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    DRM Recordings

    Friday, March 21st, 2008

    Muenster Germany

    On the map below are links to recordings of Digital Radio broadcast from Ireland August 2007. The transmission was via the RTE LW 252kHz in Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) which provides a clear signal across Europe. These recordings were made near Muenster Germany.
    Broadcast from Ireland received in Muenster Germany here are 4 recordings recording1 recording2 recording3 recording4 (MP3 audio will play in an external media player and may take some time to download)

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    Radlett North London

    On the map below is a link to a recording of Digital Radio broadcast from Ireland August 2007. The transmission was via the RTE LW 252kHz in Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) which provides a clear signal across Europe. The recording was made near Radlett North London UK. Recorded inside the M25 Radlett North London Recording 1 (MP3 audio will play in an external media player and may take some time to download)

    or larger europe zoomed map click here
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    Letter highlights MW problems in North

    Thursday, March 20th, 2008

    A letter to the Irish Times highlights the fact that there are problems with the reception of RTE on FM. RTE switched Radio 1 with Lyric FM on the FM dial last week, in an effort to resolve concerns among Northern listeners about the shutdown of medium wave.

    The letter says:

    Madam, – The report in your edition of March 18th on next week’s planned closure of the RTÉ Radio 1 service on medium wave focused on the effect on Irish emigrants in Britain.

    I would like to add the voice of a Northern Ireland resident to the clamour of opposition. Most radios sold today do not have long wave, and sitting by the computer to listen to radio is not ideal or always practical.

    Last week RTÉ was trumpeting its solution for Northern Ireland residents – an FM frequency swap which would reach listeners in Belfast and elsewhere and allow us happily to switch from medium wave. The new service started on Friday.

    I eagerly searched for it on all four FM radio receivers in my home. Nothing. The medium-wave signal, however, came through as before – a bit crackly, and not really clear enough for listening to music, but perfectly adequate for speech. I went for a drive around Belfast. The FM signal cut in and out at various points around the city; when it was present, it was inferior to the medium wave broadcast.

    I drove south, towards the transmitter. Only after I passed Sprucefield, more than 10 miles south of Belfast, could the signal be said to be reliable and acceptable.

    I noted from the Irish Newsover the weekend that listeners in the Glens of Antrim, who had been eagerly anticipating the new FM service, were also bitterly disappointed with what was delivered.

    Next Sunday I will listen to Sunday Miscellany – for the last time if the current proposals are implemented. RTÉ’s promises to Northern Ireland residents, which were welcomed by us all just a few days ago, have been shown to be empty, hollow words.

    Surely this is precisely not the time for RTÉ to diminish its service to Northern Ireland. – Yours, etc,

    Kensington Gardens,

    See the letter on
    See a scanned version of the letter.

    Irish Times reports on call for postponement of RTE shutdown

    Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

    The Irish Times has reported on Ean’s call for the shutdown of RTE’s medium wave service to be postponed.

    Ean has been joined in the campaign by Age Action, who say that “older people are not properly prepared for the closing down of the medium wave band”.

    Here is the text of the article from

    You can also see this article as an image.

    RTÉ urged not to abandon medium wave


    THERE HAS been strong opposition to a decision by RTÉ to drop its medium wave radio service by groups representing the elderly and Irish emigrants in Britain.

    Next Monday RTÉ will shut down its medium wave broadcasts of Radio 1. Users will then have to switch to FM, long wave, satellite or the internet.

    The Emigrant Advice Network (EAN), which works on behalf of Irish emigrants, said in a statement that radio was “crucial for communications with the Irish abroad, and provision for radio broadcasting to Irish communities outside the island of Ireland was included in last year’s Broadcasting Bill”.

    Calling on RTÉ to postpone its decision until a long-term solution was found, it said the proposed shutdown was “a reversal of recent trends in which Ireland has acknowledged its debt to the Irish abroad, and the need for maintaining strong links.” It said medium wave and long wave were complementary solutions for the Irish abroad as “long wave on its own is inadequate and presents problems for the future”.

