The humble wireless as it came to be known first debuted in 1906 and become widespread in the 1920s, bringing one way communication into millions of homes. A century on, and radio is still a big part of many people’s lives.
The modern radio is capable of picking up a huge range of stations in the regular bands of AM, FM and MW, tuning into shows with all kinds of content from local and national stations. And many now also have the ability to access streams from the internet, opening up users to many thousands of new stations with all kinds of content.
Radio is a wonderful way to get information, with many people listening to it in their cars and getting up to date on current events. It’s something you can listen to while you’re doing something else as it doesn’t require looking at a screen.
Another major use of radio is discovery of new music. With services like Spotify and iTunes, we tend to be exposed to just the music we want, whenever we want it. Radio offers up a selection of songs we might never otherwise hear, and it might help you discover your new favourite band!
Radios come in all shapes and sizes and also with different features. The simplest versions can often be small and handheld and easily access the FM and MW bands for plenty of local content. You’ll also often find an alarm clock with included radio, letting you wake up with soothing tunes, or something more aggressive!
One newer technology is Digital Audio Broadcasting. DAB radio is a digital service which offers higher quality and improved data – like being able to provide the current song title in the stream. Signal strength is often higher and can be tuned in from different countries, with the newer DAB+ format generally getting better signal. 21 services are using DAB in Ireland.
And now internet radio is available, which uses your home Wi-Fi network to go online to access live streams from all over the world. You can easily tune into streams based on genres of music or types of shows and choose based on languages, locations and more. It’s a huge wealth of content and information, and all available to you at the touch of a button.
Ireland has always had a robust radio listenership and it all started with a Morse code message from the rebels at the GPO on the 24th of April 1916 – acknowledged as our first ever broadcast.
Almost exactly 100 years on and we have a long history with these particular waves, including having one of the longest running stations in Europe in RTÉ Radio 1 which had its first broadcast in 1925.
Figures suggest that up to 85 percent of Irish people listen to the radio everyday, which is a pretty staggering figure. RTE radio programmes dominate the field, with the likes of Morning Ireland and the Marian Finucane Show consistently getting huge numbers of listeners reported in the yearly Joint National Listenership Research (JNLR) figures.
Even with competition from the internet, TV and streaming services, radio is still a huge part of everyday life for millions of people across Ireland. So make sure you’re tuned in with the full range of radios at Harvey Norman this Christmas.