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RTE radio1 LW



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,398 ✭✭✭tinytobe

    Apparently the mast is there to stay, and won't be taken down.

    This is unusual, as most other LW and MW transmitters which were not used anymore were taken down.

    Maybe that will come at some point as well.

  • Registered Users Posts: 605 ✭✭✭TAFKAlawhec

    Just my €0.02...

    * The amount of listeners in the Republic of Ireland to 252 kHz I'd say are very small, given the proliferation of FM, 3G/4G/5G mobile access and other methods for reception indoors (satellite, voice command devices e.g. Alexa, Google Assistant) I'd say the amount of land area where 252 kHz is the only practical option is tiny.

    * Given that RTÉ does have a mission to serve the 32 counties on a best effort basis, this does raise some questions concerning reception in parts of Northern Ireland where FM reception is inadequate - in particular, Belfast city centre as well as significant areas of the north & east Antrim coasts where the local glens do work as an effective barrier to FM reception. I presume that unlike when 567 kHz when a solution to improving reception in Belfast was to swap Radio 1 & Lyric FM placing the former on to 87.8 MHz, listeners will be told this time to use IP delivery where practical, or alternative broadcast methods like satellite or cable in homes etc. The same goes for 252 kHz listeners in Britain.

    * Regular maintenance to high powered AM broadcast sites aren't unusual - before 24 hour broadcasting they often took place outside broadcasting hours and presumably 2RN weren't going to give their workers any additional unsociable hours money to work on a TX site that wasn't used much by station listeners. Although I'd be very surprised if they didn't schedule some of these closedowns to make a check as to see how many might complain about losing reception, they certainly aren't the only ones (Europe 1 had an "unscheduled" transmitter switch off a few weeks before they shut down 183 kHz permanently as a test to see how many of their listeners were using it).

    * The chances of anyone else taking over broadcasting on 252 kHz from Clarkestown are effectively zero. FTR GHR in the UK have been shutting down their MW transmitters where they have overlapping FM transmissions. Even the likes of China Radio International whom as if money was no object were renting airtime on high-powered MW facilities that were no longer being used by local broadcasters gave up on that strategy several years ago. The abject failure of TeamTalk 252 over 20 years ago shown the lack of any real commercial potential in the frequency - and that was back then!

    * IMO a two week warning has been given by RTÉ to give enough time for the few listeners of 252 kHz to seek alternative ways to listen while also cock-blocking attempts by certain interests to astroturf reasons as to why it should stay on the air (again, a strategy being used by many broadcasters across Europe in shutting down their LW & MW transmissions).

    * Finally, WRT BBC Radio 4's LW service, the LW transmission network is essentially guaranteed for the time being with the GB power companies needing to maintain the Teleswitch service on 198 kHz at least in the short term. However I do wonder how much longer the low power MW fillers (though Lisnagarvey could get away with being called "mid" powered) of BBC R4 LW service will remain on air especially as the BBC have planned to end split FM/LW broadcasts and keep Radio 4 to a single schedule, for example I very much doubt the 774 kHz TX from Enniskillen has even a negligible but notable amount of listeners - in over 30 years I've never seen anyone tune into it to listen to the station on that frequency in the Fermanagh/West Tyrone area except for one time someone had it on their car radio that I seen around 20 years ago.

  • Registered Users Posts: 736 ✭✭✭Timfy

    I suppose that depends on how much of your personal information they hold...

    No trees were harmed in the posting of this message, however a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.

  • They still haven’t taken down the guyed mast in Cork City on the N40 South Ring. It’s been off air since 2008. So I think you can expect the LW mast to be around until whenever there’s a demolition budget.

    Maybe they can do them all in one go.

    Perhaps the maintenance carried out on 252 revealed some need for a major overhaul that’s just not going to be justifiable?

  • Registered Users Posts: 323 ✭✭rathfarnhamlad

    I wonder why the transmitter isn't going to be demolished, at least not at the moment.

    Maybe Paul Rusling has expressed interested in buying it? If that is the case, I can't wait for Music Mann to finally launch! </sarcasm>

    I was an avid listener to Atlantic 252 back in the day. Even then I remember going to Power City to buy a new radio with my confirmation money & can clearly recall having to check every model to ensure that it definitely was LW-compatible before going to the counter to buy!

