szöllősi (pictured), well-known as the favorite sports journalist of Viktor Orbán and also the editor-in-chief of Nemzeti Sport, the Prime Minister’s favorite newspaper.
Sportrádió, “The Voice of Winners,” is expected to reach around 1.5 million people in and around Budapest on the 105.9 Mhz frequency. As Népszava notes, they could not have found a more apt motto, as fans of Orbán could hardly have a bigger winner in the Hungarian sports world than György Szöllősi.
Népszava claims that Szöllősi has been particularly loyal to Orbán and his System of National Co-operation (NER). The journalist was the communications director of the Puskás Academy in Felcsút from 2007-2014, when he moved from Budapest to Orbán’s childhood town and no doubt won his way into the Prime Minister’s heart.
After Orbán became prime minister for the second time in 2010, the daily newspaper states, Szöllősi was chosen as editor-in-chief of Nemzeti Sport, then appointed head of the Association of Hungarian Sports Journalists, and now will be the owner of Sportrádió.
The Media Council announced a tender for the 105.9 frequency last year, specifying that it must have a sports-themed profile. Many observers at the time thought that the reason for this was to exclude the government-critical Klubrádió from the airwaves, which lost its broadcasting license last year and has since been exiled to the Internet. In retrospect, it appears obvious that Szöllősi was destined to be awarded with a radio station, writes Népszava.
Initially, the broadcasting rights to the frequency were awarded to a new company called LBK Sport Kft. for 10 + 7 years. As news portal Média1 reported, the owner of LBK Sport at the time was Csilla Margit Kulcsár from the Fidesz-friendly Litter-Biró Law Firm. The firm has regularly won various tenders from the governing party, including several radio frequencies just in the past few months.
The rights to radio frequencies cannot be sold in Hungary, but there is nothing stopping someone from buying the company with the rights. And indeed, Szöllősi first purchased LBK Sport Kft, then moved its headquarters to Main Street in Felcsút and renamed it Online Sportmédia Kft.
Szöllősi’s station will also be broadcast online through nemzetisport.hu, where he is the chief editor. In addition, daily Nemzeti Sport, owned by the pro-government Mediaworks, will provide staff for the radio station owned by its editor-in-chief, and presumably the station’s advertising department will populate Sportrádió with state-sponsored advertisers.
The station has also recruited well-known reporters in Hungary such as F1 commentator Zoltán Szujó, László Török, Zsuzsa Csisztu, Levente Harsányi, Gábor Lantos, and Tibor Szegő. In addition to music programming, they plan to broadcast various talk shows, news programs, and sports events on-site.
Szöllősi announced the news of the radio station at the Athlete of the Year Gala. The main organizer of this event is the National Association of Hungarian Sports Journalists, of which Szöllősi is the president.
In this way, seemingly disparate and independent companies and organizations merge to form a tight network into which several billions of forints worth of public money flow, and from there into the pockets of NER loyalists, claims Népszava.