RTÉ will cease transmission of its radio services on the Digital Audio Broadcast (DAB) network on March 31st this year. RTÉ’s digital radio services – RTÉ Gold, RTÉ 2XM, RTÉ Radio 1 Extra, RTÉ Pulse, and RTÉjr Radio – will remain available.
The move to cease DAB transmission is driven by three main factors:
1) Audience usage: The continuing popularity of FM radio, along with a surge in mobile listening, on-the-go listening, and voice activation means that DAB is now the least-utilised platform available to audiences in Ireland (see below).
2) Industry engagement: While RTÉ spearheaded the introduction of DAB in Ireland in 2006 and made consistent efforts to evolve the product at both industry and consumer level, RTÉ remains the only broadcaster in Ireland on the DAB system.
3) Financial management: Closure of the DAB network was among the cost-avoidance measures included in RTÉ’s Revised Strategy 2020-2024, which was published in November 2019.
The latest JNLR report, Radio in a Digital World, compiled by Ipsos/ MRBI, found that while 8% of the population in Ireland (330,000 people) are accessing radio stations via digital means, the smallest number in this cohort opt for DAB.
According to the report, just under 5% of adults in Ireland listen to radio via a mobile device, 2% listen on a PC, around 1.5% listen on a smart speaker, 0.6% listen on a TV set and 0.5% DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting). 77% of adults in Ireland listen to radio on FM.
Due to the value that audiences in Ireland continue to derive from RTÉ’s digital radio services – RTÉ Gold, RTÉ Pulse, RTÉ 2XM, RTÉ Radio 1 Extra and RTÉjr Radio – these stations will remain available.
Working with 2rn – who maintain, manage and develop Ireland’s broadcast transmission network for all broadcasters on the island – RTÉ will co-ordinate an orderly wind down of the DAB Service by 31 March 2021.
From Tuesday 2nd March, RTÉ will co-ordinate an extensive public information campaign across television, radio, online and social media to highlight the closure of the DAB network and inform audiences how they can continue to enjoy RTÉ’s digital radio services. The campaign will run until the closure of the DAB service on Wednesday 31st March.
For details on how to continue to listen to RTÉ digital radio services visit www.rte.ie/keeplistening