Wednesday, June 21, 2006

RTÉ and the Arts Council: Going through the motions

This just in from the Arts Council; the meeting between its director, Mary Cloake, and the Director General of RTÉ, Cathal Goan, took place yesterday. I accept that it's perhaps too much to expect concrete results from just one meeting, but I don't see anything in this press release about a follow-up meeting, and I see little sign, in this outline of the discussion, of concrete promises being given by RTÉ about its future coverage of the arts. Reading between the lines, it looks like little more than a call-and-answer session of the appropriate noises. The noises the Arts Council knows it has to make in this situation, and the noises that RTÉ knows it has to make not to invite more negative publicity. There was plenty of affirmation, and reiteration, and talk of high priorities, but there's nothing new, and nothing binding, in the statements Goan was cornered into trotting out in yesterday's meeting. Saying that the appointment of an arts correspondent is a high priority in no way obliges RTÉ to do anything about making such an appointment. This is pie-in-the-sky stuff. Given that it does not depend on the Arts Council for its funding, RTÉ was hardly even obliged to attend the meeting when it was called by the Arts Council, and it certainly was not obliged to provide Cloake with answers, and with anything other than vague assurances. And it shows.

The Arts Council raised the serious concerns of the arts community about changes in the RTÉ Radio 1 schedule and the potential downgrading of arts coverage on RTÉ. The Arts Council urged RTÉ to maintain arts broadcasting in the mainstream of coverage rather than solely at marginal times.
RTÉ reiterated its absolute and ongoing commitment to the arts across all its broadcasting services and affirmed that the arts will remain a key priority. RTÉ said the Radio 1 autumn schedule was being finalised. RTÉ is confident that its service to the arts in that schedule will address the concerns expressed by the Arts Council.
RTÉ also said the appointment of an arts correspondent was a high priority.
The meeting discussed the complementary responsibilities of both organisations in supporting the arts, a wide range of joint initiatives, actual and potential, and the central value of the arts in a changing Ireland.

1 comment:

Brian Greene said...

just an idea, do we need RTE?
if rattlebag put 100 bums on seats in the NCH per gig then the NCH would do well to make the radio show themself on subscription to podcast for lets guess the cost of 20 seats per episode to make....