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RTÉ Longwave Closure Postponed

The imminent closure of the Irish public broadcaster’s longwave service we reported last week has been postponed until January 19, 2015. Its original shut down date was next week, October 27.

The Managing Director of RTÉ Radio Jim Jennings plans to travel to the UK to meet with community groups affected by the loss of service to see what other solutions might be found for them. Longwave is the only RTÉ radio service that reaches the UK, though the global Irish diaspora can also listen online.

The outcry over the closure was greater than expected, but Jennings says the longwave service is still set to be shuttered.

The loss of RTÉ longwave is part of a global trend of national broadcasters cutting back or eliminating international-serving longwave and shortwave transmissions, especially those oriented towards countries with significant internet penetration. For instance, the BBC dropped shortwave service to North American more than a decade ago, in response to declining shortwave listenership and the availability of the World Service online and via public radio stations in the US and Canada.

Still, listeners in cars, older audiences and those without reliable home internet are left out as these services sunset. It will be interesting to learn what results from Jennings’ discussions with the UK-based community groups. Will he convince them to take up internet listening, or will there be a creative third-way solution?


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