RTÉ RADIO 1 TO CEASE BROADCASTING ON LONG WAVE
KEEP LISTENING TO RTÉ RADIO 1 | WWW.RTE.IE/KEEPLISTENING
RTÉ has today announced that RTÉ Radio 1 will cease broadcasting on Long Wave 252 (LW 252) from Friday 14th April 2023.
In Ireland, listeners can continue to enjoy RTÉ Radio 1 on FM, on Saorview and Saorsat and on their preferred audio streaming service, including the RTÉ Radio Player and Irish Radioplayer apps.
In the UK, listeners can continue to enjoy RTÉ Radio 1 on Freesat (channel 750), Sky (channel 0137) and Virgin Media (channel 917*), and on their preferred audio streaming service, including the RTÉ Radio Player and Irish Radioplayer apps. The full range of listening options is available on www.rte.ie/keeplistening and details of how to voice search RTÉ Radio 1 on Alexa or Google smart speakers are available on www.rte.ie/voice. Listeners can also contact the RTE Information Office on +353 12083434 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
The phasing out and closure of the Long Wave service was one of the recommendations of the Future of Media Commission Report which was published by the Government in July 2022. This was part of a wider recommendation aimed at ensuring RTE could invest available resources in innovation and digital services. Further investment into the mast and transmitter, which is no longer fit for purpose and has a significant carbon emission footprint, would significantly impair RTE’s ability to meet the emissions reductions target required to contribute to the National Climate Action Plan.
RTÉ’s decision to take the Long Wave service off air is based on three interrelated factors:
- Like all businesses RTÉ is seeking to reduce its energy usage in response to the climate crisis, public expenditure efficiency, and to reduce the burden on the national grid – and LW consumes significant energy.
- The required investment to maintain the mast is very significant and given the greatly reduced number of listeners and the inaccessibility of longwave radio on newer devices means that this is a cost which is unfortunately no longer sustainable.
- The increased accessibility of RTÉ services and content internationally in a range of other formats, which are reaching a wide audience.
Additional detail regarding RTÉ’s decision is provided below.
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.”
RTÉ is supporting this announcement with an information campaign on RTÉ Radio 1 Longwave, through ads in relevant UK titles, via posters and flyers which will be distributed to a number of community organisations via the Irish Embassy in London and the Irish Consulates in Britain, and across RTÉ’s social media channels.
Information on how to continue to listen to RTÉ Radio 1 in Ireland or in the UK is available on www.rte.ie/keeplistening. The RTÉ Information Office is available to answer questions regarding the Long Wave service on +353 12083434 or at email@example.com.
*May vary depending on your Virgin Media set-top-box.
ADDITIONAL DETAIL REGARDING RTÉ’S DECISION TO CEASE BROADCASTING ON LONG WAVE 252:
Listener behaviour is changing
- Widespread availability of connected devices, which gathered pace during the global pandemic, is giving access to almost unlimited choice.
- RTÉ must adapt to meet this growing demand for a diverse range of audio services and must be able to make choices regarding investment.
- In September 2022 RTÉ launched a new RTÉ Radio App on mobile devices (iOS and Android) – the beginning of a substantial upgrade over the next two years of RTÉ’s digital audio products and content offer.
Energy Costs in Outline
- Over and above the capital requirements of LW, the annual operating costs of RTÉ Radio 1 LW in 2022 were approximately €250,000 – most of this was for electricity.
- Given the price increases in energy, the operating cost for 2023 could be double this. Initial estimates for 2023 suggest these costs will exceed €400,000.
- The LW service is extremely energy inefficient and today represents approximately 2.5% of RTÉ’s total electrical energy usage (2021 figures from SEAI M&R system). Ceasing the service will bring a material reduction to RTÉ’s electrical energy consumption, equivalent to approximately one-year average energy reductions required to hit 2030 targets.
LW is a legacy technology:
- LW is not readily available on new radio sets or audio systems today.
- There are few LW services in Europe, notably one in Iceland, and one in the UK for BBC Radio 4, which the BBC has announced it is closing.
- With the energy crisis, broadcasters are seriously considering switching off LW radio services as they are energy intensive, costly to run and deliver small numbers of listeners, bringing into question the sustainability of LW.