RTÉ Radio 1 to continue on Longwave till 2019

RTÉ has agreed to continue its longwave 252 service in the UK until the end of June 2019.

After that, RTÉ hopes Radio 1 will gain approval from UK authorities to launch via a chain of small broadcast networks which cover main urban centres. Currently, a broadcaster has to be based in the UK to obtain an Ofcom licence.

RTÉ says using the DAB+ platform will be considerably less (approx one fifth) than the present quarter of a million per annum that RTÉ expends in running costs for 252.

Minister of State for the Diaspora, Joe McHugh T.D., has welcomed the recommendations: “I am delighted that there is now a way forward that takes into account as much as possible the views of older members of the Irish community in Britain. I have committed to making a contribution to this via the Government of Ireland Emigrant Support Programme. The research we funded on this issue has made clear that RTÉ Radio is a fantastic resource for Irish people in Britain. I’d like also to acknowledge the leadership the Irish community in Britain has shown on this.”

RTÉ plan to launch a service on DAB+ digital radio modelled from RTÉ Radio 1 and to work with stakeholders to maintain contact with the Irish community in Britain. Details of this service are still being worked out but it is likely to include a limited amount of new targeted programming commissioned for audiences in Britain. As a terrestrial radio service this is subject to regulatory approval in the UK.

The UK Government is currently in consultation about deregulating the radio industry, including the option to have a foreign company hold a radio licence.

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  1. Stephen Slater says

    Maybe it would be a good idea to encourage younger Irish people who live in Britain and who are more savvy technically to tell older people that it is possible to listen to a whole series of Irish radio stations on platforms such as Sky TV at the present time in the UK. I am not Irish but I do listen to RTE Lyric FM which is available on Sky channel 0164. I also listen to Irish music on RnG as well. So many older British people listen to BBC Radio 4 on long wave 198kHz. It is all a mindset I guess.

    1. Enda O'Kane says

      On mainland UK the most needy LW252 listeners are from lower income social groups. Sometimes referred to as “invisible Irish” they cannot afford satellite, broadband or indeed be familiar with or afford mobile phone tariffs. FM spillover only reliable in border counties. Even Belfast is poorly served .

  2. Mike says

    In parts of Northern Ireland (particularly Co. Antrim) RTE’s FM signal is unreliable (or non-existent). Satellite/Internet radio isn’t much use for in-car listening. Are RTE going to have DAB coverage sorted up here by 2019 ? It doesn’t even cover half the Republic at the moment

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