(Source: The Irish Post)
WITH fewer than three weeks to go until RTÉ Radio 1 brings its historic longwave service on 252 to an end, the Irish community in Britain has responded with fury and dismay.
The move, which was announced with just over a month’s notice, is part of the Irish broadcaster’s new focus on digital platforms.
But the decision to cease transmission, from October 27, was described as a “bitter blow” to Irish people in Britain as well as parts of the North of Ireland.
Eddie Walsh, who is PRO of The Workers’ Party (Britain) in Nottingham, said: “Other options are not open to all of us. I cannot get RTÉ on my car radio except on longwave and I certainly do not want to listen to it on my computer. The current radio ads only refer to the island of Ireland, thus not even mentioning those of us on this side of the Irish Sea.”
He added: “I would suggest that the station has underestimated the number of listeners.”
Meanwhile Irish Post reader Sean O’Rinn said: “I have a small radio beside my bed and listen to RTE on 252 every night. There is no way that I can use any digital apparatus in its place. There must be thousands of Irish people here in England who are in a similar position — we will become completely isolated from our native home.”
The loss of the longwave service comes after the broadcaster closed its London offices in 2012. Tom McGuire, Head of RTÉ Radio 1, estimates that no more than 2,000 people use its service.
RTÉ said that 98 per cent of its Radio 1 listeners would be unaffected by the move. It added that to measure longwave listening numbers in Britain would prove “a prohibitive service cost”.