Wednesday 20 November 2019

Nova goes for RTÉ's DAB frequency to extend coverage


Radio Nova chief Kevin Branigan
Radio Nova chief Kevin Branigan

Barry Hartigan

Dublin's classic rock station Radio Nova is interested in taking over one of the Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) frequencies which RTÉ currently operates.

RTÉ is shutting down its digital radio stations as part of its recently announced cost-cutting plan.

Radio Nova chief executive Kevin Branigan said: "We have had a long-time ambition to extend our coverage beyond Dublin city and the commuter belt and the RTÉ DAB frequencies are national ones which are now going to be unused and we see this as a way to extend our signals around the country and reach listeners in the other cities."

Branigan said the station has plans already in place and would move quickly to begin broadcasting on the digital platform.

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"We could be on air on those existing frequencies within eight weeks of being given the go-ahead," he said.

"While broadcasting on DAB does provide more challenges than on FM, if this is the only way we can extend our coverage then we are willing to go down that route."

"We have made well-reasoned and weighty submissions to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland on a number of occasions, which were backed up by strong independent research, and we don't believe they are going to allow any new stations in FM in the short term.

"All we need is one of the DAB frequencies out of the many that RTÉ currently have but if they don't want them, we'll take them. We appear to be the only radio station that has an interest in acquiring those frequencies so I don't see why we should not be allowed broadcast on them."

The state broadcaster currently operates RTÉ 2XM, RTÉ Pulse, RTÉ Gold, RTÉjr Radio and RTÉ Radio 1 Extra and a spokesman for RTÉ said: "They will close in 2020. Exact details will be announced at a further date."

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