Raidió Teilifís Éireann is the public service broadcaster of Ireland. It both produces programmes and broadcasts them on television, radio and the Internet. The radio service began on 1 January 1926, while regular television broadcasts began on 31 December 1961, making it one of the oldest continuously operating public service broadcasters in the world.
RTÉ is a statutory body run by a board appointed by the Irish Government. General management of the organisation is in the hands of the Executive Board headed by the Director-General.
Radio Éireann, RTÉ's predecessor and at the time a section of the Department of Posts and Telegraphs, was one of 23 founding organisations of the European Broadcasting Union in 1950.
Establishment and name:
Broadcasting in Ireland began in 1926 with 2RN in Dublin. From that date until June 1960 the broadcasting service (2RN, later Radio Éireann) operated as a section of the Department of Posts and Telegraphs, and those working for the service were directly employed by the Irish Government and regarded as civil servants.
In 1960, RTÉ was established (as Radio Éireann) under the Broadcasting Authority Act 1960, the principal legislation under which it operates. The name was adopted at the suggestion of Áine Ní Cheanainn. The existing Radio Éireann service was transferred to the new authority, which was also to make provision for the new television service (Telefís Éireann) which opened on 31 December 1961, from the Kippure transmitter site near Dublin. Eamonn Andrews was the first Chairman of Radio Éireann, the first director general was Edward Roth. The name of the authority was changed to Radio Telefís Éireann under the Broadcasting Authority (Amendment) Act 1966, and both the radio and television services became known as RTÉ in that year.
The Broadcasting Act 2009 (Section 113) changed the name of the organisation from "Radio Telefís Éireann" to "Raidió Teilifís Éireann", in order to reflect the 'proper' spelling of the name in Irish. However, the station retains "Radio Telefís Éireann" carved in stone at the entrance to its Donnybrook headquarters in Dublin.
Under Section 31 of the Broadcasting Authority Act, 1960 the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs of the day could direct RTÉ "not to broadcast any matter, or any matter of any particular class". In 1971, the first such directive was issued by Gerry Collins, directing RTÉ not to broadcast "any matter that could be calculated to promote the aims or activities of any organisation which engages in, promotes, encourages or advocates the attaining of any particular objectives by violent means". Following this, Collins dismissed the entire RTÉ Authority over an interview with an (unidentified on-air) source who was the chief of staff of the Provisional IRA. Some RTÉ staff members, particularly those involved in programme making, including Eoghan Harris (who was known for his involvement with the break-away Official IRA, then on ceasefire) and Gerry Gregg, strongly supported the operation of Section 31.
In 1977, Conor Cruise O'Brien, the then-Minister, issued a new directive in the form of the Broadcasting Authority Act, 1960 (Section 31) Order, 1977. RTÉ was now explicitly banned from broadcasting statements by spokespersons of Sinn Féin, the Provisional IRA, or any other terrorist organisation banned in Northern Ireland by the Parliament of the United Kingdom. These directives were generally reissued on an annual basis until the final one of 1993.
The effect of this ban was greater than the one introduced over 10 years later in the United Kingdom. In the UK case, the ban could be easily circumvented using actors' voices; this was not permissible on RTÉ. The ban did not, however, affect UK stations broadcasting in the Republic as, until 1988 at least, viewers in the Republic were still able to hear the voices of democratically elected Sinn Féin representatives.
Income and expenditure:
RTÉ receives income from two main sources:
The television licence fee. Within the State, it is necessary to pay a fee of €160 per annum in order to legally possess any piece of equipment capable of receiving television signals (not necessarily those of RTÉ). This money is collected by An Post on behalf of the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. The state pays for TV Licence Inspectors who have the power to obtain and execute search warrants of private houses. Failure to possess a valid television licence can result in a fine and a criminal record.
Commercial Revenue including the sale of advertising and sponsorship. In the early 1990s Minister Ray Burke imposed commercial revenue quotas to limit the amount of revenue that RTÉ could procure through advertising, in view of the corporation's licence fee income, however such quotas were later removed however RTÉ Radio and Television is still limited to 6mins of advertising per hour. The commercial division also owned 0.086% of the Intelsat satellite firm, which they sold in 2005.
