Next Friday RTE (Raidió Teilifís Éireann) from Ireland will end their long wave service on 252 kHz. Operation on 252 kHz started in 1989 when a joint venture of RTE and RTL started as Atlantic 252. With its powerful transmitter it easily covered Ireland and the UK. The BBC and Independent Local Radio complained about the station as they considered it a “commercial pirate”.
Initially the station was on air between 6 am and 7 pm, as listeners were encouraged to tune to Radio Luxembourg in the evening hours. Radio Luxembourg was the station that – following the demise of the North Sea pirate stations – you listened to for the latest popmusic. From 1991 Atlantic 252 it was on the air 24 hours a day, making it an easier catch for DX-ers around the world.
Popularity of the station reached a peak in the mid 90-ies. But commercial radio on FM, with better sound quality, gained popularity in the UK. From over 6 million listeners the audience declined to less than 1 million in 1999, and in 2001 the station went off the air. For a few months in 2002 Teamtalk 252 was aired via this frequency, after that RTE used the transmitter for RTE 1 programmes directed to the Irish expat community.
Below you can see my QSL from 1989, a few months after the start of Atlantic 252. It’s a pity that following the closure of the Beidweiler station of JV partner RTL another LW station bites the dust. On the other hand, given the costs and pressure to save on the huge energy consumption of such transmitters, it is understandable.