Contacting RTÉ about medium wave

February 15th, 2008 | by Andrew Ó Baoill |

I’ve discussed the pending elimination of medium wave broadcasts a number of times here. If you’re interested in contacting RTÉ to comment on the decision, their Information Office is the most readily available email address you can use.

 I’ve already contacted RTÉ, and include the text of my email below.

A Chara,I wish to express my concern regarding the decision by RTÉ to cease broadcasts on the medium wave band, and hope that the move can be reversed.

Most Irish listeners use the FM band. Those who do not often live in rural areas and are unable to receive an FM signal. The provision of a medium wave signal relates directly, therefore, to RTÉ’s public service remit and the desire that there be a universally accessible broadcast service. The claim that the continued service on long wave will be sufficient does not stand up to scrutiny given the absence of long wave on most modern domestic receivers.

Others have drawn attention to the role of MW in cross-border relations. I won’t repeat their claims here, but would urge you to pay close attention to them.

I would like to draw your attention to one final point. Requiring that those unable to receive FM now purchase receivers with long wave capability places a particular burden on these listeners just a short time before it is expected that all listeners will need to transition to digital receivers (of one type or another). Should the long wave band transition to DRM (as RTÉ has indicated with its tests last year) that would mean that listeners, often the elderly and those on limited incomes, would be required to purchase receivers now, only to have to have those receivers become obsolete within a short number of years. This approach to the changing nature of the broadcast environment seems somewhat short-sighted, and destined to cause disquiet and a lack of confidence among the public in general.

I urge RTÉ to defer its decision on the medium wave transmitters and to open a public consultation on the future of RTÉ’s distribution of content to the public it serves. As a central part of Irish cultural and social life, the Authority owes the public no less.

Is mise, le meas,

Andrew Ó Baoill

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