RTÉ’s longwave radio service gets short reprieve

RTÉ has ​​agreed to change its plans to shut down its longwave radio service following protests from representatives of the Irish community in Britain.

The national broadcaster will extend the service until 2019 and then introduce a replacement using an improved form of digital radio out of step with its previous position.

In September 2014, RTÉ announced the imminent closure of the service. It carries Radio 1 on the longwave frequency of 252 kHz which extends to the island of Brittany. This was then postponed to 2017.

Campaigners against the move argued that it would further isolate Irish seniors in Britain who relied on the radio to stay in touch with Irish affairs.

About 12% of RTÉ radio’s live online streams come from the UK, which translates to around 600,000 streams per month. But the broadcaster’s claim that its channels could be easily accessed through the internet or online providers has been disputed by activists, who cited research showing that many older people were unable to access services. such services.

Advisory group

Prior to this closure, RTÉ will launch a replacement service on DAB +, an improved form of digital radio. To access DAB +, most listeners will need to purchase new sets which typically range from £ 30 in the UK. The number of listeners in Ireland who access RTÉ channels via DAB is currently not measured by the JNLR survey, although around 20 percent of households here are known to have a DAB radio.

The program will be transmitted via a chain of small networks which cover the main urban centers of the United Kingdom. RTÉ estimates that the cost of transmission will be around one fifth of the current € 250,000 per year.

Details of the new service are unclear, but it is likely to include a limited amount of targeted programs commissioned specifically for the public in Britain and will be subject to regulatory approval there. The additional programming will have a “very modest budget” of around € 50,000, according to a spokesperson.

“Fantastic resource”

“I have made a commitment to contribute through the Irish Government’s Emigrant Support Program,” he said. “The research we funded on this issue has clearly shown that RTÉ radio is a fantastic resource for Irish people in Britain.”

Broadcaster chief executive Dee Forbes said longwave as a technology was no longer viable in the long term.

“It is crucial that we. . . develop a replacement service and that RTÉ play its role in supporting evolving technologies. I am convinced that we have. . . the good will to make it a success with the public.

RTÉ Radio 1 will continue to be available in the UK on RTÉ Radio, Sky, FreeSat, Virgin TV and other services.

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