Even though the commercial quotas have been removed these two sources are still approximately split in a 50:50 ratio. The licence fee does not fund RTÉ 2fm, RTÉ Aertel, RTÉ Guide or the website RTÉ.ie, however each of these brands are indirectly funded by the licence fee through the use of content that is funded by the licence fee, such as News and Current Affairs.
RTÉ Personality Salaries:
RTÉ's Director General in October 2009 said there was "no question that by today's standards" the salaries paid to its top presenters in 2008 "were excessive. I have to repeat that they were set at a different time in a different competitive reality where some of this talent might be up for poaching by other organisations and in RTÉ's view at the time, they delivered value for money ". Fine Gael said the high salaries were "rubbing salt in the wounds" for people who had lost their jobs or taken significant pay cuts. Labour criticised RTÉ for not releasing the data sooner and said "This information should be easily available and there should be no question of concealing it or making it in any way inaccessible ". Many of the highest-paid stars, are not technically members of staff but are paid through separate companies, enabling them and the station to avoid paying tax on their salaries.
Organisation This section requires expansion.:
RTÉ Board and Executive Board:
RTÉ is a statutory corporation. Under its original governance arrangements (under the Broadcasting Authority Act 1960) its board was known as the RTÉ Authority. The members of the RTÉ Authority were appointed by the Cabinet upon the recommendation of the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources. The RTÉ Authority was both the legal owner of RTÉ (under the 1960 Act, it was RTÉ) and was also its regulator.
Under the Broadcasting Act 2009, RTÉ's governance arrangements have changed. The statutory corporation form has been retained, however the new Act no longer refers to the board of RTÉ as an "Authority" and it is now simply known as the Board. Of the new 12 member Board replacing the RTÉ Authority: the Minister will appoint 6 members, the Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources will decide on 4 names to present to the Minister for appointment, 1 member will be elected by the staff of RTÉ and the Director-General will sit on the Board in an ex-officio capacity. The current RTÉ Authority members have been reappointed to the new Board in the interim. The provisions of the Act relating to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland were commenced on 1 October 2009(underStatutory Instrument389 of 2009 of the Broadcasting Act 2009), RTÉ will be externally regulated by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.
The RTÉ organisation is divided into six integrated business divisions (termed "IBDs" within RTÉ): RTÉ Television, RTÉ Radio, RTÉ News and Current Affairs, RTÉ Network Limited, RTÉ Publishing and RTÉ Performing Groups) together with Central Shared Services (People Payments, Procurement, Treasury, IT Infrastructure, Audience Research, Freedom of Information, and Property and Site Facilities) and a Group Headquarters. The RTÉ Irish language channel, TG4, was operated as a subsidiary of RTÉ (Serbhisí Telefís na Gaeilge Teoranta) prior to its separation from RTÉ on 1 April 2007.
The RTÉ Board appoints the Director-General of RTÉ who in effect fulfils the dual role of Chief Executive and of Editor in Chief. The Director-General heads the Executive Board of RTÉ, which comprises the company's top management and includes the Chief Financial Officer, the Director of Communications and the Managing Directors of the Television, Radio, and News divisions.
The first voice broadcast of 2RN, the original radio callsign for Radio 1, took place on 14 November 1925 when Seamus Clandillon, the 2RN station director said, 'Seo Raidió 2RN, Baile Átha Cliath ag tástáil', Irish for 'This is Radio 2RN, Dublin calling'. Regular Irish radio-broadcasting began on 1 January 1926. Unfortunately, most Irish people could not receive 2RN's (1.5 kilowatt) signal. When faced with numerous complaints from Cork regarding the writers' inability to tune to the signal, Clandillon remarked in The Irish Radio Review, a magazine dedicated to the service, that they did not know how to operate their sets. 6CK was established in Cork in 1927; much of 6CK's output was simply a relay of the national service but it also had a significant input into the programmes of 2RN until it was closed down in the 1950s.
A high power (initially 60 kW) station was established in Athlone, in 1932, to coincide with the staging of the Eucharistic Congress. 2RN, 6CK and Athlone became known as "Radio Athlone" or, in Irish, "Raidio Áth Luain" and were receivable across virtually the entire country. Radio Athlone became known as "Radio Éireann" in 1938.
