By Anthony F. Hughes
The television! Where would we be without it? Well, for those of us who live in the R.O.I. the short (if somewhat flippant) answer is that the vast majority of us wouldn’t be living as we are in the here and now. No, rather than existing in the present we would probably be breathing air back in time, as far back as 1955, or before perhaps, because televisions in this country back then were almost as rare as hen’s teeth!
Fast forward to the present, to a time where the telly is seen by all as little more than an ordinary affordable run-of-the-mill home appliance and one that everyone takes for granted. Prior to the advent of T.V. in this country there was of course another ‘box’ residing in quite a lot of people’s homes – one of sound and no vision – the radio.
January first, 1926 was a historic point in time for this country, broadcasting-wise, for on that day Radio 2RN came into being. The state-founded station lived with its original name for 12 years before being re-christened in 1938. State-owned and run by civil servants, Radio Éireann rested in the folds of the Department of Posts and Telegraphs and remained a branch of that particular tree until 1960.
In the summer of that year it went from being a state-body to a semi-state one, acquiring a new ‘gaffer’ in the process. The new Authority was also put in charge of the yet to be born Telefís Éireann. In the early Autumn of 1958 a Bush Radio arrived in my then home and, to be perfectly honest, I didn’t care if Killorglan’s King Puck was in charge of Radio Éireann so long as I got to listen to that year’s All Ireland Football Final broadcast featuring Dublin and Derry. The radio – sport, music and drama – at the touch of a button.