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,398 ✭✭✭tinytobe

    I am pretty certain there won't be a commercial radio station interested, also no public broadcaster as well.

    Taking the mast down costs money, maybe they find somebody in a 3rd world country willing to buy a used transmitter. These things do happen every now and then. I recall the AFN transmitter of 873 from Frankfurt Germany was sold to somewhere in the Baltics back in the days when they closed down.

    I recall, even back in the 80ies not every radio had LW. One had to specifically look for a LW radio. However reception was pretty easy but even that wasn't a plus. In the late 90ies Atlantic 252 had problems with listening figures etc... but was still widely known.

    Fact is, any kind of AM radio is going to be phased out and closed down all across Europe. I wonder how long Poland and Romania will be on LW on air ? It's quite possible that they will be next, even before BBC Radio 4 on LW.

    I suppose Morocco and Algeria will stay on air the longest? At least in Algeria I would see the necessity to cover the desert in some way.

  • Registered Users Posts: 605 ✭✭✭TAFKAlawhec

    I wonder if the planning permission that was granted for the erection of the mast that was for the then "Radio Tara" project back in the 80's required its removal once it was deemed to be no longer suitable for broadcasting, especially when you consider the local opposition to its building back then? That's not mentioning the potential liabilities that 2RN or RTÉ would potentially incur were there to be a catastrophic failure of the mast if left sitting idle, rusting away and causing injury or damage to third parties?

    Not being familiar with the area surrounding the 252 kHz transmission station, I also wonder if there's any value in selling the land that the station is on for something like a housing development, as has been the case for at least a couple of former MW transmitter sites in Britain?

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,398 ✭✭✭tinytobe

    I've once visited the site of Atlantic 252 with a friend of mine. We were outside of the house but we didn't go in. The house looked like a typical older country house in Ireland of somebody of a better social standing back when it was built. The place was difficult to find, at at time when sat-nav wasn't in use and even the exactness of maps wasn't even enough. The transmitter was visible from a distance, however hedges on the side of the road and narrow winding roads made it difficult to get there. This was back in the late 90ies.


  • Registered Users Posts: 323 ✭✭rathfarnhamlad


    Guaranteed there will never be any new stations successfully launching on LW. Atlantic 252 lasted just over 12 years. MusicMann 279 never launched in spite of all the hype. TeamTalk barely saw out the 2002 World Cup. There was a pirate on 261 kHz which appeared a couple of times in 2016 that hasn't been heard since. Most recently was AM Radio Italia which tried a handful of LW test transmissions but appear to have abandoned that in favour of MW & SW.

    I remember buying a Philips radio in favour of a Panasonic, the latter of which only covered FM & MW. "FM has better sound quality" said the sales guy in the shop. "Yeh, but the station I want to listen to is on longwave!" I said. Atlantic 252 was playing the music I wanted to listen to at the time & that was that.

    I used to listen to UK radio via medium & long wave up until not that long ago. My satellite TV tuner has been doing that job for more than half a decade. Except for Manx Radio which I still listen to via traditional means.

    I don't think Medi 1 from Morocco will stay on the air for much longer. Their website no longer mentions 171 kHz. Also as far as I am aware they are a commercial station owned by a group of investors as opposed to a state broadcaster with a public service obligation so as soon as the LW outlet stops making money it's gone.

    Polski Radio 1 retained their LW service as it carried the national parliament coverage. I don't know whether or not that program has since been made available on FM. They also use it more recently to broadcast external content aimed at Belarus, Russia & Ukraine. But then again Radio Poland is also being re-broadcast from Radio Baltic Waves in Lithuania on MW so maybe the Polish Tx could also be regarded as redundant.

    There is a lot of debate about the future of AM. Some senators & congressmen in the US are pushing for it to be made mandatory in new cars sold. Personally I think MW & SW will be around for a while yet in some form or other at least, but the possibility of any new stations launching on LW is realistically somewhere between zero & a negative number...

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,398 ✭✭✭tinytobe

    I think the initial idea of Atlantic 252 was to service the UK market not the Irish market. In the beginning there were probably still a lot of LW radios around, people still had them back when BBC Radio 2 was on LW and the Light Programme before that.

