Getting the news across

Sir, – I’m a 74-year-old man, living alone in a rural area. Due to social isolation and other factors, I rely to a very great extent on trustworthy traditional media (television, radio and newspapers) for updates on most matters of national importance, especially in these difficult times of Covid-19. I don’t have any faith in so-called social media, from which I receive an abundance of useless information.

From a very early age, I became an avid listener to radio, including 2RN (later Radio Éireann, then RTÉ), the BBC Home Service, Radio Luxembourg, etc.

My father allowed me stay up late to listen to events like boxer Rocky Marciano defending his titles, relayed live from the US, Ronnie Delaney winning his gold medal in Melbourne in 1956, and so on.

The sound quality was not perfect by any means, but it sufficed.

Occasionally the signal could be lost, but not that often.

Nowadays I listen daily to RTÉ Radio 1, paying particular attention for information on the global pandemic.

Be it Morning Ireland or Drivetime, however, I am struck forcibly by the constant ongoing failure of the communications systems employed to achieve this, whether the person involved is due to speak from Australia or Athlone. Line “drop-outs”, breaks in transmission, and what have you. In the Sixties, I could listen to mission control in Florida during the moon landing.

This is 2020, when technology allows us to contact spacecraft en route to Mars, but I can’t listen in a reliable manner to Prof McConkey in Dublin city centre.

What is going on? – Yours, etc,


Manor Kilbride,


Co Wicklow.

Sir, – Allow me to convey a quick message of thanks to the broadcasters and journalists who are working in these difficult times to keep us up to date with what is happening in Ireland and further afield.

As a younger man, I was in the habit of listening to RTÉ radio news as I shaved. Sometimes, when exasperated at some news item, I would vent my opinions. My children would remind me to stop talking to the radio as the people on it couldn’t hear me, which was probably just as well. Similarly, I was known to grumble over breakfast at some item I had read in The Irish Times.

If you’re hearing me now, I’d just like to say thanks. Your work is appreciated, and rarely so much as at this time. – Yours, etc,



Co Wicklow.

Sir, – Keep the crosswords coming, please. I need the exercise. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 8.