RTÉ Radio

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RTÉ Radio
Company typeDivision of Raidió Teilifís Éireann
Founded1 January 1926
Area served
ServicesRadio broadcasting
OwnerGovernment of Ireland
ParentRaidió Teilifís Éireann
Websitewww.rte.ie/radio Edit this at Wikidata

RTÉ Radio is a division of the Irish national broadcasting organisation Raidió Teilifís Éireann. It broadcasts four analogue channels and five digital channels nationwide.

Founded in January 1926 as 2RN, the first broadcaster in the Irish Free State, in 1933 the service became Radio Athlone (Irish Raidió Áth Luain) and in 1938 was renamed as Radio Éireann. In 1966, after launching a television service, it became Raidió Teilifís Éireann, or RTÉ.

RTÉ Radio is legally simply a part of its parent, a statutory body, overseen by a board appointed by the Government of Ireland, with general management in the hands of the RTÉ Executive Board, headed by the Director-General. It is regulated by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.

Channels and availability[edit]

Station Genre FM AM Saorview DTT Saorsat Virgin Cable Sky Freesat Internet radio
RTÉ Radio 1 Speech and music 87.8–90.2 MHz No 200 200 901 0160 750 m3u8
RTÉ 2FM Contemporary hit radio 90.4–92.2 MHz No 202 202 902 0164 751 m3u8
RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta Irish-language speech and music 92.6–94.4 MHz No 204 204 905 0166 753 m3u8
RTÉ Lyric FM Classical/specialist music 95.2–99.6 MHz No 203 203 903 0165 752 m3u8
RTÉ 2XM Alternative music No No 206 206 944 No No m3u8
RTÉ Chill Relaxation (overnight 21.00–7.00) No No 209 209 942 No No m3u8
RTÉ Gold Nostalgia No No 208 208 No No m3u8
RTÉ Junior Children's (daytime 7.00–21.00) No No 209 209 942 No No m3u8
RTÉ Pulse Electronic music No No 205 205 943 No No m3u8
RTÉ Radio 1 Extra Intelligent speech No No 201 201 941 No No m3u8


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 testing". 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.[1] 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.

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.

RTÉ Radio microphone in 2004

Radio Éireann had limited programming hours and a conservative programming policy. It was barely tolerated by some Irish listeners, and was often shunned in favour of BBC stations and Radio Luxembourg. This changed when Radio Éireann became free of direct government control in the 1960s.[2]

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),[3] was complete.

A pop music channel, RTÉ Radio 2 (renamed RTÉ 2fm in 1988), began broadcasting on 31 May 1979, founded in response to the growth of pirate radio channels.

An Irish language channel, Raidió na Gaeltachta, began broadcasting on 2 April 1972; RnaG has grown to become an influential news, music and spoken word service.

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 Raidió na Gaeltachta.

Now[when?], RTÉ has a nationwide communications network with an increasing emphasis on regional news-gathering and input. Broadcasting on RTÉ 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. RTÉ lyric fm serves the interests of classical music and the arts, replacing FM3 Classical Music, which had catered for the same target audience and time-shared with Raidió na Gaeltachta.

RTÉ-operated RTÉ Radio Cork (previously 'Cork 89FM' and 'RTÉ Cork Local Radio'), a local radio service in Cork. This closed in January 2000. Listen to recording from 1994 of the Cork station.

Digital Radio and DAB[edit]

RTÉ Radio is streamed on the Internet and broadcast digitally on Saorview digital terrestrial television, on Virgin Media Ireland digital cable services, on the Saorsat satellite services (Spot beam on Eutelsat KA-SAT 9E) and core FM channels are available on Astra 2E @ 28.2°E, where they can be found in the Sky and Freesat EPGs or tuned manually at 11914 H 27500 5/6. Between 2006 and 2021, RTÉ Radio was also broadcast via DAB.