    MW radio will stay a bit longer in the US, but in Canada there are also frequent closures of MW transmitters and transfers from AM to an FM license.

    Radio was also different back then. In many European countries the future of radio seems to be something like webstreams which are transmitted on DAB and the expectation of the listener is simply choice. Choice is only either on the web or on DAB. The UK is very much like that on the commercial side of radio and Germany is doing similar things.

    Back in the days I've often read about MusicMan 279 but that was about it. Don't know if there was anything I could call hype but those interested in radio knew about MusicMan. There were articles of diesel generators making too much noise or possibly too much noise to power the transmitter and all sorts of other excuses. And even back then, one had to specifically look for a LW radio. Why MusicMan 279 never went on air, I never knew. Most likely it was financial and expectation of low listenership.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 323 ✭✭rathfarnhamlad


    As far as I am aware, Music Mann never owned any hardware at all. There were indeed rumours that it was just a front for money laundering or something like that. The crossed-field antenna that they intended to use only existed in a draughtsman's office. What the diesel generators were actually powering is anyone's guess. I think Chris Cary from the original Radio Nova (I lived only a few hundred yards from Green Acres Country Club in Ballyboden) was involved in the venture in its early stages but there were seemingly a lot of disagreements as regards the politics of how the station should be run.

    Mainland Europe? Well, many of them abandoned AM a long time ago. Then again we do have Bretagne 5, Radio Malta along with Portugal, Romania & Spain, along with Radio Vaticana on SW. Not dead yet.

  • Registered Users Posts: 68,760 ✭✭✭✭L1011

    Its in the absolute middle of nowhere, so there won't be any value for housing.

    The Beaumont MW site has been built on, though.

  • Registered Users Posts: 68,760 ✭✭✭✭L1011

    FOI does not (solely) refer to your personal information, you are thinking of a Subject Access Request under data protection regulations.

    As a public body, RTE are covered by FOI regulations and need to reveal anything that isn't commercially sensitive or personal info of someone else. What is considered commercially sensitive can be a huge range.

  • Registered Users Posts: 605 ✭✭✭TAFKAlawhec

    There are still certain parts of the world where keeping AM broadcasting at least in the short term makes sense, for example the ABC local radio network which covers vast swathes of regional & outback parts of Australia that a replacement FM network would be prohibitively expensive in terms of matching coverage - I never really understood why the 120/60 metre SW relays of ABC local radio for the Northern Territory was shuttered at the same time as the Radio Australia SW transmissions also ended other than cost from somewhere/one in an urban office in Sydney or Melbourne deciding to do so as nothing was in place that could replace this coverage on a traveling basis, and the service appeared to have its users. But in most of the rest of the world its in terminal decline. Even in Australia the traditional local broadcasters on MW frequencies have been slowly but steadily "converting" to FM (not as politically or commercially risky as most commercial stations outside urban Australia don't usually run much power beyond 2kW, exceptions being 4KZ in Queensland and 2WEB in New South Wales both of whom will likely remain on AM for some time to come). As Tinytobe has mentioned, even in the vastness of Canada MW stations there have been looking to switch to FM where practical or be given permission to lower their ERPs, while in the biggest of them all - Russia - there's hardly any MW radio left (or at least there was until a few mothballed stations were powered up again as a partial psyop operation), over nine years ago the state owned stations essentially left LW & MW quite suddenly with little notice. That sort of leaves the USA, but other than maybe the ten best listened to AM stations in the country, mainly the big metropolis-based stations on clear-channel frequencies, AM listening figures are essentially in freefall and have been for many years now - the stations that used to occupy local "superbowl" frequencies with up to 1kW ERP output are now either networked or operated brokered only with no or very little locally produced output. Even the mighty WINS 1010 New York has bit the bullet and is now available on a high-powered FM frequency in the city.

