RTÉ digital radio services to continue online

RTÉ is ending transmissions on DAB digital radio at the end of March, but its DAB-only services will now continue online.

Previously, the broadcaster announced it would end DAB transmissions and close RTÉ Gold, RTÉ 2XM, RTÉ Radio 1 Extra, RTÉ Pulse, and RTÉjr Radio.

But in a U-turn, these stations will survive due to feedback from listeners.

RTÉ says its decision to cease DAB transmission was driven by three main factors – the fact that DAB was the least utilised platform in Ireland; that RTÉ is the only Irish broadcaster on the DAB system, and cost avoidance.

The national DAB multiplexes will cease to carry any radio stations from 31st March, putting an end to national digital radio in the country.

A report commissioned by the broadcaster found that just 0.5% of adults in Ireland listen to radio via DAB while 77% of adults in Ireland listen on FM.



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11 Comments
  1. John moloney says

    This is a joke , according to will leahy on gold breakfast ,gold is really popular since they starting putting presenters on it, if only rte management had the competence to have put dab on the high power transmitters like maghera instead of woodcock hill it would have had a fighting chance ,now its been downgraded to a podcast in reality, and as for the dab radio i bought i know where i would love to shove it that, what exactly was the point spending millions of tax payers money on a digital broadcasting network exactly??? Oh yes to do what rte does best ,go backwards

    1. Niall Cullen says

      I agree with you, I now want the money I spent on my DAB radios for my house and my old car which works great back.

  2. John moloney says

    What rte forgot to mention is that the dab signal is unavailable to most of the country through a fault of rte, managements own making

  3. DERMOT says

    Who needs RTE radio?.The only decent station is RTE GOLD. RTE is not the only service provider in the ROI. I live in North Louth.I can receive 84 DAB stations on my ARCAM DIVA DT 91 DAB
    tuner.I purchased it on EBAY UK Free delivery to a friends address in Newry.
    I even have the same amount of stations in my garden shed
    using a PANASONIC SA EN9 DAB TUNER and CD player,I purchased 2 LABGEAR LABDABO OMNI DAB AERIALS from AMAZON.UK. Free postage to NEWRY UK. £15 each.
    I alphabetical order the stations are from ABC DUBLIN to ZENITH
    ROCK .In between are BBC RADIO 1,2,3,4,5,6, CLASSIC FM, DOWNTOWN, DOWNTOWN COUNTRY MAGIC, MELLOW MAGIC etc. I really am spoilt for choice. I never listen to FM radio.
    RTE can close down tomorrow.Radio AND TV for all I care.
    I have an old PANASONIC satellite receiver and can receive
    100.s of free to air channel.s. PBS AMERICA SMITHSONIAN etc.

    I

  4. Niall Cullen says

    This is an insult to the people who spent a lot of money on digital radios since 2006. I have several DAB radios around the house and like to listen to RTE Gold in the house and the car. All cars manufactured in Europe from this year must have DAB. RTE committed to DAB+ several years ago, and has now stuck two fingers up to people who have invested good money into their digital radios. As DAB is not available to most of the country so how can people listen to it? On the 28th of this month we put our clocks forward 1 hour to summer time, but on the 31st we put our DAB radios back 16 years back. RTE should never have been allowed to run the DAB radio service or the DTT tv service as there is a conflict of interests there. In my opinion the DAB and DTT service should be run by an independent company that has no conflict of interests. Some radio stations that tried to get on DAB gave up as it was too complicated. This can not be the end of DAB in Ireland, of course it is still in the north. I remember a couple of years ago on Howth Head and receiving over 50 stations in my car on DAB, most stations were UK.

  5. PK says

    As a listener, the paltry bit rates in use meant that my choice almost always reverted to FM unless there was poor reception there.

    I’m desperately sorry to see the end of DAB in Ireland. But, IMO, when the advent of DAB+ was taken as an opportunity to lower bit rates further, and not improve audio quality, it felt inevitable listeners would stick to FM.

  6. Liam Quigley says

    DAB was never developed properly in Ireland, It’s old technology at this stage.
    Independent radio here stayed off the platform deterred by the choice and competition in small markets.
    It should have been promoted by the regulator like in the UK 24 years ago and it would have become the natural stepping stone between Analogue FM and online digital.
    RTE continued trials but never really launched fully as I am told their charter insists all services must be available to the majority of the country/license payers (no less than 95% I believe)
    As DAB was barely serving 40% of the population RTE doesn’t have the funds available to develop it nationally to meet the requirement. While Digital transmissions are great DAB doesn’t deliver listener statistics which Internet delivered radio does so really it is just Digital Sound.
    Advertising Agencies will very soon start demanding the same statistics and data from Radio that TV delivers.
    FM and DAB can’t do that.
    Web/App/ Smart speaker etc is the only digital radio delivery option for a country like Ireland now but online stations will have to offer attractive services with personality/input albeit more focused and more tightly run. Sticking on a playlist on 24hr rotate will not attract the masses.

  7. Nicky says

    Hopefully-and we are all tired of saying this- but RTE GOLD should be on FM as it’s a brilliant alternative to other stations that are far too formatted- and far too predictable.
    We campaigned for commercial radio during the 70s and 80s- but I don’t like the way it has turned out.
    Radio has always been about the voice- and the voice needs to be live to maintain listenership.
    Pre recorded shows are not what the radio listener wants- and the radio doctors who dictate schedules have RUINED radio in my humble opinion.
    The dat you let them lads into the production meetings? The out put is then compromised. Keep it simple- good music- good personalities-good production/- and GREAT Radio jingles- the results will then follow
    Don’t over think it- just do it- bring back the talent- it’s pretty simple- and ditch the Radio doctors once and for all.

    1. Mike Moloney says

      Hey Nicky –
      I agree entirely, so much so that when I heard RTE Gold was closing I started MusicOne Ireland last year.
      musicone.ie or musiconeireland for all the apps
      It is just what you described above, with myself Jim O’Neill, Liam Quigley, Bob Conway and a bunch of others doing a very relaxed, no format, play everything, version of radio

  8. Willie Bone says

    DAB services failed to make the grade in Canada, Finland, Portugal, Hong Kong and now Ireland. HD Radio is struggling to cut the mustard with listeners in the USA and Mexico, so it begs the question, do we need digital audio based transmission systems anymore?
    5G is starting to roll out, along with 4G extensions into rural areas in many countries, infrastructure that can piggy-back radio output, along with other services. AM, FM and digital infrastructure, primarily for sound broadcasting may be an expense worth spared, both for broadcasters and consumers by the end of this decade!

  9. Enda says

    DAB in Ireland was never meant to work. If you put RTE in charge of its rollout and allow them to be constantly ‘testing’ and only covering Dublin, Cork and Limerick with any kind of week signal what do you expect! couple that with only allowing your own stations on there……what do you expect!
    We had a great multiplex in the South East years ago that covered the whole of the SE from Mount Leinster by Total Broadcast Consultants from Waterford, they had about 20+ stations on there but their testing license ran out and wasn’t renewed by the BAI.
    Will these stations continue on Saorview?
    I am so thankful that I can pick up the DAB service from South Wales and South West England most of the time and have the house covered with smart speakers for online radio.

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