RTÉ Radio

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RTÉ Radio
Independent Business Division of RTÉ
Industry Media
Founded 1 January 1926
Headquarters Dublin, Ireland
Area served
Ireland and Northern Ireland
Services Radio broadcasting
Parent Raidió Teilifís Éireann
Website RTÉ Radio

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

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.

Channels and availability

Channel Genre FM AM DAB Saorview DTT UPC Ireland Sky Freesat Internet radio
RTÉ Radio 1 Speech and music 87.8–90.2 MHz 252 kHz (longwave) DAB Ireland Mux 1 200 901 160 750 m3u
RTÉ 2FM Contemporary hit radio 90.4–92.2 MHz No DAB Ireland Mux 1 202 902 164 751 m3u
RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta Irish-language speech and music 92.6–94.4 MHz No DAB Ireland Mux 1 204 905 166 753 m3u
RTÉ Lyric FM Classical / specialist music 95.2–99.6 MHz No DAB Ireland Mux 1 203 903 165 752 m3u
RTÉ 2XM Alternative music No No DAB Ireland Mux 1 206 944 No No m3u
RTÉ Chill Relaxation (overnight 21.00–7.00) No No DAB Ireland Mux 1 209 942 No No m3u
RTÉ Gold Nostalgia No No DAB Ireland Mux 1 208 No No m3u
RTÉ Junior Children's (daytime 7.00–21.00) No No DAB Ireland Mux 1 209 942 No No m3u
RTÉ Pulse Electronic music No No DAB Ireland Mux 1 205 943 No No m3u
RTÉ Radio 1 Extra Intelligent speech No 252 kHz DAB Ireland Mux 1 201 941 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.

RTÉ Radio microphone in 2004

Radio Éireann tried to satisfy all tastes on a single channel (with very limited programming hours). However, this resulted in a rather conservative programming policy. It was barely tolerated by most Irish listeners, and usually trounced (particularly on the east coast and along the Northern Ireland border) by the BBC and later Radio Luxembourg. This did not really change until 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.

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


  • 1925 - Test Broadcasts of 2RN
  • 1926 - 2RN commence broadcasting, launched by future president Dr. Douglas Hyde
  • 1927 - 6CK Station in Cork established
  • 1932 - Athlone transmitter broadcasts a high power 60KW signal
  • 1938 - Radio Athlone becomes Radio Éireann
  • 1948 - Radio Éireann broadcast on Shortwave from Athlone
  • 1953 - Athlone upgraded to 100KW
  • 1966 - Radio Eireann commence VHF-FM broadcasts
  • 1972 - RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta launched
  • 1973 - RTE Radio moves from Henry Street to Donnybrook
  • 1975 - RTE Radio Tullamore transmitter replaces Athlone
  • 1979 - RTÉ Radio 2 launched using the Athlone Transmitter for 612kHz.
  • 1982 - RTE broadcasts Radio 2 on 1278kHz in Dublin and in Cork
  • 1984 - RTE FM3 Classical Music commences sharing frequency with Raidió na Gaeltachta
  • 1988 - Millennium 88FM (1278kHz MW) broadcast to celebrate Dublin's Millennium
  • 1988 - RTE Radio 2 becomes 2FM
  • 1989 - RTE established Atlantic 252 with Radio Luxembourg
  • 1989 - RTE Cork Local Radio rebrands as Cork 89FM
  • 1994 - Cork 89FM relaunched as RTE Radio Cork
  • 1999 - RTE FM3 becomes RTE Lyric FM with the station moving to Limerick
  • 1999 - RTE Radio Cork closes
  • 2002 - RTE resume using 252kHz long wave
  • 2003 - Radio 2 on 1278kHz closes
  • 2003 - New years eve sees RTE Radio cease to broadcast on SW, concentrating on Satellite and relay via WRN[4]
  • 2004 - RTE close Radio 2/2FM Medium wave (612kHz)
  • 2008 - RTE close Radio 1 Medium wave (567 and 729 kHz.)
  • 2008 - RTE launches DAB services
  • 2008 - Four RTE FM Radio stations become available on Freesat[5]
  • 2009 - RTE Begin daily Shortwave radio broadcast to Irish in Africa 1930-2030 UTC on 6220 kHz via WRN[6]
  • 2010 - Saorview launched with RTE Digital Radio Channels available on it
  • 2012 - Launch of Saorsat on EUTELSAT KA-SAT 9 East used to bring RTE Digital TV and Radio services where Saorview and DAB do not reach
  • 2013 - Radio 1 Extra dropped from Freesat and Sky platforms


RTÉ operates multiplex 1 (block 12C) on the Irish digital radio platform (DAB), having launched nine digital-only channels from May 2007 as part of a trial to see what demand existed for new radio services. Most of the channels were an extension of the main Radio 1 and 2fm stations, focusing on particular genres. On 30 November 2008 the trial was brought to an end with the commercial multiplex (mux 2/block 12A) being suspended pending regulatory guidance, while RTÉ also changed the line up of its stations. The day after the end of the trial, two of the stations were turned off, with six being officially launched, namely RTÉ 2XM, RTÉ Chill/RTÉ Junior (timeshare), RTÉ Choice, RTÉ Gold, and RTÉ Pulse.[7]

The two stations that were ended were RTÉ Digital Radio News, which played the most recent Radio 1 news bulletin on loop and RTÉ Playback, a listen again service with content from Radio 1 and 2fm. Despite not officially being launched, the RTÉ Radio 1 Extra service also continues to be broadcast, however the AM Radio 1 service has traditionally been used for opt-out programmes, although it was not called Radio 1 Extra until the trial.

At the moment, only 44% of the country is able to pick up the RTÉ DAB service, mainly in greater Dublin, Limerick and Cork areas.[8] Despite this limited output from DAB, RTÉ's radio stations are broadcast on digital and cable television, and will also be included in the new digital terrestrial television (DTT) service to be launched in 2009.

A survey carried out by the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs showed that demand for an Irish-language radio station aimed at a younger audience than RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta was high. This means that RTÉ might have plans to launch such a radio station.[9]

FM frequencies

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
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, is relayed on long wave.

Transmitter Service area Frequency ERP(kW)
Clarkstown, Summerhill, County Meath Ireland, UK 252kHz 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

Transmitter Service area Frequency Times
Bloemendal, Meyerton, South Africa Africa 5840 kHz[10] 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.

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


  1. Sexton, Michael (2005). Marconi: the Irish connection. Four Courts Press. p. 104. ISBN 1-85182-841-9.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Gorham, Maurice (1967). Forty Years of Irish Broadcasting. Talbot Press. ISBN 0854520279.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Features". RTÉ News. 18 April 2006.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Radio News January 1st, 2014.
  5. Press Release -Four RTE FM Radio Stations available on Freesat September 9th, 2008.
  6. RTÉ began daily shortwave service to the Irish in Africa 18 March 2009.
  7. RTÉ, 1 December 2008: 'RTÉ Digital Radio Goes Live on Monday, 1 December'; retrieved 2008-12-21
  8. RTÉ: 'Digital Radio FAQ'; retrieved 2008-12-21
  9. UTV News – Demand grows for second Irish language station
  10. RTE Radio Shortwave www.shortwaveschedule.com

External links