Calls continue for RTÉ to save Long Wave service

Calls have continued for RTÉ to delay or cancel the shutting down of its Long Wave transmitter in Trim, Co. Meath which was planned for January 2015.

The shutdown, which was originally planned for October 27th this year was put back to January 19th following protests that the move showed ignorance to elderly Irish emigrants in the UK.

However, the head of RTÉ Radio 1, Jim Jennings maintained in October that the proposed change is crucial, given the grave financial situation facing the broadcaster, as it costs them €250,000 per annum to maintain.

According to the Irish Post – the biggest selling national newspaper to the Irish in Britain – RTÉ have underestimated the need for the service in Britain, and while the broadcaster said that to measure longwave listening numbers in Britain would prove “a prohibitive service cost”, they said that 98 per cent of its Radio 1 listeners would be unaffected by the move.

Now RTÉ is coming under further renewed pressure to push the closure of the service back even further – or cancel it – with one broadcaster, Fr. Brian D’arcy calling for an announcement from RTÉ before Christmas, saying:  “What a present this would be for a lonely man sitting in a flat in London.”

Meanwhile, Minister for the Diaspora Jimmy Deenihan has written to RTÉ’s Director General to make him aware of the depth of concerns among the Irish community in Britain regarding the longwave service.

Noreen Bowden, of Globalirish.ie, told The Herald that petitions across the UK were gathering momentum, with 1,000 signatures collected in Manchester alone, adding: “There is simply no justification for not coming up with the money to fund this service – we owe this generation far more than that.”

The Long Wave transmitter at Mornington House in Trim was originally built for and used by the part-RTÉ-owned pop music station  Atlantic 252 between 1989 and 2001.

A campaign to save the RTÉ long wave transmission has set up a web site at savertelongwaveradio.com.



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3 Comments
  1. Simon says

    It seem to come down to money, there is little justification for RTE continuing to pay €250,000 per year for a service that is listened to by very few people and where most of those that do listen are non-Licence Fee payers.

  2. John says

    RTÉ Radio should have consulted with it’s long time listeners of Radio One services broadcasting on AM: previously on Medium Wave 567 & 729KHz and currently on Long Wave 252KHz before making the original announcement last September when they gave listeners only about 4 weeks prior warning. I’m also sure that some of the older listeners who found themselves forced to emigrate across the Irish Sea may have paid the Licence Fee at some point in the past or else been in households that paid the Licence Fee during their earlier years at home in Ireland. FM and DAB signals of RTÉ Radio One services is not a option for those who want to tune in to RTÉ Radio One across the Irish Sea and it is unfair to force older listeners in the Senior Citizens category to invest in satellite tv or computer equipment or go down the subscription tv or broadband internet route. Some people just expect this audience to suddenly go all high tech high spec in their advanced age in years or else die off now because RTÉ are running a tighter ship now after years of wasting money on overpaid salaries. In the UK a number of years ago, BBC tried to pull Radio 4 Long Wave service but they were forced to do a U-Turn on that plan following a storm of protests at the time.

  3. Enda O'Kane says

    On a couple of points :
    The transmitter is actually near the village of Summerhill Co. Meath – Clarkstown
    The studios were in Trim when broadcasting as Atlantic 252.
    There are 6M in the UK who have an Irish Grandparent 0.5M Irish born and 100,000 pensioners
    These folk paid remittences to fund an ailing Irish economy in bygone years.
    We owe a death to these emigrants many of who are isolated now in their old age.
    The real cost of Longwave 252 ( on low power ) is more likely in the region of €150K rather then RTE’s figure of €250,000

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