    Dropping medium wave was “a step backward in our relationship with the Irish abroad”.

    It pointed out that last year’s broadcasting legislation allowed for licence money to be spent on radio broadcasting for the Irish abroad.

    “The shutdown of a service valued by the Irish abroad, and RTÉ’s refusal to help older Irish emigrants with a voucher scheme similar to the one it says it will adopt for older people here, seems contradictory to the spirit of last year’s legislation,” it said.

    RTÉ maintains that just 10 per cent of listeners use the medium wave service.

    It also says that it will save more than €1 million by switching it off.

    However, Enda O’Kane, a former RTÉ employee who has been campaigning on the issue for several months, said the costs quoted by the national broadcaster are based on old energy inefficient technology.

    He said a replacement transmitter would slash broadcasting costs and would also be capable of broadcasting a new form of digital transmission known as DRM.

    This is being tipped by many experts as the future of digital broadcasting. “For a mere €4 million, the former Athlone medium wave site could be adapted to digital short wave and so provide a service to our citizens across the EU,” Mr O’Kane said.

    “Satellite services that are currently in use by RTÉ are vulnerable to external influences and now require payment of a fee.”

    Meanwhile, Age Action has said it was “concerned that many older people are not properly prepared for the closing down of the medium wave band.

    The migration of programmes from the medium wave to long wave may well mean that many older listeners will no longer be able to enjoy their programmes.”

    In a statement it continued, “we know, for example, that many older people like to listen to Mass and religious services on medium wave, and this will be a particular loss to them if they do not have long wave or cannot tune their radios to it.”

    © 2008 The Irish Times

    Irish Times carries letter from Éan

    Monday, March 10th, 2008

    The Irish Times has carried a letter from Éan on the issue of RTÉ’s medium-wave shutdown. Here is the text:

    Madam, – Your report on the launch of RTÉ’s upcoming television documentary series, “The Importance of Being Irish”, is not without irony. As RTÉ television celebrates the diaspora, RTÉ radio is turning its back on listeners overseas. On March 24th, RTÉ will shut down its medium wave broadcast of Radio 1; RTÉ says the Irish abroad who want to continue listening can switch to longwave, satellite or the internet – inadequate solutions for the oldest and most vulnerable listeners, who are the ones most likely to cherish this vital link with home.

    Neither medium-wave nor long-wave are perfect solutions for the Irish radio listener abroad – they each have their limitations, but together they allow for reasonably good penetration throughout Britain and into near Europe. Medium wave is the simplest solution for most of those living outside of London, because it provides a clear signal on an easily accessible format. Longwave on its own is inadequate: RTÉ acknowledges that long-wave is unavailable to most people abroad at night, due to significant interference from other stations.

    We believe the long-term solution lies in digital radio – specifically the long-range DRM format, which RTÉ has already begun testing. Cutting off medium wave before this solution is available is premature.

    RTÉ, which says it will save one million euro with this move, claims it does not have the resources to assist even the most vulnerable elderly among the Irish abroad in making the transition to longwave, as it is doing in the Republic.

    Since the publication of the Task Force Report on Emigration in 2002, Ireland has made tremendous strides in its relationship with the Irish abroad. The report recognised radio as a crucial link with home for the Irish abroad, and just last year, legislation was passed allowing for license fees to be spent on broadcasting radio to the Irish abroad. RTÉ’s actions are contradictory to both the spirit of that legislation and government efforts to enhance our relationship with our overseas citizens.

    RTÉ can do more than just celebrate our diaspora. It has the power to strengthen our links with the Irish abroad. Instead, it is severing them, and in so doing cutting off the generation to which Ireland owes a tremendous debt.

    Yours etc,

    Director – Emigrant Advice Network,
    North Brunswick St,
    Dublin 7.

    See the letter on the site at

    Medium-wave shutdown is a step backward

    Thursday, March 6th, 2008

    Ean has released the following statement on RTE’s medium-wave shutdown.



    Statement on RTE’s intended shutdown of medium wave

    Éan – the Emigrant Advice Network

    Éan is an organization that represents the interests of the Irish abroad; we are a network comprised of those working with emigrants, as well as academics and interested individuals. Our work is aimed at improving the emigrant experience.

