RTÉ has commenced a new partnership with Athlone Institute of Technology by opening their new regional TV and radio studio on the college campus this week.
RTÉ’s new Midlands Regional Studio was officially opened on Monday by Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan. The studio was previously located in St Mary’s Square, Athlone.
RTÉ’s staff in the region, who include Midlands correspondent Ciaran Mullooly and production co-ordinators Paula Murray and Anne Brennan, will work from the new premises which has the capability to provide live TV and radio studio links and editing facilities. The studio will be a base for coverage from across Westmeath, Longford, Offaly, Laois, Kildare, and Roscommon.
Speaking at the opening, Minister Flanagan said RTÉ had played a pivotal role in ensuring the Midlands is given appropriate attention in its national broadcasts.
“I would like to commend the RTÉ team in the Midlands for the diversity of their coverage which includes ‘hard news’ stories, investigative journalism, and human interest stories which hold a mirror up to the community - these are all very important elements of public service broadcasting.”
The move will also be of benefit to students in areas such as sport, business, music, and digital marketing, according to deputy director general, RTÉ, Kevin Bakhurst.
“We are delighted to be partnering with Athlone Institute of Technology and look forward to a productive relationship with a shared aim of serving the community. Educational partnerships like this are central to link RTÉ to a future generation of media industry leaders and it’s heartening to learn of the positive feedback and success of the lectures given by RTÉ staff to date.”
President of AIT Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin said the launch represented a new partnership between two organisations whose role it is to serve the community.
“This new partnership with RTÉ adds a rich dimension to our educational offering and enhances the experience of our students. Our ambition is to create a learning environment where they engage with ideas, become creative thinkers, and problem-solvers,” he said.
Deputies James Bannon, Gabrielle McFadden, Denis Naughten; Senator Terry Leyden; Mayor of Athlone Cllr Frankie Keena; cathaoirleach of Offaly County Council Sinead Dooley, and a number of other guests were in attendance at the launch.
Deputy McFadden said the collaboration was a clear endorsement of the national broadcaster’s commitment to its news and programming output in the Midlands.
“The relocation of the Midlands studio from its former offices at St Mary’s Square to a state-of-the-art facility in AIT is a big vote of confidence by RTÉ in Athlone and the wider Midlands region. I also want to compliment Ciarán Ó Catháin and all those at the college who have ensured this partnership has taken place, which will allow a mutual sharing of knowledge and facilities,” she said.