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Longwave Radio Atlantic 252

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  • 12-07-2010 11:27pm
    #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 41,926 ✭✭✭✭


    Everyone remembers Atlantic, right?

    I have some questions about it.

    Was it based somewhere in Meath?

    Why LW?

    If it was indeed based in Meath, why was it directed at British market?

    Why not base it somewhere in Britain?

    Were RTE involved? They seem to own the 252 frequency on LW now.

    thanks folks

    atlantic252.JPG


«1

Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 508 ✭✭✭meolwan


    Des wrote: »
    Everyone remembers Atlantic, right?

    I have some questions about it.

    Was it based somewhere in Meath?

    Why LW?

    If it was indeed based in Meath, why was it directed at British market?

    Why not base it somewhere in Britain?

    Were RTE involved? They seem to own the 252 frequency on LW now.

    thanks folks

    atlantic252.JPG

    some answers Des.
    1 yes remember them & knew a couple of people working there.
    2 yes they were in Meath
    3 don't know why LW
    4 Money RTE were involved
    5 yes RTE were involved.

    I am sure others on here will expand on it more then I did


  • Registered Users Posts: 320 ✭✭redtelephone


    Atlantic 252's transmitter was based near Clarkestown just east of Summerhill in Meath.

    Ireland was allocated the 252khz frequency by the ITU around 1981 and this is in the LW band. LW signals can travel much further than MW so when Ireland was allocated the frequency it was realised that it would be possible to reach much of the UK. (The UK's own LW frequency is 198khz used by BBC).

    Atlantic 252 was a commercial venture started in 1989 and run by jointly by Radio Luxembourg (80%) and RTE and was the UK's first national commercial station.

    It closed in 2001 and a sports station called Teamtalk replaced it for a few months. Eventually Teamtalk closed and the frequency and transmitter was taken over by RTE who use it to broadcast Radio1.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,293 ✭✭✭Fuzzy Clam


    Studios in Trim and London.

    Tribute site here http://www.atlantic252.com/149 with some video footage of the studios in Trim.

    The old transmitters were scrapped a few years ago and RTE installed a new one at the Clarkestown site.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 281 ✭✭Btr


    Fuzzy Clam wrote: »
    Studios in Trim and London.

    Tribute site here http://www.atlantic252.com/149 with some video footage of the studios in Trim.

    The old transmitters were scrapped a few years ago and RTE installed a new one at the Clarkestown site.

    Marty Mc Fly aka Jim Sweney can be heard Mon-Fri on LMFM from 6pm. A great voice and jock who doesn't get the credit he deserves


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 88,978 ✭✭✭✭mike65



    Atlantic 252 was a commercial venture started in 1989 and run by jointly by Radio Luxembourg (80%) and RTE and was the UK's first national commercial station.

    National is an overstatement, I'm pretty sure much in Scotland and the far South East of England were marginal at best.

    For a while Atlantic was mildly groovy, it almost had the feel of a big pirate but then it just ran out of steam and seemed to have about 30 tracks on an endless loop.

    TeamTalk 252s use was a joke, anyone else remember their World Cup 2002 coverage from in front of a tv screen?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 320 ✭✭redtelephone


    mike65 wrote: »
    National is an overstatement, I'm pretty sure much in Scotland and the far South East of England were marginal at best.




    As I said it covered much of the UK. In coverage terms national does not mean 100% of the land mass but I can assure you that it did and does reach much of Scotland including the Isle of Skye and in the south east below London where I have heard it myself. Some coverage notes here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantic_252


  • Registered Users Posts: 535 ✭✭✭bob50


    Atlantic 252 Pat Kenny of RTE had a big involvement in this station ie he was a large shareholder


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 85 ✭✭stinky eggs


    no way! I always wondered how LW 252 had such a following in the Irish Market too!


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 785 ✭✭✭Shane10


    i always used to think it was an english station, when i used to listen to it i cant remember hearing any irish dj's on it.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 85 ✭✭stinky eggs


    Shane10 wrote: »
    i always used to think it was an english station, when i used to listen to it i cant remember hearing any irish dj's on it.