    The Task Force on Policy Regarding Emigrants specifically mentions radio as being crucial for communications with the Irish abroad, and provision for radio broadcasting to Irish communities outside the island of Ireland was included in last year’s broadcasting bill.

    Éan believes the shutdown of medium wave should be postponed until there is a long-term solution in place.

    1) The shutdown is a reversal of recent trends in which Ireland has acknowledged its debt to the Irish abroad, and the need for maintaining strong links.

    2) Medium wave and long-wave are complementary solutions for the Irish abroad – longwave on its own is inadequate and presents problems for the future.

    3) The move is premature – it will make the transition to digital more difficult.

    1. Dropping medium wave is a step backward in our relationship with the Irish abroad.

    In recent years, Ireland has made enormous progress in recognizing the importance of its relationship with the Irish abroad. The 2002 report of the Task Force on Policy Regarding Emigrants – which stated explicitly, “We owe much to our emigrants? – has provided the foundation for improving the links between Ireland and the Irish abroad.

    In that report, radio was recognized as being ‘of critical importance? in providing “access to news and information about Ireland (as an) important means of retaining links and cultural identity for the Irish abroad?.

    Last year’s broadcasting legislation allowed for license money to be spent on radio broadcasting for the Irish abroad.

    The shutdown of a service valued by the Irish abroad, and RTE’s refusal to help older Irish emigrants with a voucher scheme similar to the one it says it will adopt for older people here, seems contradictory to the spirit of last year’s legislation.

    Recent trends in our relationship with the Irish abroad would suggest that RTE should be working to improve access to its services by the Irish abroad – particularly the most vulnerable, who are most likely to experience difficulty making the transition from medium wave to any other format.

    RTÉ is not acknowledging its listenership abroad. It says that fewer than 10% of its listeners tune in on medium wave – but this figure is solely for the Irish in the Republic, and does not take into account listeners in regions where FM is not an option, including the North (where FM is available in only some areas), Britain, and Northern Europe.

    Listeners can switch to the internet or cable systems, but this is not a good enough solution for the vulnerable elderly among the Irish abroad, who may not be able to access or afford such services. This move is a serious setback to the tremendous progress made by the Government in reaching out to our older emigrants.

    2. There are significant problems with the long-wave alternative.

    Neither long wave nor medium wave alone is an ideal solution for Irish listeners abroad – but the combination of the two is a far better solution than long wave alone. While most people in London cannot get medium wave, there are large parts of the UK where they can, and people who live in areas like Birmingham, Manchester, and Leeds should be allowed to continue to listen to the service that has existed for decades. Additionally, the medium wave signal reaches many places throughout near Europe, including Brussels.

    Longwave is an unsuitable solution for the Irish abroad, as it is not available at night to most people due to the interference from a competing station. RTÉ has acknowledged this problem; an RTÉ spokesperson is quoted in this week’s Irish Post as saying

    “we are currently pursuing this issue with specific broadcasters and hope that this might improve the reception of LW 252 in the evening? (emphasis added).

    We believe it would be better to resolve the problem before cutting off the alternative – what incentive will there be for RTE to resolve the difficulties after the switchover date?

    Another problem is the fact that long wave is declining in popularity in the UK, and receivers will become increasingly hard to find. Long wave is already being phased out as standard equipment in cars. While some years ago most cars had long wave, many of the leading manufacturers have stopped supplying long wave radios as standard equipment in the UK.

    Vauxhall, Renault, Toyota and BMW have all phased out long wave in recent years, and the trend is likely to continue. This will be an additional burden on those who would like to listen to longwave in their cars, as people will need to replace their radios.

    We believe that long wave still has an important role to play for Irish radio listeners abroad but it is inadequate on its own. For those who can recieve it in Britain and in near Europe, medium wave still has a vital role to play. It is not true that long wave is a better alternative.