Radio Éireann tried to satisfy all tastes on a single channel (with very limited programming hours). However, this resulted in a rather conservative programming policy. It was barely tolerated by most Irish listeners, and usually trounced (particularly on the east coast and along the Northern Ireland border) by the BBC and later Radio Luxembourg. This did not really change until Radio Éireann became free of direct government control in the 1960s.
Now, RTÉ has a nation-wide communications network with an increasing emphasis on regional news-gathering and input. Broadcasting on Radio 1 provides comprehensive coverage of news, current affairs, music, drama and variety features, agriculture, education, religion and sport, mostly in English but also some Irish. RTÉ 2fm is a popular music and chat channel which commenced broadcasting as RTÉ Radio 2 on 31 May 1979, Brendan Balfe being the first voice to be heard on the station at midday, when he introduced the first presenter, Larry Gogan. RTÉ lyric fm serves the interests of classical music and the arts, coming on air in May 1999, and replacing FM3 Classical Music, which had catered for the same target audience and time-shared with RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, an exclusively Irish language service, which first began broadcasting on Easter Sunday, 2 April 1972. Formerly RTÉ operated RTÉ Radio Cork (previously 'Cork 89FM' and 'RTÉ Cork Local Radio'), a local radio service in Cork, but this closed down in the early 2000s.
A slightly adapted version of Radio 1 is broadcast as RTÉ Europe on Sky and Hotbird; the main difference between this and the main FM feed is the inclusion of several programmes taken from RTÉ Radio na Gaeltachta.
DAB test broadcasts of RTÉ's four stations began on 1 January 2006, along the east coast of Ireland, also carrying the private Today FM and World Radio Network, to which RTÉ is a contributing broadcaster. DAB was launched to the public in late 2006, and now contains eight RTÉ digital-only stations - RTÉ 2XM, RTÉ Chill, RTÉ Choice, RTÉ Digital Radio News, RTÉ Gold, RTÉ Junior, RTÉ Pulse and RTÉ Radio 1 Extra - as well as the four terrestrial services. RTÉ's radio stations are also carried on digital cable and satellite platforms in Ireland, as well as on digital terrestrial television, and RTÉ Radio 1 has been carried on shortwave in DRM during specific events, including the All Ireland finals.
A survey carried out by the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs showed that demand for an Irish language radio station aimed at a younger audience than RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta was high. This means that RTÉ might have plans to launch such a radio station.
In August 2009, faced with falling audience listening figures, a media analyst advised that RTÉ has "alienated some of the audience it ought to be going after" and should "try to be more even-handed in its treatment of the issues of the day instead of pushing every PC cause going."
While Ireland was one of the first countries in Europe to go into radio, it was a relative latecomer to television. The state operated on a shoestring budget for much of the time after its formation in 1922, and the Department of Finance would not approve of anything it deemed to be a 'luxury' that the people could do without; television fell into this category, though this did not mean that television was completely absent, south of Northern Ireland. When the BBC activated its Divis transmitter in July 1955, it was strong enough to be seen in much of Ireland, roughly north of a line from Sligo, running down to Wicklow. Ulster Television, the Northern Ireland contractor for ITV, followed in October 1959; however, the picture quality was considerably lower for viewers in the Republic than it was for those in Northern Ireland.
In the late 1950s, a Television Committee was formed; their goal was to set up an Irish television service with as little financial commitment from Dublin as possible. It initially recommended setting up a service along the lines of ITV, plus five mountain tops as transmission sites, which were also equipped for FM radio transmission. However, since Éamon de Valera was somewhat wary of television, nothing more of consequence was done until Seán Lemass succeeded him as Taoiseach in 1959. A year later, Radio Éireann was converted from an arm of the Department of Posts and Telegraphs into a semi-state body and given responsibility for television. Eamonn Andrews was appointed as the new chairman.
