|Independent Business Division of RTÉ|
|Founded||1 January 1926|
|Ireland and Northern Ireland|
|Parent||Raidió Teilifís Éireann|
The first voice broadcast of 2RN, the original radio callsign for what would eventually become RTÉ Radio 1, took place on 14 November 1925 when Seamus Clandillon, the station director announced on air: "Seo Raidió 2RN, Baile Átha Cliath ag tástáil", Irish for "This is Radio 2RN, Dublin calling". Regular Irish radio-broadcasting began on 1 January 1926. However, people in most of Ireland could not receive 2RN's (1.5 kilowatt) signal at the time. When faced with numerous complaints from Cork regarding the writers' inability to tune in to the signal, Clandillon remarked in The Irish Radio Review, a magazine dedicated to the service, that they did not know how to operate their sets. A second station, 6CK (mostly relaying the transmissions of 2RN), was established in Cork in 1927.
Channels and availability
|Channel||Genre||FM||AM||DAB||Saorview DTT||UPC Ireland||Sky||Freesat||Internet radio|
|RTÉ Radio 1||Speech and music||87.8–90.2 MHz||252 kHz (longwave)||DAB Ireland Mux 1||200||901||160||750||m3u|
|RTÉ 2FM||Contemporary hit radio||90.4–92.2 MHz||No||DAB Ireland Mux 1||202||902||164||751||m3u|
|RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta||Irish-language speech and music||92.6–94.4 MHz||No||DAB Ireland Mux 1||204||905||166||753||m3u|
|RTÉ Lyric FM||Classical / specialist music||95.2–99.6 MHz||No||DAB Ireland Mux 1||203||903||165||752||m3u|
|RTÉ 2XM||Alternative music||No||No||DAB Ireland Mux 1||206||944||No||No||m3u|
|RTÉ Chill||Relaxation (overnight 21.00–7.00)||No||No||DAB Ireland Mux 1||209||942||No||No||m3u|
|RTÉ Gold||Nostalgia||No||No||DAB Ireland Mux 1||208||No||No||m3u|
|RTÉ Junior||Children's (daytime 7.00–21.00)||No||No||DAB Ireland Mux 1||209||942||No||No||m3u|
|RTÉ Pulse||Electronic music||No||No||DAB Ireland Mux 1||205||943||No||No||m3u|
|RTÉ Radio 1 Extra||Intelligent speech||No||No||DAB Ireland Mux 1||201||941||No||No||m3u|
A high power (initially 60 kW) station was established in Athlone, in 1932, to coincide with the staging of the Eucharistic Congress. 2RN, 6CK and Athlone became known as "Radio Athlone" or, in Irish, "Raidió Áth Luain" and were receivable across virtually the entire country. Radio Athlone was officially renamed "Radio Éireann" in 1938.
Radio Éireann tried to satisfy all tastes on a single channel (with very limited programming hours). However, this resulted in a rather conservative programming policy. It was barely tolerated by most Irish listeners, and usually trounced (particularly on the east coast and along the Northern Ireland border) by the BBC and later Radio Luxembourg. This did not really change until Radio Éireann became free of direct government control in the 1960s.
In June 1969, work had begun on the new Radio Centre at Donnybrook. Construction of the building was finished in April 1971 and after a period of fitting-out and transition, live broadcasts began on 24 September 1973. By May 1974 the move from the GPO in O'Connell Street, (which had been the home of Irish radio since 1928), was complete.
