Taoiseach Micheál Martin has told the Dáil that RTÉ needs a sustainable funding model.
He said he did not want to pre-empt the outcome of the recently established Future of Media Commission.
Mr Martin added that a universal charge had been supported an Oireachtas Committee.
He said the funding of the media was "not satisfactory" and "not sustainable" and he told politicians that the challenge was to put ideology to one side.
The Taoiseach said he was prepared to make unpopular decisions.
Speaking at a meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht on 11 November, RTÉ's Head of Audience, Channels and Marketing, Adrian Lynch said Covid-19 has caused a sharp drop in licence fee income, and a decline in advertising revenue, and that its financial outlook for 2021 is "uncertain".
Mr Lynch said a broken licence fee system has added to financial pressures, with evasion costing around €50m per year.