Based in Trim, Co Meath, Atlantic 252 broadcast to Ireland and Britain on 252kHz LW
This long wave giant was born at 8am on 1st September 1989. The station had been in the planning stages for a number of years and, in 1997, RTÉ received approval from the Minister for Communications to develop a long wave pop music radio service which was announced at the time as Radio Tara.
Atlantic 252’s broadcasts were aimed especially at the UK using 254kHz (252 came later) from their studios at Mornington House in Summerhill in Trim, Co Meath utilising their huge, and hugely controversial, 900 foot tall transmitter aerial at Clarkstown, County Meath.
The station started out as a mainly contemporary hits station at a time when this type of service was scarce, but with more and more FM licences being awarded in the UK and Ireland, it had to refocus itself regularly.
‘We’ve got another long wave of non-stop hits on the way’
In the early days it used to close at 7pm – with listeners advised to retune to sister station Radio Luxembourg (Atlantic was owned by Radio Tara – a joint effort between RTÉ and Luxy). The hours were extended to 2am in August 1990 with 24 hour a day broadcasts starting in September 1991.
‘This is the radio station with a wavelength all of its own’
Atlantic proved extremely popular in those early days with many young listeners rejecting much better quality FM broadcasts to tune in to its constant music. On-air production and format replicated the successful pirates of the ’80s giving it an edgy feel. despite being 100% legal. The music format consisted of mainstream pop and rock music on heavy rotation.
‘Non-stop Rhythm and Dance’
As the late ’90s approached, Atlantic’s audience share was dwindling rapidly thanks to increased competition from local FM services across its broadcast area. A couple of major relaunches came and failed: the original CHR format was dropped in 1998 in favour of an Indie/Dance music offering and, in February 2000, ‘The New Atlantic 252’ delivered a dance-oriented format which failed to deliver the massive audiences of the early ’90s and, so, eventually live programming ceased on December 20th 2001.
On the left is a QSL card with some great anoraky pictures.
- Atlantic 252 launched at 8am on September 1st 1989
- The original frequency was actually 254kHz
- Gary King was the first voice heard
- First track played was “Sowing the Seeds of Love” by Tears for Fears
- “Where music comes first. And talk comes joint 15th” – early billboard campaigns
- Overnight automated programming was called ‘The Big Mattress’
- Who else but Chris Cary beat RTÉ to Irish Long Wave broadcasting
- Last live programme was December 20th 2001 but the station didn’t shut until January 2002
- TeamTalk took over the transmitter and frequency
Atlantic 252 on Radio Retro
Atlantic 252 on YouTube