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. How can RTE call its self the National / State Broadcaster if it does not have a working and a genuine regional presence.
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 demunition of this service there is a real danger that the guillotine could fall on Athlone.
Athlone is one of 4 regional stations, a number of scenarios seem to be on the cards including the closure of the studios with staff relocating to Dublin or the retention of the correspondent but without the studio. The current spend on the Regional service is between €20 & €25 mil. this is bound to be cut.
A decentralisation of RTE's regional presence will bring into question the stations' commitment to delivering the required level of service as a National Broadcaster