Irish public broadcaster RTÉ plans to axe Radio 1’s mediumwave service on 24 March. RTÉ believes the transmission cost can no longer be justified, since the content is now available elsewhere. The mediumwave service, on 567 kHz, shares almost all its content with the FM version of Radio 1, except for Sunday religious services and a midweek soccer game. But the decision has been criticised by rural listeners and politicians.
There is to be a public information campaign ahead of the switch-off date. This will highlight the fact that the full Radio 1 mediumwave service will remain available on longwave (252 kHz). It is also available on the Sky Digital platform. RTÉ is also talking to charities about providing subsidised radios for those who don’t have sets with FM or longwave.
The station’s research shows that one in ten radio listeners use the mediumwave version of Radio 1, with the service particularly popular with the elderly and those living in remote areas.
Fine Gael communications spokesman Simon Coveney said shutting down mediumwave transmissions has implications for people in rural parts of the country and at sea. “This is a public service broadcaster and this shouldn’t be abandoned,” he said.
Labour communications and marine spokesman Michael McCarthy said the decision would have the biggest implications for fishermen working 50 or 100 miles off the coast and relying on the broadcasts for weather reports and for farmers.