|Type||Independent Business Division of Raidió Teilifís Éireann|
|Founded||1 January 1926|
|Ireland and Northern Ireland|
|Parent||Raidió Teilifís Éireann|
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.
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. 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||Saorview DTT||Saorsat||Virgin Cable||Sky||Freesat||Internet radio|
|RTÉ Radio 1||Speech and music||87.8–90.2 MHz||252 kHz (longwave)||200||200||901||160||750||m3u|
|RTÉ 2FM||Contemporary hit radio||90.4–92.2 MHz||No||202||202||902||164||751||m3u|
|RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta||Irish-language speech and music||92.6–94.4 MHz||No||204||204||905||166||753||m3u|
|RTÉ Lyric FM||Classical / specialist music||95.2–99.6 MHz||No||203||203||903||165||752||m3u|
|RTÉ 2XM||Alternative music||No||No||206||206||944||No||No||m3u|
|RTÉ Chill||Relaxation (overnight 21.00–7.00)||No||No||209||209||942||No||No||m3u|
|RTÉ Junior||Children's (daytime 7.00–21.00)||No||No||209||209||942||No||No||m3u|
|RTÉ Pulse||Electronic music||No||No||205||205||943||No||No||m3u|
|RTÉ Radio 1 Extra||Intelligent speech||No||252 kHz||201||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 had limited programming hours and a rather conservative programming policy. It was barely tolerated by most Irish listeners, and was often shunned in favour of BBC stations and 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 nationwide 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. Listen to recording from 1994 of the Cork station
Digital Radio and DAB
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.
RTÉ ceased broadcasting using DAB on 31 March 2021. However, its digital-only channels channels remain available as online streaming services and though the Saorview DTT service and on Virgin Media Ireland digital cable TV.
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 trail MUX in some areas, which did not continue beyond the trail 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.
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.
On 6 November 2019, RTÉ management announced that, as part of a major cost-saving program, all of its digital radio stations would be closed.
DAB services from RTÉ were permanently closed down on 31 March 2021.
RTÉ's digital radio stations continue to be broadcast on Saorview Digital Terrestrial TV, Virgin Media Ireland cable and 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, including smart speaker services.
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 Radio One, is relayed on long wave.
|Clarkstown, Summerhill, County Meath||Ireland, UK with overspill into much of Western Europe||252 kHz||300 (day)|
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
|Bloemendal, Meyerton, South Africa||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'[permanent dead link]; retrieved 2008-12-21
- RTÉ: 'Digital Radio FAQ' Archived 21 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine; retrieved 2008-12-21
- 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.
- RTÉ Radio Shortwave www.shortwaveschedule.com