    Me too! I do remember the answer the phone thing " I listen o longwave radio alantic 252 ":D

    Summer of 95 if my memory serves me correctly


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 281 ✭✭Btr


    Me too! I do remember the answer the phone thing " I listen o longwave radio alantic 252 ":D

    Summer of 95 if my memory serves me correctly

    A lot were Irish such as Robin Banks and Mark Collins who both hailed from Kilkenny. 2fm's Rick O'shea and I think Dusty Rhodes.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 785 ✭✭✭Shane10


    Btr wrote: »
    A lot were Irish such as Robin Banks and Mark Collins who both hailed from Kilkenny. 2fm's Rick O'shea and I think Dusty Rhodes.

    i dont remember hearing any irish voices when i was listening in the 90's. i do remember specificily the first time they played the spice girls very first song..wannabe. DJ kept saying coming up these are going to be huge amd here's there first song, stick around. i was interested so did and remember the first time i heard them. thats a pretty lame story but always remember when i heard them first. :o


  • Registered Users Posts: 400 ✭✭Conway635


    As initially set up, the station was a 50/50 joint venture between RTE and CLT (the owners of Radio Luxembourg, which was still on air on MW in those days). The ownership mix changed over time, but RTE always retained an interest, and were of course the frequency owners.

    Official launch day was 1st September 1989.

    At first the station broadcast only until 7pm in the evening, and presenters advised listeners to retune to Radio Luxembourg as it closed down. Within a year or so, it gradually extended hours into the evening, and later overnights.

    Also, although branded as Atlantic 252 from the start, the transmissions were, for the first year, on the old frequency of 254 (longwave frequencies were moved down by 2khz at the end of the 80s - BBC R4 moved from 200 to 198 at that time).

    Many cars only had LW/MW radios in the late 80s, and even BBC Radio 1 were not fully available on FM until around 1989, so AM audience was still significant. This changed fairly rapidly in the early 90s.

    The station was very successful on launch, and at one point in 1992 had the largest UK audience of any commercial station in terms of absolute numbers (as opposed to local share) before being overtaken by Classic FM.

    With the move of listeners away from AM, audience gradually fell in the mid and late 90s, this was also the time when there was an explosion in the numbers of local stations on FM in the UK.

    There were format changes at the end of the 90s to try to recapture listeners, but these seemed not to work, or maybe were not given enough time to catch on.

    It was a wonderful station in its heyday, and had one of my favourite breakfast shows - Kevin Palmer & Andrew Turner - in the mid 90s.

    http://steveconway.wordpress.com/2009/08/08/tasty-breakfasts/

    As an aside, I seem to remember that during the planning stage of the project in the mid 80s, it was at one stage known as "Radio Tara" and there was also a suggestion that it might be called "Radio 5" (there was no BBC Radio 5 at that time).

    Steve Conway


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 88,978 ✭✭✭✭mike65


    The idea was not to identify it as being Irish or even British, the whole set up was very American (mid-Altantic maybe) they even had a female with a nice North American accent,(she may have been Canadian) where you were stood up as apparently this created more energy in the presenters "shick".


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 116 ✭✭airhorn


    God them were the days!


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 23,089 ✭✭✭✭rovert


    Great station in its heyday. I remember hearing the Irish connection when it closed and it totally blew my head.

    When ever the station comes up people praise Charlie Wolf from the high heavens as a DJ. All I remember his annoyingly addicting talk show on TALKSPORT being uber pro-Bush and Israel. Cant imagine him as a DJ even though I probably heard him on 252 back in the day.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,846 ✭✭✭✭eth0_


    There are some amusing videos on Youtube, really lets you see how basic the setup was. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCXb-SSFcxU


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 85 ✭✭stinky eggs


    airhorn wrote: »
    God them were the days!

    It never rained that summer either! And the pop was sooo fizzy and it never got dark..

    I remember once we played ball till 3 in the morning and than watched road runner at 7 in the morning..

    Those was d days!


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,492 ✭✭✭Thomas828


    I was an avid listener to Atlantic 252 in the early 90s. They mainly played records that were in the US top 40. And among their DJs were Robin Banks, Dusty Rhodes and Kevin greening. I switched off for a while round about 95. When I came back to it in 99 it had become the New Atlantic 252 and its playlist was all R'n'B - that is, watered-down, tenth-rate soul. I howled, OH MY GHAWD!!! and hastily tuned back to BBC Radio 3!


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,319 ✭✭✭Trick of the Tail


    In its early days it was very, very well done. Kevin and Andrew in the Morning. Henry Owens. Such a strong line-up. (Where's Andrew now?)

    Charlie Wolf's breakfast show was similarly excellent.

    Do you remember the phone number they gave out?

    In those days, London was 01-. Ireland was 010-353 from the UK.

