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The Rīga radio and television station at Zaķusala started to transmit its first broadcasts in 1986. The first documentary evidence suggesting that a new Rīga radio and television station was necessary can be found in the resolution of the Latvian SSR Cabinet of Ministers on 30 July 1967.
At that time it became clear that the old station located in the former Jelgava Theatre in Āgenskalns had reached capacity and could not be expanded any further. The technical justification for the construction of the new tower presented the following aims: to increase the number of television and radio programmes transmitted from two to four; to significantly expand the broadcast area; to improve the quality of television and radio broadcasts; and to provide special communications (of state significance, military, civil protection etc).
The initial plan envisaged the construction of the tower to be completed in a fairly short period of time — by 1985.
In 1984, it was already obvious that construction work would not be completed in the following year. It was then decided that the construction should be divided into two stages: the first to be completed in 1985, and the second stage to be rescheduled so that all construction work could be completed. It was planned that by the end of the first stage, part of the rooms in the building, some of the floors in the tower, some of the antennae would be completed and one transmitter would be set up. In fact, a Tesla transmitter was assembled in an unfinished hall, which began its first experimental transmissions on 28 December 1985 on Channel 28. Although construction works continued, the plan had been carried out.
The transmitter began regular transmission on Channel 28 in January 1986. Construction and assembly works continued until 1989, and, in general, these works took ten years.
Today the original aims of the radio and television station — to increase the number of transmittable television and radio programmes from two to four, to significantly expand the broadcast zones, and to improve the quality of television and radio transmission — have been surpassed several times.
Today five television channels are transmitted from the Rīga radio and television station: Latvian Television 1, Latvian Television 7, Latvian Independent Television (LNT), TV3 and TV5, as well as the DVB-T (experimental); twelve radio stations — Latvian Radio 1, Latvian Radio 2, Latvian Radio 3 (Classical), Latvian Radio 4 (Integration programme), Christian radio, MIX FM, Radio SWH, SWH+. SWH-ROCK, European Hit Radio, Radio Skonto and FIT FM; and electronic communications services are provided to various organisations and State institutions: Rīga City Council, Baltkom TV, Lattelecom, Latvenergo, Telecentrs, Unistars, LMT, VITA, Latnet Service, Optron, CSC Telekom, Telecom Baltija, Microlink Latvija, Telia Latvija, Bite Latvija, Tele 2, Baltcom Fiber etc.
The technical structure of the tower has been designed for 250 years. Present technology is developing towards miniaturisation, so the technical possibilities of the tower are still evolving. The possibilities of digital TV increase the tower’s resources even more, for one television channel will be able to broadcast a number of programmes, which will increase the capacity of the tower at least fourfold.