And What Did The Listeners Think?


The Irish Radio Review (1927) RTÉ Written Archives Collection
The Irish Radio Review (1927) RTÉ Written Archives Collection

About this Item

Some listeners wrote to the Director of Broadcasting. In the main, their correspondence consisted of complaints. Many letters appeared in the newspapers under pseudonyms such as "Cat's Whisker" or "Antenna" or "Two-Valve".

  • Title
    The Irish Radio Review (April 1927)
  • Production Year
  • Publisher Broadcaster
  • Material Type
  • Clip title
    And What Did The Listeners Think?
  • Extended description

    How many of these published letters were genuine and how many "inspired" by the newspapers themselves, fearful and jealous of the new medium, is now hard to judge.

    There were three types of complaints. Firstly, listeners complained of poor reception. Electrical interference was a particular problem in the early days; it was caused by machinery and even by passing trams. The reception area was strictly limited. Clandillon could be less than diplomatic in his defence of the station. For instance, when wireless owners in Cork complained they could not receive the Dublin station, Clandillon's response was that they did not know how to operate their sets. Complaints from Cork waned somewhat when the Cork 6CK station was opened in 1927.

    Secondly, there were complaints, and well-justified ones, about programme content. The evening fare from 2RN soon became monotonous, due primarily to the frequent re-appearance of the small number of artists who were willing to accept the modest fees. But this was more to do with shortage of money than with any lack of artistic ambition on the part of the Director. His permitted programme costs for each evening, that is, the fees for artists, copyright payments and costs of relayed programmes, was £20. Moreover, one relayed concert from London or Belfast could use up almost the entire budget for an evening's schedule.

    The third kind of complaint about 2RN, regarding the style of presentation, might be understood as "the shock of the new". This was a most difficult issue for the Director. His letter writers complained of too many, or not enough, announcements and programmes in Irish; too much, or not enough, classical music; too much, or not enough, sport or plays. People in Ireland needed to become accustomed to the new technology of wireless.

    Reception of 2RN could be difficult or erratic, especially if you lived more than twenty miles away from Dublin or Cork. Unlike today's sensitive radio sets with built-in aerials, it was often necessary to connect the crystal or valve wireless set on to a long wire aerial and an earth. Although at the start-up of the service in January 1926 there were officially about 2,500 licences only, many more people owned unlicenced receivers: many listeners had sets since before the licences were introduced when they had had "free reception" from cross-channel stations.

     The 'Evening Herald' of 6 April 1926 complained bitterly that the imposition of a wireless licence was "robbing country people of a long-promised amusement. Because of their distance from the Dublin transmitter, they needed dearer battery-powered sets to receive the programmes.

     A letter in the 'Evening Herald' complained: " was said a while ago that the Dublin Station was going to do great things for the people of the country, and bring a new wonder into the lives of the farmers and so on... Yes, but the wonder is paid for dearly!" .

  • Information

    RTÉ Written Archives Collection

  • Local keywords
    Broadcast Media, Irish Radio Review, 2RN, Radio, Broadcasting, Media, RTÉ, 1920s, Listeners
  • Geographical coverage
  • Topic
    The Media
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  • IPR restrictions
    Rights Reserved - Free Access
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  • Item type
  • Language used
    English (eng)

And What Did The Listeners Think?

Category: The Media