Madaric: Quotas for Slovak Music Pose No Harm for Radio Stations

Culture Minister Marek Madaric (stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, April 17 (TASR) – Slovak radio stations haven’t recorded a drop in listeners, and privately owned stations haven’t seen any decrease in ad revenues, either; on the contrary, there have even been improvements in these parameters in some cases, said Culture Minister Marek Madaric (Smer-SD) concerning the radio quotas for Slovak music introduced a year ago.

“I think that experience has demonstrated that at least no harm has been done. On the contrary, some have benefited. So, I’m satisfied,” said Madaric. “What’s maybe a shame is the fact that private radio stations aren’t inclined to work more intensely with Slovak music. Of course, some have opted to include it in some more integrated playlists, but that’s up to them to decide,” said Madaric, adding that if broadcasters made “a little more effort, they might find interesting Slovak musicians and bands”.

Mandatory quotas for Slovak music were taken to the Constitutional Court by Prosecutor-General Jaromir Ciznar shortly after their introduction in April 2016 at the behest of the Slovak Independent Radio and Television Stations Association. The quotas were alleged to involve wanton and retroactive interference in broadcasters’ ownership rights.

“We also feel confident about our line of argumentation,” claimed Madaric. “Other precedents in Europe exist, but also in Slovakia, where a certain percentage of European production has also been set for the television programmes of [public broadcaster] Radio and Television Slovakia [RTVS].”

“I could cite examples of when a song that someone claimed could never have become a hit became just that when put on a playlist, because a song becomes a hit when it receives airplay,” reasoned Madaric. “More Slovak music also affords the option of being more diverse. After all, even Slovak music is diverse. The ratio between foreign and Slovak music was tipped a little in favour of the domestic variety, but we’re talking 20 percent, which is in no way so drastic.”

As of April 2016, legislation has obliged Slovak radio stations to broadcast more Slovak music – currently at least 25 percent of airtime for private radio stations and 35 percent for RTVS. At least one fifth of that airtime must be given to new songs.