The Oireachtas Transport and Communications Committee is heard today from representatives of the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland.

John Purcell of KCLR 96FM has called for a change to the way funding is distributed and said he wants a properly funded independent sector.

Mr Purcell said that RTÉ has dual funding from the licence fee and commercial revenue, as well as 80% of the Sound & Vision funding.

He said the independent sector is seeking is a public service fund, where the monies would be distributed among the local radio stations.

IBI member Tim Collins said there should be a Household Broadcasting Charge and these funds would be divided out.

Mr Collins asked the committee to use their powers to get this legislation through.

Mr Purcell said the independent sector employs 1,500 people and has 2.5m listeners every day, compared to 1.2m listeners for RTÉ Radio.

He also said the sector is very concerned about the future because advertising revenue is way down.

Independent TD Michael Healy-Rae said many people in rural parts plan their day based around the local radio station.

Mr Healy-Rae said he has great respect for RTÉ and that it has done Ireland great service, but there has to be a change in funding because it cannot have a monopoly on the funding.