In light of major cost cutting measures being implemented at RTE, that this Council would write to the Director General of RTE, Mr Noel Curran and the Chairman Mr Tom Savage, emphatically opposing any plan they or their board might have to withdraw the RTE Midland Regional Studio from its base here in Athlone.
Given the recent soundings coming from RTE and their obvious need to cut costs a clear threat exists to our regional studio here in Athlone. Athlone is one of 4 regional stations, and having done some research on this through the general media, RTE seem to have their hearts set on one of two choices.
One is the closure of the studios with staff relocating to Dublin, or the retention of the correspondent but with out the studio – so it looks fairly ominous if the reports in the media are to be believed.
How can RTE call its self the National / State Broadcaster if it does not have a working and a genuine regional presence. This is what we pay our license fee for so we can have fair balanced representation right across the country – a Dublin based view of the country will not come close to having a presence on the ground.
To loose our regional studio would be a blow to the midlands region, without it future reporting would be done in an ad-hoc way probably over a phone with a picture of the 'roving' correspondent on the screen.
We would loose the iconic backdrop image of Athlone in the studio, we would only receive half hearted – low budget coverage of the region and that must be resisted at all costs.
Given our geographical location Athlone is ideally suited to accommodate a regional base for our State Broadcaster but unless we put forward our objections to any diminution of this service there is a real danger that the guillotine could fall on Athlone.
A centralisation of RTE's regional presence will bring into question the stations' commitment to delivering the level of service required of our National Broadcaster.