Supporting radio audiences during the Coronavirus crisis

19th March 2020, by Sam Bailey

The Audio Content Fund has announced a special funding round, for content that will support radio audiences during the coronavirus crisis.

The fund, which is financed by the UK Government, has made a minimum of £200,000 of its budget available for ideas that will improve the quality of listeners’ lives during restrictions in place due to Covid-19.

The new call for ideas will focus on identifying and filling gaps that have been caused by the huge disruption in people’s lives, with an emphasis on cultural, social, music and artistic material.  In particular, the fund is asking suppliers to think about how lifestyles and livelihoods are being affected by the restrictions, and how radio can improve the situation for people listening at home.

The standard guidelines and eligibility criteria for ACF funding will still apply – the bids must come from independent production companies that have a guarantee of broadcast on commercial or community radio, and it must be demonstrated that ideas would be too costly to make without ACF support. 

In addition, the fund has asked that consideration be given to how the content can be made safely and in-line with any restrictions of movement that may be in place.  They have also asked bidders to think of ways of maximising audience impact and reach, and bringing together widespread production expertise, by forming innovative partnerships of suppliers and broadcasters.

Sam Bailey, Managing Director of the Audio Content Fund, said:

“We live in extraordinary times, and it’s already clear that radio will play a vital role in keeping communities and families together while they are physically apart. I want to make sure that ACF funding is available for radio stations and suppliers that have incredible ideas that will make people’s lives better during this difficult time.”

John Whittingdale OBE MP, Minister of State for Media and Data, said: 

“Radio is an important part of people’s everyday lives but will be especially vital for many of us during the coronavirus outbreak. We established the Audio Content Fund so that listeners across the country will benefit from more home-grown, high quality radio content that informs and entertains. It’s only right that it will be directly funding programmes that bring the country together and reflect people’s experiences and perspectives during this difficult period.”

The funding round is open immediately and will operate on a rolling basis, remaining open until the ACF determine it is no longer necessary.  Ideas will be reviewed by the funding panel within two weeks, with funding for selected ideas made available promptly and upfront. (UPDATE: Deadline for bids is now set as 11th May 10am)

In addition, the regular ACF Round 4 remains open until 29 March to ensure funding is available for standard content as well.