RTÉ had operated multiplex 1 (block 12C) on the Irish digital radio platform (DAB). The broadcaster launched nine digital-only channels in May 2007, as part of a trial to assess if demand existed for new radio services. This ran alongside a brief commercial radio trial MUX in some areas, which did not continue beyond the trial phase. On 30 November 2008 the trial ended and a permanent service was introduced. RTÉ officially launched six stations: RTÉ 2XM, RTÉ Chill/RTÉ Junior (timeshare), RTÉ Choice, RTÉ Gold, and RTÉ Pulse and RTÉ Radio 1 Extra.[4]

Two of the trial stations were not continued. RTÉ Digital Radio News, which played the most recent Radio 1 news bulletin on loop and RTÉ Playback, a listen back service with content from Radio 1 and 2fm did not form part of the official launch. RTÉ Radio 1 Extra also continued to be broadcast, providing extra programming, such as sports coverage often broadcast only on the RTÉ Radio 1 Long Wave (AM) service.

Approximately 44% of the country was able to receive RTÉ DAB service. It was never extended nationally to all areas serviced by FM. Transmitters provided DAB coverage focused on three cities: Dublin, Limerick and Cork and parts of the Northeast.[5]

On 6 November 2019, RTÉ management announced that, as part of a major cost-saving programme, all of its digital radio stations would be closed.[6] RTÉ ceased broadcasting using DAB on 31 March 2021. However, its digital-only channels remain available as online streaming services and though the Saorview DTT service and on Virgin Media Ireland digital cable TV.[7] Additionally, core services are carried on satellite television platforms on Astra 28.2°E, and are included in the Sky and Freesat EPGs. All services remain available streaming online, accessible through the RTÉ website and many online radio platforms, and are accessible via smart speaker services.[citation needed]

FM frequencies[edit]

Main transmission sites[edit]

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
Maghera West Ireland 88.8 91.0 93.2 98.4 160
Mount Leinster SE Ireland 89.6 91.8 94.0 99.2 100
Mullaghanish SW Ireland 90.0 92.2 94.4 99.6 160
Three Rock Dublin city and county 88.5 90.7 92.9 96.7 12.5
Truskmore NW Ireland 88.2 90.4 92.6 97.8 160


RTÉ Radio One was relayed on longwave, using the former Atlantic 252 transmitter in County Meath. This service ended in 2023 and the mast was then demolished.[8]

Transmitter Service area Frequency ERP(kW)
Clarkstown, Summerhill, County Meath Ireland, UK with overspill into much of Western Europe 252 kHz 300 (day)


RTÉ occasionally broadcasts on shortwave bands aimed at the Irish Diaspora, for example, with RTÉ Radio One coverage of GAA All-Ireland Finals in several years, for around one hour a day.

Transmitter Service area Frequency Times
Bloemendal, Meyerton, South Africa Africa 5840 kHz[9] 19:30-20:30 UTC

Special frequencies for GAA All-Ireland Finals[edit]

The Meyerton transmitter site in South Africa was used to relay this 17540 kHz in 2012.

Transmitter Service area Frequency Times
East Africa 17725 kHz 2-5pm
East Africa 11620 kHz 5-6pm
Southern Africa 7405 kHz 2-6pm
West Africa 7505 kHz 2-6pm

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sexton, Michael (2005). Marconi: the Irish connection. Four Courts Press. p. 104. ISBN 1-85182-841-9.
  2. ^ Gorham, Maurice (1967). Forty Years of Irish Broadcasting. Talbot Press. ISBN 0854520279.
  3. ^ "Features". RTÉ News. 18 April 2006.
  4. ^ RTÉ, 1 December 2008: 'RTÉ Digital Radio Goes Live on Monday, 1 December'[permanent dead link]; retrieved 2008-12-21
  5. ^ RTÉ: 'Digital Radio FAQ' Archived 21 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine; retrieved 2008-12-21
  6. ^ Halpin, Hayley (7 November 2019). "'Today could be our last': Breakfast presenter addresses widespread RTÉ service and job cuts at start of show". TheJournal.ie. Retrieved 7 November 2019.
  7. ^ Crowley, Sinéad (2 March 2021). "RTÉ to cease radio transmission on DAB network". {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  8. ^ "Keep Listening - How to Listen to RTÉ's Radio Services". RTÉ. 1 March 2021.
  9. ^ RTÉ Radio Shortwave www.shortwaveschedule.com

External links[edit]