    Meanwhile in Europe, the trend is in most countries for broadcast radio to be delivered via FM and/or DAB. Commercial AM radio is with some very few exceptions dead in the continent - the likes of COPE & SER in Spain have been reducing TX ERPs and are not replacing some transmitters that go faulty (though the state owned RNE is still committed to MW for the foreseeable future AFAIK), Romania is still busy on LW & MW but from what I see all stations are owned by their Radio Romania PSB with all commercial outlets on FM, a few Ukrainian & Russian AM transmitters have been fired up again (though how effective they actually are to get people to tune into them is another thing), you have a couple of high powered AM transmitters in Estonia & Lithuania that are largely aimed towards Russian speaking audiences, you have the BBC & local radio stations in the UK that are in the middle of a decommissioning plan for MW & LW, you have some low-powered semi-hobby broadcasters (notably in Italy & Netherlands) and that's really it. Here in Ireland, you have Spirit Radio whom are supposed to be broadcasting on 549 kHz but have seem to have given up on this (given that they're supposedly on a MW licence with FM "relays", I wonder why the BCI haven't hauled them over the coals yet on this?) while you have two full-time unlicenced radio stations in Radio North & Radio Star Country that although are still going, have in terms of programme output have seen better days - they seem to be largely funded these days by renting airtime to Evangelical Protestant programme makers with a small bit of advertising, outside of these hours the music is mostly automated with the odd show either live or recorded (Radio North don't even bother ID'ing themselves much of the time, and their webstream is no longer working). But as they're on the MW band, aimed at NI audience so aren't trying to attract southern advertising, and as their programming content doesn't seem to cause much fuss to licenced broadcasters on both sides of the border, they're tolerated for now.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,122 ✭✭✭Ger Roe

    FOI requests are not restricted to personal information aspects.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Does anyone else find it disturbing that RTE are trying to put a climate change and woke spin on closing LW ? One RTE executive said "it's a changed world since 2014, that was before smartspeakers, marriage equality and repeal of the 8th"

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,398 ✭✭✭tinytobe

    The interesting thing is, all of the more recent LW shutdowns happened rather quickly.

    RTL 234 was off the air within a couple of months of announcement, Iceland was taken off air within 2 weeks including the taking down of the mast, and now RTE made an announcement within short notice.

    Just wondering how quickly BBC Radio 4 on LW will go, same as Romania and Poland. Who will be next?

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    One thing unique about the BBC's local AM shutdowns was that they had a retune to FM message on a loop for about 2 months which I thought was overkill

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,398 ✭✭✭tinytobe

    The BBC has a bit more money, hence the longer time for a message on a loop.

    However the cost of energy isn't going down and will most likely remain high. And from a commercial aspect DAB is too profitable. I am wondering why Smooth radio is still on AM in the UK.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,064 ✭✭✭Declan A Walsh

    I don’t fancy quoting large passages where I am interested in particular sections – hard to edit – so I am copying and pasting

    @rathfanhamlad: There was a pirate on 261 kHz which appeared a couple of times in 2016 that hasn't been heard since. 

    What was the name of this long wave pirate and where did it operate from? Was it automated or did it have any live broadcasts?

    @TAFKAlawhec: Here in Ireland, you have Spirit Radio whom are supposed to be broadcasting on 549 kHz but have seem to have given up on this (given that they're supposedly on a MW licence with FM "relays", I wonder why the BCI haven't hauled them over the coals yet on this?) while you have two full-time unlicenced radio stations in Radio North & Radio Star Country that although are still going, have in terms of programme output have seen better days - they seem to be largely funded these days by renting airtime to Evangelical Protestant programme makers with a small bit of advertising, outside of these hours the music is mostly automated with the odd show either live or recorded (Radio North don't even bother ID'ing themselves much of the time, and their webstream is no longer working). But as they're on the MW band, aimed at NI audience so aren't trying to attract southern advertising, and as their programming content doesn't seem to cause much fuss to licenced broadcasters on both sides of the border, they're tolerated for now.

    There are some other MW pirates still around. One of the more notable ones is the Dublin-based weekend oldies pirate Energy Power AM. It is mainly automated but does have some live broadcasts.

    I wonder is this the final nail in the coffin for RTE on LW after a number of delays. I suspect that the time has come now. How many people do actually listen to Radio 1 on LW, whether here or in the UK?

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  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Paul Rusling wrote on Facebook that he has made enquiries in the past about using it but 2rn would want a 3 million euro bond

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,398 ✭✭✭tinytobe

    I don't think that any religious broadcaster would be interested in the 252.

