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The radio in the United Kingdom

One of the quintessential British customs is listening to the radio. There are many radio stations that can be enjoyed from anywhere in the United Kingdom and, especially, from London. If you want to know the history of this entity, its main stations and which are the most popular radio stations nationwide, be sure to read.

Below you have an index with all the points that we are going to deal with in this article.

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)

The BBC stands for British Broadcasting Corporation, is a public radio station throughout the United Kingdom. Its headquarters are in London, in the call Broadcasting House, whose location is located in Portland Place and Langham Place. In the following subsections we show you a brief history about it and what its main stations are.

Listening to the radio: a tradition in London

Brief history

Throughout the United Kingdom, listening to the radio is a tradition that dates back to the 19th century, when the first radios or wireless (abbreviated form of wireless telegraphy), name given to them at the time, began to be installed gradually in the homes of the English upper class. Since 1922, the company par excellence responsible for providing radio service to the English population was the BBC.

The first BBC radio broadcast took place on March 15, 1932, although the Broadcasting House It did not open its doors until May 15 of the same year. The building is characterized by its style art deco, in which several styles and artistic movements of the twentieth century are combined, especially cubism, futurism and rationalism.

Broadcasting House, BBC headquarters in London

As we mentioned, the BBC Radio belongs to the state, which means that it is a public entity, as established by royal letter in 1927.

From 1926 until the late 1940s, several conflicts arose between the BBC and other media outlets of the arts such as theaters, concert halls and the record industry, as many artists began to see their audience shrinking in favor. Of the radio.

Currently, the BBC has had to face the global financial crisis like many other entities. Thus, in 2011 he was obliged to reduce his budget by 20%. As a consequence, radio programs such as BBC HD they were canceled. Therefore, there are currently websites such as SaveBBC3 and SaveOurBBC created by its thousands of listeners to help the company overcome this bump.

BBC radio stations

The BBC has a total of ten radio stations throughout the United Kingdom, more than forty in England and up to six local stations spread across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Throughout the UK

Nationally, the BBC provides coverage through a total of 10 stations, five of which broadcast on AM, DAB and FM. These stations are:

  • BBC Radio 1: current pop music and some rock, as well as music documentaries and news. Aimed at a mostly young audience.
  • BBC Radio 2: AC type music (adult contemporary, that is, contemporary pop, soul and R&B), as well as news and humor programs. It is addressed to the adult pubic.
  • BBC Radio 3: jazz and classical music, as well as art, culture and drama.
  • BBC Radio 4: religion, books, science, history, arts, news, etc.
  • BBC Radio 5 Live: sports and news.

To see an example of the content that is usually broadcast on BBC Radio 1, we recommend you take a look at the following video. In it, you can see a performance by the popular singer Ed Sheeran versioning the theme Take Me to Church de Hozier, Irish singer-songwriter:

If you want to listen to any of these stations live from your home country, you can access by clicking on this link. Although the website is in English, it is very easy to move around it, since the different stations are differentiated depending on whether it is Radio 1, 2, 3 …

In England

In addition, in England, the BBC Local Radio has a total of 40 stations. The following is a list of the most popular areas:

  • East Side: BBC Radio Norfolk, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, BBC Essex, BBC Three Counties Radio …
  • Central zone or Midlands: BBC Radio Leicester, BBC Radio Nottingham and BBC Radio Derby.
  • London: BBC London (94.9).
  • Northeast area: BBC Newcastle, BBC Tees …
  • South Zone: BBC Radio Oxford, BBC Radio Solent and BBC Radio Berkshire.
  • Southeast area: BBC Sussex, BBC Surrey and BBC Radio Kent.
  • Southwest area: BBC Radio Cornwall, BBC Radio Devon, BBC Radio Jersey, etc.
  • West zone: BBC Radio Bristol, BBC Somerset, BBC Wiltshire …
  • Yorkshire and Lincolnshire: BBC Radio Leeds, BBC Radio York, BBC Radio Humberside, etc.

In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

The BBC also serves the other three nations that make up the United Kingdom. Thus, the most important radio stations by nation are the ones listed below:

  • Scotland: on the one hand, BBC Radio Scotland and, on the other, BBC Radio nan Gaidheal. The latter is issued in the Scottish Gaelic language.
  • Welsh: BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru, the latter in Welsh.
  • North Ireland: BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Radio Foyle, the language used in the latter being Irish.
BBC Scotland building in Pacific Quay, Glasgow, Scotland

Other important stations

In addition to the BBC, other equally popular radio stations can be heard in England. It is estimated that there are up to 600 radio stations throughout the United Kingdom in which virtually all socio-cultural areas of the country are played, from humor to drama and much more.

The following table shows the top 10 of most listened to stations in the United Kingdom along with their total number of weekly listeners today and their frequency taking London as a benchmark:

StationListeners / week (millions)Frequency
1. BBC Radio 2fifteen89.1 FM
2. BBC Radio 410.593.5 FM
3. BBC Radio 110.498.8 FM
4. Heart Radio9106.2 FM
5. Capital FM795.8 FM
6. BBC Radio 5 Live5.3909 FM
7. Classic FM5.3100.9 FM
8. KISS5.2100.0 FM
9. Smooth4.6102.2 FM
10. talkSPORT31089 AM

Although they are not included in the previous classification, stations such as the ABC Lounge Music Radio, belonging to the group The lounge, in which you can listen, like on BBC Radio 2, type music AC and alternative artists from various parts of the world. Other popular names are Premier Gospel Radio and The Hits Radio. Likewise, the Lusofonia Radio in London, aimed at the Brazilian public, is well known.

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Finally, we have selected the previous and next article of the block "Prepare the trip"so you can continue reading:

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