Now, RTÉ has a nation-wide communications network with an increasing emphasis on regional news-gathering and input. Broadcasting on Radio 1 provides comprehensive coverage of news, current affairs, music, drama and variety features, agriculture, education, religion and sport, mostly in English but also some Irish. RTÉ 2fm is a popular music and chat channel which commenced broadcasting as RTÉ Radio 2 on 31 May 1979, Brendan Balfe being the first voice to be heard on the station at midday, when he introduced the first presenter, Larry Gogan. RTÉ lyric fm serves the interests of classical music and the arts, coming on air in May 1999, and replacing FM3 Classical Music, which had catered for the same target audience and time-shared with RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, an exclusively Irish language service, which first began broadcasting on Easter Sunday, 2 April 1972. Formerly RTÉ operated RTÉ Radio Cork (previously 'Cork 89FM' and 'RTÉ Cork Local Radio'), a local radio service in Cork, but this closed down in the early 2000s.
RTÉ operates multiplex 1 (block 12C) on the Irish digital radio platform (DAB), having launched nine digital-only channels from May 2007 as part of a trial to see what demand existed for new radio services. Most of the channels were an extension of the main Radio 1 and 2fm stations, focusing on particular genres. On 30 November 2008 the trial was brought to an end with the commercial multiplex (mux 2/block 12A) being suspended pending regulatory guidance, while RTÉ also changed the line up of its stations. The day after the end if the trial, two of the stations were turned off, with six being officially launched, namely RTÉ 2XM, RTÉ Chill/RTÉ Junior (timeshare), RTÉ Choice, RTÉ Gold, and RTÉ Pulse.
The two stations that were ended were RTÉ Digital Radio News, which played the most recent Radio 1 news bulletin on loop and RTÉ Playback, a listen again service with content from Radio 1 and 2fm. Despite not officially being launched, the RTÉ Radio 1 Extra service also continues to be broadcast, however the AM Radio 1 service has traditionally been used for opt-out programmes, although it was not called Radio 1 Extra until the trial.
At the moment, only 44% of the country is able to pick up the RTÉ DAB service, mainly in greater Dublin, Limerick and Cork areas. Despite this limited output from DAB, RTÉ's radio stations are broadcast on digital and cable television, and will also be included in the new digital terrestrial television (DTT) service to be launched in 2009.
A survey carried out by the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs showed that demand for an Irish-language radio station aimed at a younger audience than RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta was high. This means that RTÉ might have plans to launch such a radio station.
Main transmission sites
|Transmitter||Service area||Radio 1 (MHz)||2FM (MHz)||RnaG (MHz)||Lyric FM (MHz)||ERP (kW)|
|Cairn Hill||The midlands||89.8||N/A||N/A||N/A||16|
|Clermont Carn||NE Ireland, Northern Ireland||87.8||97.0||102.7||95.2||40|
|Kippure||Dublin, Wicklow, SE Midlands||89.1||91.3||93.5||98.7||40|
|Mount Leinster||SE Ireland||89.6||91.8||94.0||99.2||100|
|Three Rock||Dublin city and county||88.5||90.7||92.9||96.7||12.5|
RTÉ from time to broadcasts on the Shortwave bands aimed at the Irish Diaspora, for example the RTÉ Radio One coverage of GAA All-Ireland Finals in recent years. RTÉ Broadcasts one hour a day
|Africa||5840 kHz||19:30-20:30 UTC|
Special frequencies for GAA All-Ireland Finals
The Meyerton transmitter site in South Africa was used to relay this 17540 kHz in 2012.
|East Africa||17725 kHz||2-5pm|
|East Africa||11620 kHz||5-6pm|
|Southern Africa||7405 kHz||2-6pm|
|West Africa||7505 kHz||2-6pm|
- Sexton, Michael (2005). Marconi: the Irish connection. Four Courts Press. p. 104. ISBN 1-85182-841-9.
- Gorham, Maurice (1967). Forty Years of Irish Broadcasting. Talbot Press. ISBN 0854520279.
- "Features". RTÉ News. 18 April 2006.
- RTÉ, 1 December 2008: 'RTÉ Digital Radio Goes Live on Monday, 1 December'; retrieved 2008-12-21
- RTÉ: 'Digital Radio FAQ'; retrieved 2008-12-21
- UTV News – Demand grows for second Irish language station