RTÉ to abandon Medium-wave

January 23rd, 2008 | by Andrew Ó Baoill |

Reports over the past few days that RTÉ is to drop its medium-wave broadcasts from March. In many senses it’s not surprising, given that FM has been the dominant band in Ireland, particularly since the decision to license local stations (almost) exclusively on FM (and one can look previously to the migration of pirate stations to FM from about 1981 onward). However, the Medium Wave band has some characteristics that make it desirable – such as being received in areas that FM can’t reach.

Now, to be fair, RTÉ will continue to offer service on Long Wave – most people will have missed the fact that RTÉ took over the 252 frequency a number of years ago, and is broadcasting the Radio One service on it – which will cover some of the areas being missed on FM. However, LW is not present on most domestic receivers at this stage, so it will be a difficult transition for some people. Thus, in a certain sense, the burden is being moved from RTÉ (who were spending large sums maintaining and operating a MW network) to individual listeners. As a public service operator, RTÉ have, in general, a responsibility to provide universal service, but whether that responsibility can be accurately given a financial value in calculating public service audits/reports, and where the burden becomes an unreasonable drain, depriving other possible public service activities, is a tricky question.

I wonder if this move will mean, however, that RTÉ will concentrate more investment on LW – which could be good news for Enda O’Kane’s campaign to have them introduce Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) on that band.

(Link thanks to fluffy.)

  1. 9 Responses to “RTÉ to abandon Medium-wave”

  2. By MJ Ray on Jan 24, 2008 | Reply

    Seems sensible to me to replace a MW network with a LW service, but I think I have got two radios here with MW but not LW, so I can see the problem too. Is there a simple way to convert a MW set into a LW one? Short some of the wite turns off the ferrite bar, for example?

  3. By MJ Ray on Jan 24, 2008 | Reply

    Your comment eyetest is rather annoying.

  4. By Andrew Ó Baoill on Jan 24, 2008 | Reply

    Yeah, the captcha’s not fun – but unfortunately necessary given the obscene amount of (often obscene) spam commentary doing the rounds these days.

    I’m not sure of a simple way to modify a set. My electronics are rusty, to say the least, but my thinking is that changing the size of the antenna (wound around the ferrite bar) will merely change the wavelengths that are optimally picked up by the set, but not what frequency the receiver is tuned to.

  5. By owen on Feb 11, 2008 | Reply

    Andrew – in reference to the captchas – I’ve installed akismet ( http://akismet.com/ ) and found it highly effective in controlling blog spam – it tells me that it’s caught 16,901 spam for me since I first installed it. The odd comment gets through, but it’s at a level of less than once per week.

  6. By MJ Ray on Feb 17, 2008 | Reply

    The captcha is not necessary and is solving the wrong problem, with a side effect of discriminating against people with vision problems. http://www.w3.org/TR/turingtest

    If spam is a problem, install filters that combat spam, like content-free comments with links to known-bad sites.

  7. By MJ Ray on Feb 17, 2008 | Reply

    The captcha is not necessary and is solving the wrong problem, with a side effect of discriminating against people with vision problems. http://www.w3.org/TR/turingtest

    If spam is a problem, install filters that combat spam, like content-free comments with links to known-bad sites. Your image test is actually more solvable by software than humans – you’re mainly lucky that you’ve not been attacked by suitable software often yet.

  8. By Andrew Ó Baoill on Feb 18, 2008 | Reply

    The captcha was part of a system we’re using that uses a variety of methods to prevent spam. Sadly, my experience from using Movable Type previously is that blacklisting IPs and comments that refer to known problematic sites is not sufficient.

    The system we use creates a score for new comments based on a variety of factors. Comments with a very low score are immediately binned (though stored so we can review them), those with a high score (from known users, etc.) are immediately published. Some of those in the middle lead to a request to complete the captcha, as a way to verify the authenticity of the author.

    MJ is very right that captchas have limitations, and are problematic for some users. The notion here is that by using them as one of several available techniques we can better manage what can otherwise be a deluge of spam (I’ve previously dealt with thousands of spam comments a day on Movable Type, leading me to cur off commenting ability completely and ultimately move to WordPress). However, we have now disabled the captcha, at least temporarily, and will be monitoring the situation to check the impact on the site. If we can make do without the captcha we’re more than happy to do so.

  1. 2 Trackback(s)

  2. Feb 11, 2008: Blog roundup: RTE medium wave move | EAN
  3. Feb 11, 2008: Funferal » Blog Archive » Opposition coalesces against axing of MW by RTÉ

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