RTÉ turns digital switchover from damp squib to a new dawnOctober 30, 2012 - 8:00am
It was a wonder that RTÉ didn’t petition the Government to hold a State funeral for the analogue television signal, such was the completely over-the-top coverage of the switchover to digital.
Of course it was also a chance to deflect from the massive cost-cutting operation currently underway across the station, because if there’s an actual plan to that, they must have thrown it out with the rest of the dusty files.
It must be acknowledged that all media get a small slice of the cake when it came to advertising the digital switch-over, and the television shops experienced their version of the food queues that used to line-up outside Soviet supermarkets.
One shop owner said it was as good as three Christmases – and now the actual Christmas is coming up with new iPads and tablets to flog. So someone is doing alright again.
Now we have new channels like RTE+1, for those who miss it the first time; or RTÉ News Now which shows the news interminably and will shortly devote two hours of the morning to a new marathon news bulletin that can be watched by those with nothing to do while those who are stuck at work trying to make ends meet will miss the craic, because they are trying to raise the cash pay their television licence fee for programmes they will never see.
However, last week was about history in the making – at least according to RTÉ – because its own coverage of the Saorview switchover was so cringingly over the top; live coverage of this ‘momentous’ event for those with the saddest of dull lives at 10 o’clock of a Wednesday morning.
The irony is that the few people in Ireland who hadn’t been subjected to the barrage of coverage over the last couple of months – and therefore hadn’t, horror of horrors, completed the switchover – were the only ones who couldn’t see what was going on.
The station rolled out its heavyweights for the occasion – Dobbo in studio; Miriam was in the bowels of the station to perform the actual switch-off; and Mary Kennedy hosting the dignitaries – both of them – in another studio somewhere down the corridor.
There was a countdown the likes of which we hadn’t experienced, since man landed on the moon, as Dobbo hyped it up into a seismic event.
For more, read this week's Connacht Sentinel.