RTE’s ending of long wave transmission

Sir, – I refer Fr Brian D'Arcy's call for a five-year moratorium on the closure of the RTÉ One long wave service (Fr Brian D'Arcy calls on RTÉ to suspend long wave radio closure", December 1st).

Whilst long wave transmissions have poor aerial efficiency, and so require powerful transmitters, they do provide a significant coverage footprint and so the transmission from Athlone is well-received over the UK.

The suggestion that the transmission may be received through digital TV sets is not universally the case.

Most UK viewers use Freeview for their digital terrestrial TV reception and no RTÉ services are carried by Freeview.


A minority of viewers equipped with Freesat can receive RTÉ via their TV sets.

DAB or digital radio occupies the frequencies on VHF vacated by European broadcasters following the European adoption of UHF frequencies for TV broadcasting. Unlike FM radio broadcasting which fades in areas of weak signal, digital radio cuts out completely for several seconds until signal strength improves and so is inconsistent when received in cars for example.

Reception of RTÉ One on long wave such as BBC Radio 4 provides simple-to-tune long-range coverage free from co-channel interference experienced on medium wave (especially at night) using simple portable equipment like a transistor radio or car radio.

RTÉ One listenership in the UK is not just confined to an ex-patriot geriatocracy but to a wider audience.

RTÉ should reflect on the benefits of continuing the transmission on long wave by running it in parallel with DAB and FM transmissions.

This could be with a view to offering programmes, in addition to the likes of Morning Ireland, that would appeal to ex-patriots and those of us who wish to continue to easily receive objective and informed news from Ireland. – Yours, etc, GRAHAM SMITH, Merseyside, UK.