Inter-Island Radio Clarifies Fees/Service Contract

March 27, 2019 | 36 Comments

Inter-Island Communications — which manages the Hott 107.5 and Magic 102.7 radio stations — moved to clarify their ‘fee for services’ contract, noting that airtime is valuable, other media received more, and their stations are working to provide programming that is “appreciated by a diverse and huge local demographic.”

The company also addressed the matter of one of their popular radio hosts being named as a consultant to the Government, stating they were unaware that Sherri Simmons was a consultant until details were announced earlier this month, as the “company had not been informed prior.”

Fee For Services Contract

This follows after an Official Gazette notice showed that Inter-Island Communications had a contract for $35 per radio ad; $150 per interview, $175 for radio ad production, $2,000 per broadcast for remote broadcasting and $3,500 for 60-second video production.

A Government spokesperson said that, “Despite the options offered by Inter-Island under its contract, only the following services have been used and paid for radio ads which were produced by CITV and interviews with on-air personalities.”

IIC confirmed the same, saying they have ”not received any government payment for Press Statements or Ministerial Statements under the contract to date.”

The “formalized agreement with Inter-Island Communications began on 5 December, 2018 and is set to conclude 4 December 2019,” the Government noted, stating that “to date services with Inter-Island Communications totaled approximately $24,000.”

Opposition Express Concern

The contract with Inter-Island has been questioned by the Opposition, with MP Susan Jackson saying ”Government must explain why it is spending at least $50,000 promoting news messages like Ministerial statements through a media organisation owned by a former PLP MP.”

In a column today, Shadow Finance Minister Nick Kempe, said “there has been a massive leap in taxpayer funded Government messaging” which he called a “propaganda machine,” saying the “increase in spending on the communications apparatus is a telling measure of this Government’s priorities when compared to other items, as we saw above with Education.”

Inter-Island Comment

An IIC spokesperson said, “Inter-Island Communications, Ltd [IIC] is a commercial broadcasting entity that provides it’s listeners access to interactive programming via Hott 107.5 FM and Magic 102.7 FM Radio Stations.

“The company prides itself in the commitment to provide community-centric content that entertains and informs. As such, both stations continues to have the largest and most diverse local radio audience.

“Accordingly, it is prudent for any private or public sector entity to use effective media options to communicate with a targeted audience or indeed the public at large!

“Regarding the enquiry about the IIC contract with government, the agreement formalizes and stipulates the rates that apply for various services. The contract is on a fee for services basis and enables the opportunity for the government to reach and interactively discuss any initiative or important matter directly with the public in real time.

“Fee for service simply means that we cannot invoice government for any payment, if an IIC service is not actually used. IIC is here for clients that wish to reach consumers or the public at large and the Radio Stations remain relevant because they provide programming that is respected and genuinely appreciated by a diverse and huge local demographic.

“All airtime is valuable and Interview rates apply. The government, non-profit organizations and Registered Charities receive special discount rates. However, IIC has not received any government payment for Press Statements or Ministerial Statements under the contract to date.

“However, should such requests be made going forward, the requisite contract fee rates shall apply. We are not a ‘hard news’ station per se, although we now have news reports to complement “current affairs” Talk Show formats.

“Interviews requested by government ministries and or departments will inform, edify and educate listeners about government initiatives, legislation and public interest affairs or matters of high public importance.

“Company policy requires that applicable rates be applied to “All Requested” interviews. There is a disclaimer that applies to All “Talk” format content. All government interviews under the contract must be booked in advance under the said applicable fee rates.

“IIC is always open to healthy interactive discussion during various Talk Show programs, which is facilitated on both stations and the company retains the right to air programming content that fits format, regardless of race, religion, creed or political affiliation.

“IIC’s Community-Centric programming model consistently features more local content on a daily basis than any other local broadcaster! This in huge part substantiates why HOTT and MAGIC enjoys the largest and most diverse CUME in local radio.”

Larger Spending To Other Media

The company also noted that for several years, other media received annual government contracts which were worth multiple times the amount of their current agreement and a “local broadcasting competitor is said to have received approximately $48,000.00 between December 2018 and February 2019.”

They were citing the Government statement which previously noted that in the same time frame that InterIsland was paid $24,000, the Bermuda Broadcasting Company received $48,000 for radio and television advertising services, while Royal Gazette received $5,300 in print advertising fees, and Bernews earned $2,100, which was for online banner ad sales.

As far as older numbers, which span entire Government spending not just with the Department of Communications, the last available figures we have are from 2012 and 2013, and that information [PDF] indicates that, at that time, the highest spending went to the now defunct Bermuda Sun who received $338,909, and two other media outlets also received 6 figure annual spending.

Radio Host Serves As Consultant: “The Company Had Not Been Informed Prior”

The company also addressed the matter of one of their popular radio hosts being named as a consultant to the Government, stating they were unaware that Sherri Simmons was a consultant to the Ministry of Legal Affairs until details were announced earlier this month as the “company had not been informed prior.”

The broadcast company stated, “Regarding Mrs. Sherri Simmons and her role with government, it should be clearly noted that IIC was not initially informed about her appointment and only became aware that she was contracted as a government consultant, when details were publicized earlier this month confirming that her tenure commenced last October 2018. The company had not been informed prior! Notwithstanding, IIC’s policy restricts public comment on the company’s internal affairs, so no further comment will be made.”

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Comments (36)

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  1. question says:

    Taxpayer funds are being used to promote the PLP. That’s all there is to it. It’s just another abuse of power under the PLP jackboot.

    • Ronda says:

      So when taxpayer funds were paid to Bermuda Broadcasting Co. by OBA… was that promoting OBA..

      Trying to understand the difference..

