Monday, March 16, 2009

RTĚ to launch shortwave service to Africa

St Patrick’s Day (17 March) will see the launch of a daily shortwave radio broadcast from RTÉ to the Irish in Africa. This link with home is in response to many requests from Irish people scattered throughout the continent, and working in fields such as aid, peace-keeping, construction projects, and missionary work. According to the Irish government there are many thousands of Irish working in Africa.

Although RTÉ has long been available on satellite and via the Internet, those in remote regions of Africa have asked for shortwave transmissions which will reach portable radio sets in areas that do not even have electricity supplies let alone easy access to satellites and the web. The main coverage area will be West, Central and East Africa.

From 17 March, every evening they will be able to hear a one hour selection of RTÉ radio programs from the day at 1930-2030 UTC on 6220 kHz. The transmission will be provided by WRN, the London headquartered international radio and TV transmission company that has been transmitting RTÉ around the world since 1994.

Said JP Coakley, RTÉ’s Head of Operations, “RTÉ ceased its worldwide shortwave service in 2004 due to the growth of technologies such as the Internet for serving the diaspora. However, Africa obviously presents particular challenges and in 2004 we also introduced a specific service based on delivery to small satellite radios called WorldSpace. However, this service has effectively ceased for the moment so we are reintroducing a shortwave service to Africa – we want Irish people there to know that RTÉ values the connection with them as much as they do”.
(Source: WRN/R Netherlands Media Network Weblog)