    So they read out the number as '01, 0353, 463, 6677' so it sounded to the uninitiated Englander like a London number!

    In our office we have three framed Atlantic 252 publicity posters.

    Several years ago we went to the Summerhill tx site to do a job for RTE. We were shown around, and came to a room upstairs in which there was stacks of gold/silver discs, posters, publicity shots, all in frames, and what remained of the studio equipment.

    We asked could we have a couple of the pics, and were given three.

    The next day, realising what history was in that room, we called the RTE engineer and asked could we take it all off their hands. He said he's ask and get back to us.

    He never did. A couple of months later we called him again, and he said 'oh, sorry I forgot you wanted that stuff. We threw it all in a skip last week'!

    !!!!!

    A.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 88,978 ✭✭✭✭mike65


    RTE in a nutshell!


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 157 ✭✭torrentum


    mike65 wrote: »
    TeamTalk 252s use was a joke, anyone else remember their World Cup 2002 coverage from in front of a tv screen?

    Yup I remember that Mike. Though it was a joke when I heard it first! They called it "off tube commentary"


  • Registered Users Posts: 314 ✭✭Alzar


    Seeing as this thread is going, if you liked A252, there is a live stream here: http://centova2.cpcustomer.com/start/atlantic/
    Just music & jingles.

    I'm not affiliated to that site in any way - just stumbled across it.

    Al.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 920 ✭✭✭Lenny Lovett


    Enda Caldwell was on 252 as well I believe. It was very successful for a while in the UK but seemed to die off just as fast.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 2,449 ✭✭✭SuperInfinity


    I loved it, great in its day.

    I think what really caused it to go under was the poor sound quality of LW radio. It's nowhere near as sharp as FM. They couldn't exactly move it to FM without completely rebranding it since their whole branding was Longwave Radio, Atlantic 252.

    Longwave is generally used for signals that are of low quality and as a payoff, they can travel very long distances with a good reception. When you think of it that way, it's not surprising that such a thing as a music LW radio station came from Ireland :o but hey, it worked well while it lasted.

    This at a time when more and more people were getting more music channels on tv, mp3s with perfect quality sound were coming around the corner.... there just wasn't room for it anymore. A shame though.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,477 ✭✭✭grenache


    I definitely remember an American dude on 252 so that must have been Charlie Wolf. As a previous poster stated he is unbelievably pro-Israeli and his show on TalkSport often revolves around him shouting down Islamic fundamentalists. I can also remember Robin Banks, Dusty Rhodes and Rick O'Shea on the station in the early to mid 90s. I always assumed it was totally British operation that just happened to have a lot of Irish djs, the innocence of youth! What sticks out in my mind the most were the 'cash calls' - if the person didn't know the hourly number they would send them on a Boost bar as a consolation :D


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,073 ✭✭✭Declan A Walsh


    In 1989, many people had cars without FM/VHF, and their only choices were MW or LW. My first car, purchased in 1991, had such a radio system. For a while, Atlantic 252 was a godsend when I was driving around Ireland. I had a station that played music and that I did not have to keep retuning, as you would have had to do with 2FM on MW! Poor old Century on medium wave!

    It did begin to get a bit monotonous music-wise. Thankfully, my next car did have FM so I had more options then!

    Irish names that I either heard or heard of associated with Atlantic 252:
    Paul Kavanagh
    Al Dunne
    Nails Mahoney (Brian McColl)
    Mark Byrne
    Henry Owen
    Enda Caldwell
    Derek Flood
    Liam Coburn, aka Batman Gomez
    Robin Banks
    Dusty Rhodes
    Rick O'Shea
    Cliff Walker (?)

    ... which reminds me: Remember all those other funny names?
    Pizzaman
    Jo King
    Cousin Brucie
    Hollywood Haze
    Dickie Bow
    Lois Lane
    Sandy Beach

    The North American connection: Charlie Wolf, Mary Ellen O'Brien...any more?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 10,562 ✭✭✭✭Sunnyisland


