Ireland broadcaster to close its DAB radio services

Irish state broadcaster RTÉ is to close all of its DAB digital radio services, including RTÉ Gold, RTÉjr Radio & RTÉ Radio 1 Extra.

The closures are part of major cuts across the organisation, including 200 jobs being lost and the closure of its studio facilities in Limerick, home of RTÉ lyric fm.

RTÉ says it will close RTÉ 2XM, RTÉ Pulse, RTÉ Gold, RTÉjr Radio & RTÉ Radio 1 Extra, along with the “Digital Audio Broadcast network”.

The multiplex, the only national one in Ireland, carries RTÉ Radio 1, RTÉ 2FM, RTÉ lyric fm, RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, RTÉ Choice, RTÉ Gold, RTÉ 2XM, RTÉ Junior, RTÉ Chill and RTÉ Pulse.

It says costs will need to be reduced by €60 million over three years (2020-2023), in addition to the reduction of 23% delivered by RTÉ between 2008 and 2018.

RTÉ says fees paid to its top contracted on-air presenters will also need to be cut by 15%, in addition to the 30+% cuts as agreed in previous years. Over 200 people will need to leave in 2020.

Director-General of RTÉ said: “Our intention was to brief staff in full this week. However, given the sad passing of our colleague Gay Byrne, a decision was taken to postpone until next week. With so much detail now in the public domain, our first priority was to contact all staff immediately with an update on the revised strategy, and plans. Below is the plan in summary.”

“We need to reduce staff costs—we will consult with staff and unions on a number of initiatives, to include pay freeze, tiered pay reductions, review of benefits, work practice reforms. The Executive Board will take a 10% reduction in pay; the Board of RTÉ will waive its fees.”

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  1. Almorr says

    That’s sad news, however, a lot of those DAB stations are only broadcast in 3 places, Dublin Limerick and Cork, apart from those towns most other listening is done Online, I wonder if the likening of RTÉ Gold will continue Online only or are they completely closing down?

    1. mb23 says

      RTE Gold and the other digital only stations are being closed down..

  2. Nev jack says

    Just shows dab isn’t the be all and end all of broadcasting! I assume they will just stay on FM only as they closed all am transmitters a long whil ago?

  3. Mr Boltar says

    At least the reality has dawned in Ireland that most people still listen on analogue and not to waste scarce resources chasing an outdated 1980s digital system.

    If there was any sense in Europe DAB would be shown the door and Band 3 turned over to FM broadcasting.

    1. Nev jack says

      If handle was used for broadcasting it would carry national AND many local services..

  4. Bandscanner says

    There is no national DAB multiplex in Ireland. Only ‘select’ parts are covered. Meanwhile, there’s an eye-watering amount of money being wasted on Long Wave!

    1. Almorr says

      If they broadcast RTE. Gold on Long Wave 24/7 it would be like listening to a combination of the old Radio Luxembourg and memories of Atlantic 252.

      1. Nev jack says

        Trouble is most radios aren’t made with LW today…

  5. Gareth Hart says

    Looks to be the beginning of the end of DAB in Ireland as it joins Hong Kong in abandoning the platform in favour of FM and the Internet. Can’t imagine RTÉ will want to pay anything for having its services hosted on any commercial multiplex that may take its place.

    I can imagine the BBC will be looking to see how this turns out for RTÉ considering it may well have to make cuts of its own in the future (particularly if it u-turns over the over 75 licence fee cuts). I can foresee with its public support for FM and 5G Broadcasting, the axing of the national DAB multiplex alongside a few radio stations would be a nice little cost saving that would likely be considered in any future cuts.

  6. Willie Bone says

    It did look as if DAB radio in Ireland was dead in the water, long before this RTE cutback announcement. Will closing RTE’s DAB radio services cause Irish radio listeners to have sleepless nights? I doubt it..

  7. Richard says

    A future commercial operator could rely some of our stations, like the Channel Islands award winner for DAB is going to do!
    I know that the CI comes under Ofcom, but it could be classified as a remote operator! Just an idea!

  8. Paul Kent says

    Presenters will have to take a 15% pay cut on top of previously agreed 30%+ cuts. Executive board will take a 10% cut. Spomething sound a trifle unbalanced to anyone?

  9. Radio Geordie says

    The thing I found odd was that their version of Freeview was the only way for most of the country to get these automated jukebox services anyway (not including online) given that DAB in Ireland only covered the 3 most populated counties.

    Bizarrely though, your Irish site is reporting that Nova wants to takeover the platform. What makes them think they could make it work when RTE, with taxpayers money to prop them up, couldn’t?

  10. Stuart O. says

    One things for sure, they won’t want Ireland to win Eurovision for a while again until after the cuts and reductions have been made! I wonder if they’ve finished paying off their fees to the EBU for hosting Eurovision in 1993, ’94, ’95 and ’97 yet?!

    1. Nev jack says

      The mind boggles if they’re still paying for it? No wonder they’re in debt…😞

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