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RTÉ postpones 252LW switch off

Plans to switch-off RTÉ's long wave service, used predominately by elderly Irish listeners in the UK, have been indefinitely postponed, according to reports over the weekend.

RTÉ's radio service on 252kHz LW - a simulcast of RTÉ Radio 1 - is viewed by many elderly listeners in the UK as a vital link to their home country. Groups opposed to the long wave switch-off have said these listeners were not able to move to newer digital services, such as online streaming or listening via Sky or Freesat.

Ireland's Sunday Independent now reports that RTÉ is "reviewing" its previous statement, which advised listeners of a switch-off in 2017, itself a postponement of a previous plan to switch off long wave much earlier. As part of the plan to turn off long wave in 2017, RTÉ was due to reduce the hours of broadcast on the station in the run-up to the changes.

RTÉ now says there is no specific date for the termination of broadcasts on long wave, although the waveband still looks set to be completely vacated by the last remaining radio stations during the next decade, as part of the overall decline of analogue radio and the infrastructure that supports it.

The Irish public broadcaster had previously attempted to launch a simulcast of RTÉ Radio 1 on UK DAB digital radio, until licensing issues put a stop to plans.