    40px-Edit-clear.svg.png
    Atlantic 252 (defunct)Atlantic252.jpgBroadcast areaRepublic of Ireland (official) Britain and Ireland (de facto)Frequency252 kHz with 500 kW (100 kW nighttime) powerFirst air date1 September 1989FormatContemporaryOwnerRadio Tara Ltd (RTÉ/RTL Group)
    Atlantic 252 was a long wave radio station broadcasting to Ireland and Britain on 252 kHz (1190 metres) from its 1988 purpose built transmission site Clarkstown radio transmitter, which provided service to Atlantic 252 from 1989 until 2002. The station's studios were located just 12 km (7 mi) away in Mornington House, Summerhill Road, Trim, County Meath. Atlantic 252 also had sales offices and studios at 74, Newman Street in London. In 2002 the station's former frequency and transmitter were used for the failed TeamTalk 252 project.
    The frequency was re-subsumed by RTÉ in 2002 to provide a version of RTÉ Radio 1 to the expatriate community in Britain from the Clarkstown radio transmitter




    URL="http://www.boards.ie/w/index.php?title=Atlantic_252&action=edit&section=1"][COLOR=#0645ad]edit[/COLOR][/URL Early history

    The concept of Atlantic 252 can be traced back as far as August 1986, when Irish state broadcaster RTÉ announced it was to use their allocated longwave channel for a new pop music station. They teamed up with RTL Group/Radio Luxembourg to form Radio Tara - the trading name of Atlantic 252, which being long wave, enabled reception in Britain and Ireland. This was following Chris Cary's test transmissions from Clogher Head, County Louth in the mid 1980s with 254 kHz Longwave as "Radio Exidy"
    In 1987 RTÉ commenced building a giant 3-sided 248 metre broadcast mast in Clarkstown, County Meath, using a specially built pair of both air and water cooled 300 kilowatt solid-state transmitters (which could be combined to give double power) built by Varian Associates, Texas, despite protests from local residents. Studios were set up in Mornington House, in the nearby town of Trim. The station cost £6m to set up. Just over 47m people were in the station's broadcast area.
    At 8am on 1 September 1989, Gary King announced on Atlantic 252, "Mine is the first voice you will ever hear on Atlantic 252." This was followed by a specially produced pre-recorded introduction tape that introduced everybody employed by the radio station on its launch day, from engineers, administration, management like Travis Baxter and John Catlett, and the station's personality music presenter lineup including ex-Laser 558 presenter Charlie Wolf, MaryEllen O'Brien, Andrew Turner, Nicky Schiller, Henry Owens, Al Dunne, Tony West and Jeff Graham. An appearance was even made by Rosalyn Reilly - who was to remain the station's cleaning lady for its entire twelve year history. The first record ever played on Atlantic 252's test transmission was "Ain't Nobody" by Rufus and Chaka Khan ('89 Remix); the station's official "first record ever played" was "Sowing The Seeds of Love" by Tears for Fears shortly after 08:00 local time on 1 September 1989. The second record played was "Monkey" by George Michael[1].
    Although the transmitter was in the Republic of Ireland, the signal's reach meant that it was often considered to be a "UK" national station - the signal had even been received in Brazil at night-time, with other reception reports from such locations as Berlin, Finland, Ibiza, and Moscow. The Scottish musician Mylo has claimed it was the only station with listenable reception on the Isle of Skye. At launch there were no UK-wide commercial stations (the first being "Classic FM" in 1992), and the lack of a UK broadcast licence attracted the attention of the IBA. Although the transmitters were theoretically capable of being combined to operate at 600 kilowatts output power, International agreements limited the station's power to a maximum daytime output of 500 kW, or 100 kW at night.
    URL="http://www.boards.ie/w/index.php?title=Atlantic_252&action=edit&section=2"][COLOR=#0645ad]edit[/COLOR][/URL Mid-1990s peak

    Initially, the station transmitted only from 06:00 until 19:00, outside of which listeners were invited to tune to Radio Luxembourg. In 1990 the station began broadcasting until 02:00, and eventually by September 1991, a 24 hour service with the overnight automated slot called "The Big Mattress". The music format consisted of high-rotation mainstream pop and rock music, with influences borrowed heavily from American radio, and through to 1993, the station was known to play much of the music mostly from the top part of the US charts. The station mixed the best songs from the last few years along with the best songs from the top 40 - this was called "Today's Best Music Variety". Commercial Radio and the BBC initially objected to the station, seeing it as a commercial pirate. However, as UK commercial radio developed and deregulation saw many more stations launching, formats similar to Atlantic's began to appear on FM offering superior audio quality - an issue compounded by modern radio receivers tending to have an inferior audio reproduction on LW compared to that of older receivers. Atlantic 252's audience began the inevitable decline. Attempts at repositioning followed, including "Real Music, Real Radio", when the station attempted to tackle BBC Radio 1's "new music" format. At the peak of its popularity in the mid-1990s, Atlantic 252 had in excess of four million listeners, but vastly increased competition from local radio stations with similar formats and superior FM audio quality, as well as the renaissance of BBC Radio 1 and the repositioning of BBC Radio 2, saw this take a dive below one million by 2000.
    URL="http://www.boards.ie/w/index.php?title=Atlantic_252&action=edit&section=3"][COLOR=#0645ad]edit[/COLOR][/URL Decline in popularity

