Community radios in Hungary (2008)

Community radios in Hungary (2008)

– Hungarian Federation of Free Radios –

Brief history

– after the system changing: unregulated situation, no frequency-management
Media: only a few national radio (and 2 TV) station + 2-3 commercial radio with national donation
– lawyers didn’t build the base and institutions of the freedom of speech („defaultly trespass”)
– 1991 aug 21 – Radio Tilos starts as a pirate station (–> enormous effect, they got civil awards, their audiency got bigger and bigger)
– 1992 Hungarian Federation of Free Radios has established
– 1994-1995: temporary radio licences (for 1-2 weeks)
– 1995: a new chance to get stable / constant radio licenses
– 1995: 3 new community radio starts in Budapest in one shared frequency (Civil, Tilos, Fiksz)
– 1995-96: Further community radios start on countryside (Debrecen /Szóla/, Pécs /Publikum/, Kaposvár /Zöm/, Szombathely /etc.) (map attached)
– Financing radios: grants and proposals (Soros and other foundations)
– 1996 Media Law (Act I of 1996 on Radio and Television Broadcasting) – including the community radios’ definition and brief regulation (advertisements etc)
– Around the milleneum: a weak community media sector with only a few survivor radio
– 2002: „New Hope”: the National Radio and Television Commission (ORTT) has call a tender for „small community radios”. A very successful story – nowadays these radios’ number reach the 60.

Present situation

– Around 60 small community radio in the whole country. They are:
o „non-profit” or „public broadcasters”
o fill for one of 4 eligibility criterion (1, 2, 3, 4)
o financing: proposals, advertisement (3minutes/hour), donations
o very very small range (2-3 km) or power of transmitter (max 10W) or audiency (no more than 6 000 persons)
– Federation’s help to them: borrowable transmitters and aerials (developed especially for small comm. radios), trainings, publications, brochures, professional meetings etc.
– Contact with the authorities:
o „National Radio and Television Commission” (ORTT) – calls and considers the frequency-proposals (gives one hand and takes away other hand)
o „Broadcasters’ Found” – annual proposals for 1.) overhead and 2.) technical development (a special one with special rules to the small community radios) (Federation’s members are sitting in its allocation boards)
o „National Communications Authority” (NHH) – measures the ranges (for free – but very little ones <- its „reason”: frequency-necessity)
o the working radios cannot complete their only mission: reach their audience (although differences in big cities and villages)
nem-nyereségérdekelt műsorszolgáltató: non-profit-oriented broadcasters
közműsorszolgáltató: broadcasters engaged in the transmission of public programming
közszolgálati műsorszolgáltató: Public service broadcasters

Orsolya Kovács, Bucarest, AMARC conference, 2008-12.