- Radio in the United Kingdom
There are over 250
radiostations in the United Kingdom. For a more comprehensive list see List of radio stations in the United Kingdom.
The most prominent stations are the national networks operated by the
BBC Radio 1broadcasts mostly current pop music output on FM and digital radio, with live music throughout the year
BBC Radio 2is the UK's most listened-to radio station, featuring presenters Terry Woganand Jonathan Ross, and playing popular music from the last 5 decades as well as special interest programmes in the evening
BBC Radio 3is a classical music station, broadcasting high-quality concerts and performances. At night, it transmits a wide range of jazzand world music
BBC Radio 4is 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 Today
BBC Radio 5 Livebroadcasts live news and sports commentary with phone-in debates and studio guests
The introduction of digital radio technology led to the launch of several new BBC stations:
BBC 6 Musictransmits predominantly alternative rock, with many live sessions.
BBC 1Xtrabroadcasts rap, RnBand drum'n'bass
BBC Radio 7uses the BBC's large archive of speech programming to broadcast classic comedy and drama, mainly originally from Radio 4
BBC Asian Network- aimed at the large South Asian community in the UK (also available on AM in some areas)
BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra- a companion to Five Live for additional events coverage
The BBC also provide 40 local radio services, mainly broadcasting a mix of local news and music aimed at an older audience.
Also available nationally are three national commercial channels, namely
Virgin Radio, Classic FM and talkSPORT. As with the BBC, digital radio has brought about many changes, including the roll-out of local stations such as Xfm, Kiss 100 and Kerrang Radio. Commercial radiolicences are awarded by government body Ofcom, which advertises a licence for a specific 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 stations is
GCap Mediawith over 40 local commercial stations. It also owns Classic FM and London's most popular commercial station, Capital FM. Other owners are Bauer Radio, holding mainly large city stations in the North of England and Global Radio, owner of the major Heart (radio network)and Galaxy brands as well as the London FM and national DAB speech brand LBC.
Many of these stations, including all the BBC stations, are also available via
Community radiostations broadcast to a small area, normally within a 3 mile (5 km) radius, and are mostly not-for-profitorganisations, owned by local people, on which the broadcasters are volunteers. They are recognised under the Communications Act 2003as a distinct third tier of radio in the UK. The community radio movement in the UK was founded in the mid-1970s, broadcasting through Restricted Service Licences, the internetand cable.
An Access Radio pilot scheme gave fifteen stations, including
Resonance FMand ALL FM, full time licences, and this has blossomed into a lively sector, directed by the Community Media Association.
The broadcasters are predominantly based around an easily defined racial community such as Asian Star FM in Slough, or a geographically defined community such as Speysound Radio.
Digital radio in the United Kingdom
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