Telefís Éireann began broadcasting at 19:00 on New Year's Eve, 1961. (It was originally supposed to go on the air on Christmas of that year, but Andrews gave the 'Radio Éireann' staff time off for Christmas.) The opening address by President de Valera described the benefits and disadvantages of the new medium; he went on to say that 'Like atomic energy, it can be used for incalculable good, but it can also do irreparable harm.' There were other messages from Cardinal d'Alton and Lemass; following this, a live concert was broadcast from the Gresham Hotel in Dublin. The show, which was a countdown to the New Year, was hosted by Andrews, with appearances by Patrick O'Hagan, the Artane Boys' Band and Michael O'Hehir.
Television opened up a completely new world to the Irish people. Topics which were hitherto not discussed openly and soberly in Ireland, such as abortion, contraception and various other controversial topics, were now being discussed in television studios. The Late Late Show, which began in July 1962 and is still running as of 2010, and its original host, Gay Byrne, pioneered many of these discussions, and has been credited with being a major influence in the changing social structure of Ireland. Children's television was also being pioneered at this time. The ground breaking show Wanderly Wagon inspired a generation with characters like Judge and Mr Crow.
In 1977, a new Fianna Fáil government came to power, and as one of its many promises, the government quickly authorised a second channel to be run by RTÉ. RTÉ 2's remit was to provide alternative television. As a consequence, the original RTÉ 2 schedule had many live relays of British programmes; however, there was also some original RTÉ 2 programming. The new television channel went on the air on 2 November 1978, and the opening night featured a gala variety show from the Cork Opera House.
In 1987, RTÉ 2 was renamed Network 2, with the revamp intended to revive flagging viewership ratings, with many preferring to watch BBC Northern Ireland or UTV, both accessible within much of the Republic. All sports coverage was transferred to the newly renamed channel, along with all children's programmes. The few Irish-language programmes provided by RTÉ were now broadcast on Network 2, although RTÉ One now also broadcasts Irish-language programmes.
Although Irish language programmes, such as news bulletins (Nuacht) and the long-running documentary series Léargas ('insight'), have been an integral part of the schedule, a new Irish-language TV service, Teilifís na Gaeilge (now TG4), began broadcasting in 1996.
RTÉ developed its only major studio complex outside Dublin in Cork. RTÉ Cork, opened in 1995 and became a huge success. It also became a large contributor to network output on both Radio One and RTÉ One.
RTÉ One, RTÉ Two and TG4 are also available in much of Northern Ireland via terrestrial overspill or on cable (coverage and inclusion on cable systems varies). Since 23 April 2002, (18 April 2005 in Northern Ireland) the channels have also been available via satellite on Sky, although these are encrypted and anyone wishing to view the channels needs to obtain a Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland subscription (they are part of the Variety Mix under the new pricing system, or the Family Pack in the pre-2005 system). In addition, some sports programmes are blocked to NI viewers due to rights issues which conflict with the UK.
In January 2007, RTÉ announced plans to launch a channel, with the working title of RTÉ International, which would offer programmes from RTÉ One and Two as well as TG4. It would be initially available in Britain, before expanding into the rest of Europe, North America and Australia. The Irish government, while supporting the initiative by proposing new legislation, stated that no extra funds would be available, leading to a deadlock where RTÉ will not provide the service until extra funds are made available, despite there being a legal requirement for RTÉ to provide such a service.
From the outset, RTÉ had faced competition from British TV channels such as those of the BBC and ITV, broadcasting from Northern Ireland, whose signals spilt over into the Republic. RTÉ's approach was pragmatic, as it introduced cable television in the 1970s, initially known as RTÉ Relays, and subsequently (following mergers with other companies) as Cablelink, although it later sold its stake in the company, to NTL Ireland which has now become UPC. In the 1990s, more competition came from satellite television, especially from Sky based in the UK. British terrestrial TV channels are now commonly available throughout the Republic, but the number of channels received varies depending on the region. Despite this availability RTÉ still manages to achieve over 50% of the total TV audience for all channels.
RTÉ News and Current Affairs, or Nuacht agus Cúrsaí Reatha RTÉ in Irish, is a major division of Raidió Teilifís Éireann responsible for news programming on television, radio and online within Ireland. It is, by far, the largest and most popular news source in Ireland - with 77% of the Irish public regarding it as their main source of both Irish and international news. It broadcasts in both the Irish and English languages, as well as Irish Sign Language.