    The problem with the 252 is simply cost and lack of listeners, both a no go for anybody other than a public broadcaster who collects and lives on license fees and the legality behind it.

    I suppose the only reason, the mast isn't dismantled is that there seems to be a DRM transmitter there as well? However DRM is not very popular, other than in India, I think.

    I think the original transmitter from Texas is gone, they current one is from Germany.

    Anybody pls correct me on this.

  • Registered Users Posts: 323 ✭✭rathfarnhamlad

    @Declan A Walsh

    I managed to find a Facebook posting (works for me without an FB account) about the LW pirates (there were actually two of them)

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    RTE/2RN don't have a history of rushing to remove unused AM masts, sure the 567, 729 ones are still standing and one of the 612 ones is also still standing.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    I looked it up and April 14th is indeed the 5th closure date that RTE LW has had, the previous closure dates were October 27th 2014, January 19th 2015, May 1st 2017 and June 30 2019.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,092 ✭✭✭Glaceon

    Athlone is unlikely to go because of its historical significance but one of the masts was demolished about 10 years ago. There were discussions about preserving it as a museum exhibit but nothing has been said about it for a long time.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Everyone remembers Atlantic 252, Teamtalk 252 and RTE Radio 1 on 252 but I don't think many people remember Charity 252 which was a reality TV show RTE did for telethon 2004 in which 7 "celebrities" had to run a radio station broadcasting on 252 for a week.

  • The 729 kHz mast in Cork is bit of a landmark that’s seen by the tens of thousands of people who drive past it on the south ring every day.

    It would be interesting to see it lit or something, even if it’s just a relic of a bygone era of broadcasting.

    The only thing about memorialising something like that is there are long term structural maintenance and security costs. You can’t just abandon them as they could ultimately collapse.

    It’s even worse with something like power station chimneys. They’ve huge maintenance costs and someone has to pay them, but you get a lot of lovely suggestions about retaining them as landmarks.

  • Registered Users Posts: 605 ✭✭✭TAFKAlawhec

    I thought that the old mast that carried 2FM on 612 kHz in Athlone was nowadays being used to host a VHF Band II aerial for RTÉ's FM relays in the town as well as numerous mobile network aerials? Or am I wrong?

    As for masts & towers being of historical importance, in my experience while in some other parts of the world some notable masts or towers have become notable local landscape symbols** or landmarks there's little such symbolism used in Ireland on both sides of the border. For example when BBC Radio 4 LW ends broadcasting on 720 kHz at Lisnagarvey, being the last service now broadcast from the decapitated Blaw-Knox mast at the site, I can see it being dismantled not too long after the transmissions are switched off for the final time. Despite its prominence over the M1 near Lisburn heading towards Belfast, it's never had any local symbolism I know of and keeping it maintained for non-broadcast reasons in what is now a heavily commercialised area surrounding the site (and so has potentially higher liabilities for any catastrophic failure) is a cost & job that Arqiva could do without, I'm sure.

    P.S. @Declan A Walsh I'm aware of Energy Power AM in Dublin city, but they are only a "part-time" station if I'm right?

    ** One exception I know of would be to the people of the village of Trillick in Co. Tyrone, where whom the two Arqiva towers on top of Brougher Mountain lie within their civil parish - they're featured in local landscape images and the original tower (that is still standing) is locally called "Trillick's Eifel Tower". Funnly enough there's no such similar sentiment in the village of Tempo that lies on the opposite side of Brougher Mountain even though it's about equidistant to the TX site with Trillick, probably because it's not as easily visible from the village and that local topology actually doesn't make TV reception there that strong - it's easier to receive Carin Hill's TV transmissions than Brougher's!

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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,064 ✭✭✭Declan A Walsh

    I remember Charity 252. I listened to it! The presenters were all celebrities. As time went on, members of the public voted out participants. I recall that showband singer Eileen Reid and actress Sorcha Furling (Orla in Fair City) were involved. There was also an ex-member of Irish band Six. Just checking earlier threads now....her name was Emma O'Driscoll. Also: Amanda Brunker, Blathnaid Ni Coffey, Clare McKeown and Fiona McShane. The show was presented by Gerry Ryan. Eileen Reid was the ultimate winner.