      • Question says:

        The OBA is a party. The PLP is a party. They can each buy advertising using their own money. What they should not do is use TAXPAYER funds to promote their party, That is what the PLP is doing – using taxpayer funds to promote their party.

      • LaV says:

        “Trying to understand the difference..”

        Have an 11 year old explain it to you, maybe draw some pictures as well.

  2. road rash says:

    Good grief! Talk about a bombshell article! So who authorized her appointment and kept it quiet!!!???

    • Paul says:

      Good lord, the truth is unfolding, and more lies are about to come out…but guess what the people know what is going down…”you can fool some of the people some of the time,but not all of the people all of the time.

  3. Not exactly says:

    Wow! Not even Island new about Sherri’s consultant contract…

    • Rockfish#1and #2 says:

      Why would she not tell them? Something fishy going on here!

  4. Not exactly says:

    Knew

  5. DeOnion says:

    That is one hell of an ‘oversight’. wow. just wow. heads should roll over this

  6. question says:

    So an ostensibly “impartial” radio host is secretly hired by the government, paid by the taxpayer, to publicize and promote the PLP.

    And they don’t see a problem with that?

    • Paul says:

      Do we have a broadcasting committee ? and if we do they should be ashamed that this crap is going on.
      Bermuda is in for a very rough ride…There are other places to go on vacation…

      • Come Correct says:

        Who cares about other destinations when you only have one island to bring to its knees?

  7. red rose says:

    Who hired her? Who told who? Who didn’t tell who? this is embarrassing and someone should go over this

  8. dick francis says:

    Ok, leaving aside the Sherri fiasco –

    1. IIC confirmed the same, saying they have ”not received any government payment for Press Statements or Ministerial Statements under the contract to date.”
    OK, but nonetheless the contract, which is for at least $50,000, states that these are the payments. Whether it has happened or not is neither here nor there.
    Also, the key words are ‘at least’ – the published PATI contract did not say what the actual amount is.
    2. “to date services with Inter-Island Communications totaled approximately $24,000.”
    Ok, still $8K a month, so far …
    3. “Interviews requested by government ministries and or departments will inform, edify and educate listeners about government initiatives, legislation and public interest affairs or matters of high public importance.
    But as you are being paid, they will not be challenged, thus they are paid for ads aka propaganda.
    Does the contract state that listeners should be told that the interview is being paid for?

    • Accountability is a 2-wat Street says:

      Please check how much Michael Dunkley administration paid the Royal Gazette, Bermuda Broadcasting Company, VSB, InterIsland Communication, Bernews etc. Then let’s talk. Thousands were paid I bet to one avenue with no eyebrows raised

      • Question says:

        Nope. Not for party political adverts. The PLP is using taxpayer funds to promote its fulltime election campaign.

      • Come Correct says:

        Isn’t this bordeline libel? Can you prove any of this? Point us in a direction? Sorry, I forgot, the boogeyman.

  9. Fooled me twice says:

    Mean while at the bus stop.

    • no bus arrived says:

      because the drivers were at a meeting talking about the new schedule

  10. Paul says:

    What the hell is going on here ? to think a minister without a portfolio is getting a hefty pay check,plus he has a consultant that is also getting paid for doing nothing… plus a talk show host who is the wife of said minister is being paid as a consultant !!!!!!!!!
    and else for the bus situation… I just watched what happened on the bus today !!!! people are getting fed up.

  11. Shambles! says:

    Well–at least the Government was transparent about it!

    I sure hope that the lady’s advice to the Gvt is non-partisan and in the interest all all Bermudian taxpayers!!!.

    Blessings abound!

  12. Ronda says:

    Didn’t the OBA do the same albeit using a different radio stations..

    Quite offer the OBA MPsand Ministers would make rounds excluding IIC.
    Could be Why the OBA lost the Black vote they enjoyed on 2012..

    Secondly.. why is the public concerned with Sherri Simmons’ job contract..

    Is it possible IIC didn’t know because it’s none of their business..

    We either don’t want the govt using any other media but CITV or we want the information on radio and in print and govt should pay for it..

    • Blinded by the stupidity says:

      PLP 101…DEFLECT, DEFLECT, DEFLECT. Remember what what the island was like when the PLP were in Opposition? If the OBA had done even something 100th of this, the island would have been shut down and there would have been another smoothie drinkers on the Hill. The Green Oligarchy is truly ruling Bermuda now.

    • Enough says:

      Why should the public be concerned?? Because it’s OUR money they are spending on someone who isn’t even REMOTELY qualified.

      That’s why.

    • Question says:

      No, the OBA did not divert hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money for blatant party political broadcasts. That’s just the PLP.

    • Come Correct says:

      Haven’t seen your comments for a while now. Why can’t you spell your name right?

      • LaV says:

        “Why can’t you spell your name right?”

        Blinded by racism….also known as “having sh!t in your eyes”

  13. Sandgrownan says:

    Incompetent. Same old PLP

  14. Rise says:

    I didn’t hear any outcry when over the decades millions of tax dollars was paid to the print media outlets. That’s the problem here. Whenever it’s a black owner getting Government business they are highly scrutinized. Come on people, give us a break!

    • aceboy says:

      The UBP or the OBA did not pay a radio talk show host to sprout misleading propaganda that was eaten up by the likes of you. You didn’t hear the outcry because it didn’t happen.

    • LOL says:

      Proof?

      • Read it says:

        It’s posted above read it, Sun got $330,000 in that time, so over the years was obviously lot more.

        • question says:

          You’re talking about official Gazette items. Nothing like the taxpayer-funded blatant advertisements going on right now.

          If you don’t know what you’re talking about, it’s best to shut up.

  15. Oh,I see now says:

    This party has proven that no matter whom is in power we are living in the age of the damned.My expectations are in the shythole about now.

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