Wednesday, June 1, 2022

An Post 50th Anniversary Stamps of Broadcasting in Ireland


AN POST on 5 October 1976 issued two stamps to mark the 50th anniversary of radio broadcasting in Ireland: one with radio waves and another depicting a radio tower,  waves and globe.

The scholar-poet Dr. Douglas Hyde, who later became the first President of Ireland, inaugurated the State-controlled service on 1st January, 1926. The first studio was in Dublin and the station was named Dublin 2 RN. Shortly afterwards Cork acquired a studio, identified as 6CK. Early Irish broadcasters proved remarkably imaginative in the  use of the medium. They  helped to develop broadcast drama as a genuine art form and they were among the first to use radio for the live coverage of  sport.

In 1932 a high-power transmitter (strength 60 kw, soon increased to 100 kw.) was opened near Athlone in the centre of Ireland. The service became known at home and abroad as Radio Eireann­ Radio of Ireland-and its possibilities could now be fully exploited. The post-war years saw the formation of important professional groups within the  broadcasting service, such as the Radio Eireann Players, the Radio Eireann Singers and the Radio Eireann  Symphony Orchestra.

A television service was opened in 1961 and the State handed over control of broadcasting to a cor­poration, now called Radio Telefis Eireann, established by act of parliament. RTE radio continued to develop. A VHF (FM) network was built, stereo broadcasts became common and a subsidiary service in the Irish language (Radio na Gaeltachta) was set up with headquarters in the West of Ireland. A powerful new transmitter (strength 500 kw) was brought into use in 1975. Irish broadcasts could be heard in Britain and many parts of Europe on 530 metres (566 kilo Hertz).

The ultra-modern studio complex at the outskirts of Dublin appropriately incorporates the house which was the family home of Annie Jameson, mother of Guglielmo Marconi, the inventor of radio broadcasting. RTE radio has won many international prizes, including the prestigeous Prix Italia in 1961 and 1965. The service was an active member of the European Broadcasting Union.

The stamps were designed  by RTE graphic artists, Graham  Shepherd and Al  O'Donnell,  and  the first day cover, featuring an illustration  of a woman  using  a crystal  radio set of the  1920's, was designed by RTE graphic artist Jan Mitchell.

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