Radio in the United Kingdom


Radio enjoys a huge following in the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shortha ...

United Kingdom
. There are around 600 licensed
radio Radio is the technology of signaling and telecommunication, communicating using radio waves. Radio waves are electromagnetic waves of frequency between 30 hertz (Hz) and 300 gigahertz (GHz). They are generated by an electronic device ...

stations in the country. For a more comprehensive list see
List of radio stations in the United Kingdom This is a list of radio stations , Sweden , Norway Radio broadcasting is transmission of audio signal, audio (sound), sometimes with related metadata Metadata is " data" that provides information about other data". In other words, it is "d ...

BBC Radio

The most prominent stations are the national networks operated by the BBC. Five of them are available on analogue radio (FM broadcasting, FM and AM broadcasting, AM) whilst the rest are available on BBC Sounds, Digital audio broadcasting, digital radio and smart speakers. * BBC Radio 1 broadcasts mostly current pop and rock music output for a youth audience including live sessions, with specialist genres and programmes in the evening * BBC Radio 1Xtra broadcasts hip hop music, hip hop, Rhythm and blues, RnB and drum and bass, featuring simulcasts on Radio 1 weeknights and Saturday nights * BBC Radio 2 is the UK's most listened-to radio station, playing classic and current music for an older audience, as well as special interest programmes in the evening * BBC Radio 3 is a classical music station, broadcasting high-quality concerts and performances. At night, it transmits a wide range of jazz and world music * BBC Radio 4 is a current affairs and speech station, with news, debate and radio drama. It broadcasts the daily radio soap ''The Archers'', as well as flagship news programme ''The Today Programme, Today'' * BBC Radio 4 Extra broadcasts comedy, drama and shows which extend or supplement popular programmes on its sister station, Radio 4, including ''The Archers'' spin off ''Ambridge Extra'' and archived episodes of ''Desert Island Discs'' * BBC Radio 5 Live broadcasts live news and sports commentary with phone-in debates and studio guests * BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra is a companion to Five Live for additional events coverage * BBC Radio 6 Music transmits predominantly alternative music, with many live sessions * BBC Asian Network is aimed at the large British Asian community, playing music whilst also broadcasting news and current affairs * BBC World Service broadcasts international news and current affairs The BBC also provide 40 Local BBC Radio, local radio services for England and the Channel Islands, as well as stations from BBC Radio Scotland, Scotland, BBC Radio Wales, Wales and BBC Radio Ulster, Northern Ireland.

Commercial radio

Also available nationally are three national commercial channels, namely Absolute Radio, Classic FM (UK), Classic FM and talkSPORT. As with the BBC, digital radio has brought about many changes, including the roll-out of local stations such as Radio X (United Kingdom), Radio X, Kiss (UK radio station), Kiss and Kerrang Radio to other areas of the United Kingdom. Commercial radio licences are awarded by Ofcom, a government body which advertises a licence for an area and holds a so-called ''beauty contest'' to determine which station will be granted permission to broadcast in that area. Stations submit detailed application documents containing their proposed format and the outcome of research to determine the demand for their particular style of broadcast. Original 106 (Aberdeen) was the last radio station to be granted a licence by Ofcom. Most local commercial stations in the United Kingdom broadcast to a city or group of towns within a radius of 20–50 miles, with a second tier of ''regional'' stations covering larger areas such as North West England. The predominant format is pop music, but many other tastes are also catered for, particularly in London and the larger cities, and on digital radio. Rather than operating as independent entities, many local radio stations are owned by large radio groups which broadcast a similar format to many areas. The largest operator of radio is Global Radio which bought the former media group, Gcap Media. It owns Classic FM (UK), Classic FM and the Capital (radio network), Capital radio network. Other owners are Bauer Radio and Wireless Group, which mainly own stations that broadcast in highly populated city areas. Many of these stations, including all the BBC stations, are also available via digital television services.

Community radio

Community radio stations broadcast to a small area, normally within a 3-mile (5 km) radius, and are required by the Act to be not-for-profit organisations, owned by local people, on which the broadcasters are mostly volunteers. They are recognised under the Communications Act 2003 as a distinct third tier of radio in the United Kingdom. The community radio movement in the United Kingdom was founded in the mid-1970s, broadcasting through Restricted Service Licences, the internet and cable television. An Access Radio pilot scheme, launched in 2002, gave fifteen stations, including Resonance FM and ALL FM, trial licences, and this has blossomed into a lively sector, overseen unofficially by the Community Media Association. The broadcasters predominantly serve an easily defined racial community such as Asian Star Radio in Slough, or a geographically defined community such as Coast FM (West Cornwall), Coast FM, Speysound Radio & The Bay Radio. They can also serve religious groups, such as Christian radio station Branch FM in Yorkshire. As well as this, they can also be linked with universities and student unions who run the stations under a community licence, for example Smoke Radio in London, Demon FM in Leicester, and Spark FM in Sunderland.

See also

* British Wireless for the Blind Fund * Digital radio in the United Kingdom * Pirate radio in the United Kingdom *
List of radio stations in the United Kingdom This is a list of radio stations , Sweden , Norway Radio broadcasting is transmission of audio signal, audio (sound), sometimes with related metadata Metadata is " data" that provides information about other data". In other words, it is "d ...
* Timeline of independent radio in the United Kingdom * Independent Local Radio * Independent National Radio * Radio Academy * Broadcasting Act 1990 * Communications Act 2003


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