RTÉ News and Current Affairs provides a range of national and international news and current affairs programming in Ireland. The organisation is also a source of commentary on current affairs. RTÉ News is based at the RTÉ Television Complex at Montrose in Donnybrook, Dublin. However, the station also operates regional bureaux across Ireland and the world.
RTÉ News faces stiff competition from within Ireland and abroad. Within Ireland, TV3 News, provide competition in the television sector, as do BBC Newsline and UTV Live from Northern Ireland. TV3 in September 2009, accused RTÉ of waging a "dirty tricks" war against the commercial station in relation to Liveline calls about Play TV on TV3. The Play TV service was discontinued by TV3 in March 2010 after 29 complaints to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland though TV3 said it was because of a decline in viewership. Independent Network News, Newstalk and Today FM provide alternative news services in the radio sector. As Ireland is a predominantly English-speaking nation, and cable and satellite television penetration is relatively large, international news channels (CNBC Europe, CNN International, EuroNews, France 24, Sky News, etc.) and Britain's BBC News and ITN (ITV News, Channel 4 News) also create competition for viewership with RTÉ in terms of television news coverage of international events.
RTÉ News and Current Affairs produces over 1,000 hours of television programming and 2,000 hours of radio programming a year.
In the 1970s, Sinn Féin the Workers Party, (the political wing of the Official IRA), were said to have progressively infiltrated RTÉ's Current Affairs Department, through the Ned Stapleton Cumman, which was organised by Eoghan Harris.
RTÉ's gaffe in January 2009 over the need for IMF intervention in the Republic was picked up by news wires. Bloomberg noted how German stocks fell sharply, while Reuters reported that the euro dipped by a cent against the dollar before it stabilised following a strong denial.
RTÉ's producers and researchers were accused by journalist Kevin Myers of imposing a liberal agenda, firstly on one another, and later on the airwaves, but without consciously intending to do so. RTÉ News has also been described by him as behaving like a press officer for public sector unions.
RTÉ is a major broadcaster of sports programming in Ireland. Gaelic football, hurling, soccer and rugby are all broadcast live on radio and television and increasingly online. The broadcaster also transmits live golf, boxing, athletics, horse-racing and show-jumping and other minority sports, usually when there is a significant Irish participant(s), or the event is in Ireland. The broadcaster has secured many events, free-to-air which might otherwise become pay-per-view.
The URL 'RTE.ie' is the brand name and home of RTÉ's online activities. The site began publishing on 26 May 1996. It operates on an entirely commercial basis, receiving none of the licence fee which funds much of RTÉ's activity. The site is funded by advertising and section sponsorship. As of 2007, it is among the top 5000 most visited websites globally, by Alexa rankings and among the top 20 sites in Ireland, with certified impressions of almost 40 million per month and more than 1.5 million unique users. The most recent revamp of the website took place on 30 January 2007.
In recent years RTÉ has been expanding its web broadcasting capabilities. With improved access to online material and better methods of delivery there is now a comprehensive range of services online. RTÉ streams all of its radio stations online, including digital, and there is a web only tv channel, RTÉ News Now as well as the availability to watch live programmes, subject to copyright.
On Tuesday, 21 April 2009 RTÉ launched its on-demand service the RTÉ player. The service allows broadband users in the Republic of Ireland to view some of RTÉ's top rated homegrown (i.e. RTE News, The Late Late Show) and international (i.e. Home and Away, Greys Anatomy)TV series for free up to 21 days after its initial broadcast. A cut down version is available outside Ireland.
RTÉ Publishing has four main constituent parts: Print Publishing, E-Publishing (both internet & teletext), Commercial Telecoms & Digital Consumer Technology Incubation. The division publishes the RTÉ Guide and sells DVDs and VHS videos of RTÉ Television programmes, and audio tapes and compact discs of RTÉ radio programmes. It operates all of RTÉ's many websites-branded as RTE.ie, and providing online news, sport, and entertainment services. Live streams of all of RTÉ's national radio networks are available online. In addition RTÉ Publishing operates a teletext service on both RTÉ One and RTÉ Two, called RTÉ Aertel, which has news, sport, and programme support information. Its commercial telecoms business provides both SMS and IVR telecoms services to all of RTÉ's broadcast services and channels.
