RTÉ have announced that it will close its RTÉ Radio 1 Medium Wave service on March 24th. The company says that the medium wave service offers poor value for money, is environmentally unsound and is out of date. It also cites poor quality reception and audio as reasons for the cessation. The closure will not affect RTÉ Radio 1’s existing FM or Long Wave services.
RTÉ’s MW service was launched in 1926 but listeners gradually migrated to the superior sound quality of FM when it was introduced in the 1970s. Today, more than 90% of RTÉ Radio 1 listening is via its FM service. In addition the growth of new platforms such as podcasting, mobile phones and digital radio, mean that radio audiences have a much wider choice of when and how to listen.
JP Coakley, Head of Operations at RTÉ Radio says: “Our audience research tells us that MW listening is largely based on habit rather than necessity. Our job now is to convince MW listeners that there are other ways to listen that are as good as, if not better, than Medium Wave.”
Once the MW transmission service is switched off in March, listeners who tune into MW specifically for additional RTÉ Radio 1 programming, such as weekday sports broadcasts and religious services, will find those programmes on 252LW and on a range of digital platforms.
RTÉ Radio 1’s LW service was introduced in 2004 and was upgraded in 2007. The signal carries throughout Ireland and into Britain.
RTÉ will launch a public information campaign for MW listeners next Friday. The campaign includes on-air MW announcements, newsletters and press releases for listeners, representative bodies and stakeholder groups; an information number to call for assistance on tuning to FM and a voucher scheme providing half-price FM/LW radios for those most in need