RTÉ Radio 1 to cease Longwave broadcasts

Irish radio station RTÉ Radio 1 is to stop broadcasting on Longwave 252 kHz from Friday 14th April 2023.

The station will continue to be available in Ireland on FM, digital terrestrial and satellite (Saorview and Saorsat) and online via the RTÉ Radio Player and Irish Radioplayer apps.

In the UK listeners can tune into Radio 1 on Freesat, Sky and Virgin Media as well as the RTÉ Radio Player and Irish Radioplayer apps.

A webpage has been created at www.rte.ie/keeplistening which lists the ways that Radio 1 can be found. Listeners with Alexa or Google smart speakers can also ask them to play RTÉ Radio 1.

RTÉ has previously proposed closing the 252 LW service which can be heard in much of the UK. The frequency was previously used by Atlantic 252 but in recent years has allowed listeners in the UK to hear RTÉ shows like Morning Ireland, Liveline and Saturday Sport. In 2015 a survey of listeners to the longwave service was launched.

Phasing out the long wave service was one of the recommendations of the Future of Media Commission Report which was published by the Irish Government last year. The broadcaster says the decision to end long wave broadcasts is based on energy consumption, investment required to maintain the mast and the accessibility of RTÉ internationally in other formats.

Last week the UK Government published a draft media bill which would make it possible for Irish radio stations to apply for a license to broadcast on DAB in the United Kingdom. Currently RTÉ stations, and previously Newstalk, are available on Sky in the UK but not DAB digital radio. RTÉ has not mentioned broadcasting on DAB in the UK in their announcement, but the Irish national broadcaster is referenced by name in the explanatory notes to the bill.

The Irish broadcaster says there will be an information campaign on the long wave frequency, ads in relevant UK publications and via posters and flyers.

RTÉ Director General, Dee Forbes said: “While RTÉ has invested considerably in prolonging the life of the transmitter to broadcast RTÉ Radio 1 on Long Wave 252, we can no longer justify this investment. Not only is RTÉ Radio 1 widely available in the UK across television and online services, including apps and smart speakers, the energy costs involved along with the cost of replacing the transmitter mean that, in line with the recommendation of the Future of Media Commission Report, the time has come to bring the Long Wave service to a close. While this may be disappointing to some listeners, RTÉ must continue to invest in critical projects underpinning our production, distribution and business activities, as well as digital projects which are essential to ensure we continue to deliver value to our audiences.”

Listeners can contact the RTE Information Office on +353 12083434 or by emailing info@rte.ie for information.