    During the 1980s and 1990s Long wave suffered a gradual decline in listenership, partially because of the reduction of signal quality and also due to more choice on higher quality platforms. Radio receiver manufacturers concentrated on FM and AM-MW bands, with fewer and fewer radio sets capable of receiving Long wave at all, and most of those that did having very poor audio.
    URL="http://www.boards.ie/w/index.php?title=Atlantic_252&action=edit&section=4"][COLOR=#0645ad]edit[/COLOR][/URL Relaunch attempts

    In late 1998 under the direction of David Dunne the station responded to dropping audiences by shifting its format to concentrate on indie and dance music, but it continued to lose listeners. This included 30 hours of 'specialist' music including programmes from The Wise Guys, Eddy Temple Morris and the Trade nightclub. Though money was spent on advertising and a high profile breakfast show was attempted fronted by Marc Brow (including several innovative ideas like travel news backed by new age chill out music (called 'Traffic Calming') and specially re-formatted youth news presented by Specialist Producer Mark Ovenden (which included one of the first broadcast uses of the term The Naughties), in 1999 the station suffered its lowest Rajar ratings since it first came on the air, with the audience falling to just under 1 million listeners in the last quarter of the year.
    Then in November 1999 with the arrival of John O'Hara as the new Managing Director the station found a new focus and re-launched in February 2000 as "The New Atlantic 252" The format was Rhythmic CHR and the station was repositioned as "Nonstop Rhythm and Dance" The station played 12 songs in a row and featured Tony and Becky at Brekkie plus a brand new website at www.atlantic252.com. There was over £1million spent on rebranding and marketing the station to a new audience and media buyers. However, although the station did see a rise in audience again back to around 2 million listeners during 2000 and 2001, the writing was on the wall when the sale of the station was announced in early 2001 by its owners RTÉ and CLT.
    URL="http://www.boards.ie/w/index.php?title=Atlantic_252&action=edit&section=5"][COLOR=#0645ad]edit[/COLOR][/URL Last broadcast

    The very last show on Atlantic was presented by Enda Caldwell on Thursday 20 December 2001, This was followed by a Tribute show produced by Enda Caldwell and Eric Murphy celebrating the station's 12 year history of broadcasting and featuring classic airchecks of each year of Atlantic 252's history then the station went into automation and continued broadcasting music without continuity and just commercials that had been booked for the month of January 2002 for about two to three weeks afterwards until the carrier fell dead and the music stopped playing.
    URL="http://www.boards.ie/w/index.php?title=Atlantic_252&action=edit&section=6"][COLOR=#0645ad]edit[/COLOR][/URL Replacements

    It was briefly replaced by a sports station, TeamTalk 252, which opened in the early days of January 2002. This faced competition from BBC Radio 5 Live and talkSPORT, and was itself closed in the summer of 2002, just a few months after its launch. The frequency is now used by RTÉ Radio 1. DRM tests have been heard on this 252 kHz frequency since 2007. Mornington House is now regional offices for Meath County Council.
    URL="http://www.boards.ie/w/index.php?title=Atlantic_252&action=edit&section=7"][COLOR=#0645ad]edit[/COLOR][/URL Presenters


    The presenters that worked at Atlantic 252 were what made the station so popular and different. The funny names idea originated in the USA at stations like WHTZ FM Z100. Many of the original presenter line-up came from Laser 558/UK Commercial Radio and BBC Radio One. The Irish presenters on the air came from Dublin Superpirates like Sunshine 101 and SuperQ 102.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,619 ✭✭✭fontanalis


    Horrendous station, endless repeats and almost never played anything remotely indie, not trying to pretend I'm a massive indie fan but I remember when oasis went through the stratosphere I never heard anything from Definitely maybe until New Years Eve in 1999 and they always played the short version of Champagne Supernova. Somehow that sticks in my mind.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,700 ✭✭✭irishh_bob


    without doubt the naffest thing every put on the airwaves , sounded like they were broadcasting out of a sealed biscuit tin , to think that without it , we might never have heard of rick o shea


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