Since 2004 Ireland’s national public service broadcaster, RTÉ, transmitted its most popular radio station, RTÉ Radio 1 on Longwave 252kHz. This service has significant reach into the island of Britain.
In September 2014, RTÉ announced the closure of its longwave service. Following a public response from the Irish community in Britain, RTÉ postponed plans to shut down the Longwave service. After further consultation, a decision was taken by RTÉ in December 2014 to defer the Longwave shutdown until 2017.
Subsequently RTE postponed the closing of the long wave service until 2019, it is then planned to move it to an ‘enhanced digital’ DAB+ service as reported in the Irish Times.
In the interim, the Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade of Ireland and the Minister for Diaspora Affairs identified that the Irish Government would be funding research into the current level of listenership amongst the Irish community in Britain:
"Since the initial announcement by RTÉ, it became clear that there is a lack of data on who listens to RTÉ radio in Britain and how they access it. I have agreed that my Department will work with RTÉ and fund research to deliver a better picture of need to inform a solution acceptable to all” (Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan TD, 19 December 2014)
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Ireland requested Irish in Britain to oversee this time limited research and, following an open tendering process, the Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC) at Middlesex University was commissioned to conduct the present study on the reach and value of RTÉ Radio 1 on Longwave among the Irish community in Britain and the potential impact of closure on cohorts within the community.
This research was carried out by the Social Policy Research Centre at Middlesex University in partnership with Irish in Britain. It was funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Ireland.