Klubrádió wins frequency fight

The Media Council has named Klubrádió the winner of the 95.3 MHz frequency, following a lengthy legal battle with the opposition radio station. The Council’s decision comes after a series of successful court verdicts for the broadcaster, including a March 5 ruling by a Budapest court, which found that the Media Council’s decision to invalidate Klubrádió’s tender bid was unlawful and its failure to complete the tender procedure could be unconstitutional.  

The Media Council stated that its decision to award Klubrádió the frequency is in accordance with the March 5 court ruling. “It was worth following the rule of law all the way through,” the Media Council saidUnder its new contract, Klubrádió has been granted a seven-year license for the 95.3 MHz frequency. The station has been operating on temporary, 60-day permits since its license expired in February 2011.

Klubrádió says it plans to pursue its ongoing legal dispute with the Media Council over its rights to broadcast on a different frequency, 92.9 MHz. The station was awarded a free operating license for that frequency by Hungary’s former media regular, ORTT, just before the change of government in April 2010. The Media Council, which was formed in August 2010, later canceled the contract on grounds that the station could not operate on two frequencies in the same broadcasting area, in accordance with the 1996 media law. Klubrádió specified in its bid that if it were awarded the 92.9 frequency it would give up its 95.3 license.

The station prefers to use its 92.9 frequency because it has a less restrictive programming format than the 95.3 license, which requires the talk-radio station to air 40 percent music, as specified by the terms of the tender issued by the Media Council. The 92.9 frequency is also a free license, while the station’s 95.3 license carries a fee of nearly HUF 53 million (roughly EUR 175,000).