RTÉ Performing Groups supports two full-time orchestras-the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra-as well as the RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet, RTÉ Philharmonic Choir, and RTÉ Cór na nÓg. These groups perform regularly in the National Concert Hall and The Helix in Dublin. The five groups present over 250 events annually, including live performances and work in education. The RTÉ NSO and the RTÉ CO employ a total of 134 professional musicians. The RTÉ Philharmonic Choir and the children's choir RTÉ Cór na nÓg are for singers at an amateur level. Currently, approximately 200 adults and children are involved in the choirs.
Performing Groups :
RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra
RTÉ Concert Orchestra
RTÉ Philharmonic Choir
RTÉ Cór na nÓg
RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet
RTÉ Network Limited (branded as RTÉNL) is operated through a wholly owned subsidiary company, RTÉ Network Transmission Limited, and provides transmission services for all of RTÉ's own channels and also for competing stations such as TV3 Ireland and Today FM.
Saorview is the proposed name for the free-to-air digital terrestrial television service in the Republic of Ireland. The service will become operational from October 2010. Set-top boxes for this service will be distributed in autumn 2010 By legislation it must be available to approximately 90 per cent of the population by end of October 2010 and nationwide by December 2011.
Saorview, founded by RTÉ NL, is the proposed name for the Irish FTA DTT. It is due to be launched by 31 October 2010 to 90% of the population. The service will be free alt-hough a MPEG-4 DVB-T box and a UHF aerial will be needed. RTÉ NL can provide for commercial DTT capacity on its network for any pay TV service that can agree terms with it and the BAI. However that is likely until 2013 according to the BAI following on from a de-briefing exercise the BAI held with the 3 consortia involved in the 2008 failed license process. The BAI said the Authority now considers that it will not be feasible to introduce commercial DTT as originally intended until after Analogue Switch Off (ASO) at the earliest. The position will be reviewed towards the end of 2011 and the Authority may seek expressions of interest in the provision of commercial DTT at that point. A competition could potentially be held during 2012 with a view to commercial DTT being operational in 2013. It continued it is the considered view of the Authority that as part of the preparation for the successful launch of commercial DTT in the future, legislative change will be necessary to enable the Authority to have formal relationships with the applicants, as obtains at present, and with RTÉNL.
The analogue switch-off in Ireland is scheduled for the end of 2012 which means that the Saorview service must be operational to an equivalent coverage area as analogue terrestrial television as required by the Broadcasting Act 2009.
Saorsat is the proposed name for the free-to-air digital satellite television service in the Republic of Ireland is expected that RTÉ will use a new satellite service to broadcast to homes in more remote areas of the Republic of Ireland with the possibility of broadband provision by June 2011. On July 14, 2010 RTÉ NL outlined detailed plans for the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) infrastructure project and Digital Satellite Television (DST) using Ka narrowband which will see the shut- down of the existing analogue system and launch of a domestic only satellite service for the first time since establishment of RTÉ covering the area not possible due to terrain issues by DTT.
Future of RTÉ:
In 2004, RTÉ and the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources agreed that in future, RTÉ would operate under a Public Service Broadcasting Charter.
On 29 June 2005 the Minister appointed the members of a new RTÉ Authority, replacing the previous one appointed in June 2000. Fintan Drury, chairman of Platinum sports ma-nagement, and also chairman of Paddy Power plc, was appointed chairman of RTÉ. The other members of the Authority are Maria Killian, Patricia King, Ian Malcolm, Patrick Marron, Una Ní Chonaire, Emer Finnan, Stephen O'Byrnes and Joe O'Brien. The new Authority will hold office for not more than three years.
On 11 January 2006, Fintan Drury resigned as chairman of RTÉ, citing a potential conflict of interest in his role as an advisor to the organisers of the Ryder Cup golf tournament and as chairman of a broadcaster involved in a row over broadcasting rights. This occurred after government proposals to add the tournament to the list of sports events which must be broadcast on free-to-air terrestrial television, to which British Sky Broadcasting, the rights holders, were objecting.
