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Radio Telefís Éireann
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Radio Telefís Éireann

Radio Telefís Éireann (RTÉ) (English: Radio and Television of Ireland) is the national state broadcaster in the Republic of Ireland. The radio service began on January 1 1926, while regular television broadcasts began on 31 December 1961.

Table of contents
1 Principal stations
2 Further reading
3 See also
4 External link

Principal stations


Telefís Éireann began broadcasting on 31 December 1961, the opening address was given by the then President of Ireland Eamon de Valera. Television opened up a completely new world to the Irish people which were growing tired of the mundane life they endured. Topics which were hitherto not discussed in Ireland, such as abortion, contraception and various other controversial topics, were now openly being discussed in television studios. The Late Late Show, which began in July 1962 and is still running as of 2004, and its host, Gay Byrne, pioneered many of these discussions and has been credited with being a major influence in the changing social structure of Ireland.

Colour television started in the early 1970s, and in 1978 Ireland's second television channel, RTÉ Two, later called Network 2, began broadcasting. Both RTÉ One and Network 2 provide round-the-clock broadcasts seven days a week, providing comprehensive coverage of news, current affairs, sport, music, drama and entertainment. Most of the broadcasts are in English, including programming imported from Britain, the United States and Australia. However Irish language programmes, such as Nuacht (the news) and Léargas (insight) have been an integral part of the schedule. In 1996 a new Irish language TV service, Teilifís na Gaeilge, since renamed TG4, began broadcasting for the first time though much of its programming is English movies and sport which are often unrelated to the language or Ireland for that matter. TG4 is part of RTÉ, but will become a separate public body during 2004, although RTÉ will continue to provide it with programming which comes essentially in the form of a subsidy. RTÉ's monopoly on TV broadcasting in the Republic only ended in 1998, with the launch of the commercial channel TV3.

RTÉ One and Network 2 are also available in Northern Ireland, and from 1995 to 2002, there was also a channel in the rest of the UK called Tara Television, which carried RTÉ programming, though not Irish sport coverage like the highly GAA or Gaelic games, as broadcasting rights had already been licensed to another channel, Setanta. Tara closed due to disagreements between RTÉ and the other companies. Ironically, RTÉ One and Network 2 are available throughout the British Isles via satellite on SkyDigital, although these are encrypted for rights reasons, and people from outside the Republic, even in Northern Ireland, need to obtain a viewing card from that country.

From the outset, RTÉ had faced competition from British TV channels such as those of the BBC and UTV, broadcasting from Northern Ireland, whose signal spilt over into the Republic. RTÉ's approach was pragmatic, as it introduced cable television in the 1970s, initially known as RTÉ Relays, and subsequently as Cablelink, although it later sold its stake in the company, which is now known as NTL Ireland. In the late 1980s, more competition came from satellite television, especially from Sky based in the UK.

In 2003, RTÉ's reality TV show Cabin Fever made international news when the ship, on which contestants where scheduled to remain for eight weeks, with one person voted off each week by viewers and forced literally to "walk the plank" was thrown into chaos when the sailing ship on which the show was taking place hits rocks near Tory Island, off the Irish coast, and later sank. All the contestants escaped unharmed.

Three personalities have worked with and continue to work with RTÉ since 1962:

See also: List of RTÉ television programming


The first voice broadcast of 2RN, the original radio callsign for Radio 1, took place on November 14, 1925 when an announcer said, "Seo Raidió 2RN, Baile Átha Cliath ag tástáil", meaning "This is Radio 2RN, Dublin testing". Regular Irish radio broadcasting began on January 1, 1926. 2RN later became known as Radio Éireann. Now, RTÉ has a nationwide commnications 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, while RTÉ Lyric FM serves the interests of classical music and the arts. Raidió na Gaeltachta, an exclusively Irish language service, first began broadcasting in 1972. RTÉ Radio Cork reflects regional activity in Munster and is based in Cork the second city of the republic.

Further reading

Jack Dowling, Lelia Doolin, Bob Quinn, Sit Down and Be Counted: the cultural evolution of a television station, Wellington Publishers Ltd., Dublin, 1969.

See also

External link

Radio Telefís Éireann
RTÉ One | Network 2 | TG4
RTÉ Radio 1 | 2FM | RTÉ Lyric FM | Raidió na Gaeltachta