    3. RTÉ’s move is premature.

    Ultimately, a switchover to digital broadcasting (specifically, DRM) will have enormous benefits for the Irish abroad. RTÉ has invested in a DRM-capable longwave transmitter and has initiated testing DRM (with tests performed last August). We welcome this move – but the transition would be more easily accomplished if RTE maintains its current services. Medium wave can be used as the fallback during the testing phases, and when the time comes to make the switchover, there can be an appropriate information campaign aimed at assisting the Irish abroad in making the move. It makes more sense to delay the switchover until there is a solution that will adequately address the needs of the listenership abroad.

    Within a few years, there is likely to be a permanent, technologically superior solution in digital radio – keeping medium wave until that solution is ready will make the switchover easier, and prevent people from having to make two switches – the first to a longwave service that is frequently not available, and the second to a digital service that will genuinely meet the needs of the Irish abroad.

    5 March 2008

    For further information contact:

    Noreen Bowden, Director, Éan. 087 2111397

    Around Europe with RTE medium wave: listener feedback

    Tuesday, March 4th, 2008

    The following comments are among those Ean has received regarding medium wave reception in the UK and Europe. RTE’s Radio 1 is available throughout the UK and as far away as Belgium.

    Sincere thanks for sending me the latest news on the proposed withdrawal by RTE of the medium wave radio service which is still the only way a huge number of people living Northern Ireland, the UK and the near Continent have of tuning in to RTE radio.
    I had first hand experience of the problem just last week when I was away in London and Louvain (Belgium). In both locations the only way I could access RTE.1 was on 565KHz Medium wave. 252KHz Long wave was impossible to hear in both places,nothing but a loud buzz of interference. And I always carry with me when I go to the UK or the Low Countries a small but powerful SONY Receiver.

    John Connors, MCC

    On Saturday night, 23 February, I had cause to visit Ballymena in Co Antrim. I was tuned to RTE Radio One on FM on the way north from Mayo. It was okay to Omagh but coming close to Cookstown, the signal began to break-up. I tried the usual range but to no effect.

    I then decided to switch over to 567 kHz for the rest of the journey through Moneymore, Maherafelt, Toome and on to Ballymena. I don’t have longwave on the car radio so the mediumwave was the only way I could access RTE in that region. Reception was very good.

    I have found RTE mediumwave to be very handy for its separate sports coverage on Saturday evenings and this service will be lost to many people who travel by cars in all parts of the country, and across the Irish Sea in the UK, if the mediumwave transmitter is shut down. It is a very regrettable decision and one that I hope is reversed as soon as possible so that commonsense can prevail.
    Michael Commins, Mayo News and Mid West Radio.

    I can comfirm that at 10.00pm this evening (18 February 2008) the signal here in Fareham Hampshire on 567 was solid, no interferance or noise, and at the same volume control setting twice as loud as 252 the latter was also very noisy.
    Keith Randall

    I’m listening right now to Lillian playing some great oldies on RTE 1 on both 567 and 252 … the 252 audio is a second or so behind the 567 audio.
    I’m in Gerrards Cross in south Bucks, which is just west of London.
    The 567 signal is slightly stronger than the 252 signal, but both are very adequate. The signal strength meter on the radio says 567 is stronger, but you don’t hear the difference.
    Both channels have some other stations co-channel, but neither has any great problem. My aerial is beaming west at about 290 degrees from here so anything to the south east is at a disadvantage anyway.
    The biggest difference though is the quality of the audio. 567 sounds a lot better than 252. There must be some different audio processing going on. 567 has a better audio range, less bass, more mid-range and top end. 252 sounds almost clipped, a lot of bass and quite harsh.
    So I reckon 567 is by far the nicer to listen to.
    Mark Hattam

    I am the author of the Euro-African Medium Wave Guide ( and I am an occasional listener of RTE.
    When I want to listen to RTE Radio 1 after sunset here in Flanders, it is impossible to do so on 252 kHz as the Algerian transmitter on the same frequency is dominant.
    567 kHz is a good alternative on which RTE is the dominant station. Although reception is not free of interference, the programmes are well audible on the medium wave frequency.

    Herman Boell

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