On 22 February 2006, Mary Finan was appointed Chairperson of the RTÉ Authority.
In September 2006, the Government published on the internet the proposed text of the Broadcasting Bill 2006. This proposes that RTÉ and TG4 will become separate companies limited by guarantee, with the Minister as sole member of both companies (CLGs do not have shareholders). RTÉ will now be legally obliged to agree a charter every five years and publish a statement of commitments every year, and be under the jurisdiction of the proposed Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. The bill was delayed, but was finally introduced into Dail Éireann on 14 April 2008. The Broadcasting Act 2009 retains RTÉ as a statutory corporation, but renamed the RTÉ Authority as the RTÉ Board and made changes to the way it is appointed. It also renamed the corporation Raidió Teilifís Éireann. with the Irish Times noting that this thereby fixed a "spelling error that lasted 40 years".
In the meantime, during 2007 the Broadcasting (Amendment) Act 2007 was passed by the Oireachtas, awarding RTÉ control of one multiplex for digital terrestrial television and giving it responsibilities in relation to broadcasting outside the state. In line with this, RTÉ and the government were currently in discussions with regard to a new channel proposed for to launch outside the Republic, which initially had the working titles of Diaspora TV, and later RTÉ International.
In April 2007 TG4 became an independent statutory corporation, having previously been a wholly-owned subsidiary of RTÉ since its inception. RTÉ continues to contribute programmes to the channel, including Nuacht TG4.
Since July 2007 RTÉ has been participating in a HD trial in Dublin. It shows programmes such as Planet Earth and Gaelic Athletic Association matches. RTÉ have recently announced it is planning to launch a further two television channels; one general entertainment channel - RTÉ Three (working name) - and a timeshift service for RTÉ One - RTÉ One +1 (working name).
On 24 February 2009 the Minister for Communications, Energy, and Natural Resources, appointed the members of a new RTÉ Authority, replacing the previous one appointed in June 2006.
Tom Savage, Current Chairman of the Communications Clinic was appointed chairman of RTÉ. The other members of the Authority are Patricia Quinn, Karlin Lillington, Fergus Armstrong, Alan Gilsenan, Seán O'Sullivan, Emer Finnan. Cathal Goan, Director General, RTÉ will be an ex-officio member of the Authority.
The new Authority will hold office for not more than 6 months, due to changes planned under the Broadcasting Act 2009 which became law on 12 July 2009, dissolving the authority, and replacing it with an RTÉ Board. Under Section 179 (3) of the Act, any person who was a member of the Authority when the Act was signed into law continues as a member of the Board until the end of their term of office on 24 August.
Unlike the RTÉ Authority, the RTÉ Board will not have the self-regulatory function over RTÉ, as this will be transferred to a newly appointed Broadcasting Authority of Ireland that replaces the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland currently regulating commercial TV and radio. This will help assuage any concerns of the potential for bias that could be perceived under existing self-regulation by having a single regulator of public service and commercial Irish broadasters into the future.
On Monday 29 September 2009 RTÉ revealed a proposal for the regeneration of its existing building which will cost €350 million. If approved, the project would see the gradual replacement over a 10-15 year period of most of the current 1960s and 1970s buildings on the Donnybrook site. The new building would accommodate the switch over to high-definition, additional channels and new studios. RTÉ has since received planning consent from Dublin City Council for an application for the redevelopment of the station's Donnybrook site.The proposal for redevelopment of the site was accepted by local councillors last November 2009.The next stage of the planning process involves all parties having an opportunity to lodge appeals with An Bord Pleanála over the coming four weeks (by May 2010).The proposal would also involve building a new entrance onto the N11 Stillorgan dual carriageway.
On 1 June 2009 the Sunday Independent reported that that RTÉ was on the brink of bankruptcy. Such reports are denied by RTÉ, though the organisation acknowledges how under the current financial structure there is "serious financial difficulty" and a review of its financial procedures is underway and to be completed by 2010. On 11 June 2009 the Director General of RTÉ Cathal Goan reported to the Oireachtas that RTÉ was not bankrupt and that it would break even by year end.
On 3 July 2009, the RTÉ 2008 Annual Report was published. The organisation broke even in 2008.