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6CK was the first official radio station in Cork, Ireland and formed part of the national radio service of the Irish Free State. The station was set up in 1927 as an expansion of 2RN, the national station established in Dublin the previous year.
6CK operated primarily as a local relay for 2RN as the signal from that station was too weak to be heard in Cork without much difficulty. However the station also had its own programmes and made a significant input to the national service.
The station was initiated by J.J. Walsh who was the first Postmaster General of the Irish Free State and was responsible for broadcasting, having launched the first station, 2RN, the previous year. Walsh had been a local TD for Cork City and this may have influenced his decision to set up the station in Cork.
The station operated as 6CK for just under three years when it was subsumed into the national network which later became "Radio Éireann" and eventually Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ). However the studios continued to produce a considerable amount of material for the national service and the transmitter continued as a local relay for many years.
The studios of 6CK were in a section of the old Cork City Gaol in Sunday's Well. The prison had only been recently vacated, having been used as an overflow prison for political prisoners at the end of the Irish War of Independence.
Cork Local Radio
In 1974 local programming resumed in Cork under the name "RTÉ Cork Local Radio" (Later RTÉ Cork 89FM) this was a local opt-out service which operated for a limited number of hours per week relaying the national service (RTÉ Radio 1) at other times. The service was popular but had its hands tied by the limited number of local hours it could output, before reverting the Dublin feed. The service no longer operates as Cork now has a number of independent commercial stations. Ireland is unusual in being a European country where the State broadcaster does not have local services for different cities.