What is Radio
Radio broadcasting is a one-way
wireless transmission over radio waves
used to reach a wide audience. Stations
can be linked in radio networks to
broadcast a common radio
format, either in broadcast syndication
or simulcast or both. Audio
broadcasting also can be done via cable
radio, local wire television
networks, satellite radio, and internet
radio via streaming media on the
Radio is very popular in the
UK with around 600 licenced
radio stations in the country.
There are three types of
radio broadcasting which
are: public service
broadcasting and community
How big is the
The BBC is a statutory corporation and mass media
industry that serves worldwide on television, online and
radio. Its revenue consists of around five billion pounds
(2011/12) and currently has 23,000 employees
(2011/2012). The BBC is publicly owned by The Crown
which is a corporation sole (a legal entity).
BBC Audio & Music is a part of the
British Broadcasting Corporation. The
service provides national radio stations
covering the majority of musical genre
and also local radio stations.
Of the national radio stations, BBC
Radio 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 Live are all
available through analogue radio as well
as on DAB Digital Radio and internet
services through RealMedia, WMA and
BBC iPlayer. The remaining
stations, BBC Radio 1Xtra, 4 Extra, 5
Live Sports Extra and 6 Music, are all
broadcasted on digital platforms only.
National BBC Radio Stations
The BBC today runs eleven national radio stations, six of which are only
available in a digital format: via DAB Digital Radio, UK digital television and
on the Internet.
BBC Radio 1: is youth oriented, mostly contemporary pop and rock music
(including Top 40 singles), plus news, original in-house live music sessions,
original live music concerts and music documentaries.
BBC Radio 2: is more adult oriented entertainment, wide range of music
specially adult contemporary and middle of the road, talk, comedy, plus
news, original in-house live music sessions, original live music concerts and
music documentaries. Available on 88-91 FM and on digital platforms.
BBC Radio 3: arts and high culture, special-interest music (classical, jazz,
world music), plus news, original in-house live music sessions, original live
music concerts and music documentaries. Available on 90-93 FM and
BBC Radio 4: news, current affairs, arts, history, original in-house drama,
original in-house first-run comedy, science, books and religion. The service
closes down and simulcasts the BBC World Service during this time.
Available between 92-95 and 103-105 FM, 198 LW, various medium wave
frequencies and on digital platforms.
BBC Radio 5 Live: news, sports and talk programmes available on
909/693 MW and digital frequencies.
Digital Stations Only
Platforms: Internet Streaming/Sky/freesat/Freeview/DAB) radio stations are:
BBC Radio 1Xtra:
new urban music, plus news, original in-house live music sessions, original live music concerts and music
BBC Radio 4 Extra:
classic comedy, drama, books, science fiction, fantasy and children's programmes.
BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra:
a companion to Radio 5 Live for additional sports events coverage.
BBC Radio 6 Music:
an eclectic mix of alternative genres including rock, funk, punk and reggae, plus news, original in-house
live music sessions, original live music concerts and music documentaries.
BBC Asian Network:
aimed at the large South Asian community in the UK.
The BBC also runs radio stations for the three "national regions".
These stations focus on local issues.
BBC Radio Scotland: News, music, sport and talk from Scotland
BBC Radio nan Gàidheal: Scottish Gaelic language network
BBC Radio Shetland: News, music, sport and talk from Shetland
BBC Radio Orkney: News, music, sport and talk from Orkney
BBC Radio Wales: News, music, sport and talk from Wales
BBC Radio Cymru: Welsh language network
BBC Radio Ulster: News, music, sport and talk from Northern
BBC Radio Foyle: News, music, sport and talk from north-west
of Northern Ireland
BBC World Service
The BBC World Service is the world's largest international
broadcaster, broadcasting news, speech and discussions in 28
languages to many parts of the world on analogue and digital
shortwave platforms, internet streaming, podcasting, satellite, FM
and MW relays.
The World Service was reported to have reached 188 million
people a week on average in June 2009. It does not carry
advertising, and the English language service broadcasts 24
hours a day.
The World Service is currently funded by grant-in-aid through the
Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the British Government,
however from 2014, it will be funded by the compulsory
television license fee levied on every household in the United
Kingdom using a television to watch broadcast programmes.
The License Fee
The licence fee is used almost entirely to fund the BBC's
domestic radio, television and internet services. The
money received from the fees represents around 75% of
the cost of these services with most of the remainder
coming from the profits of BBC Worldwide.
Advantages of License Fee
As the BBC does not have to rely on
advertisers to fund it, it can produce more
speciality and minority programming.
On commercial stations these sorts of
programmes might not get enough listeners
so advertisers would not want to give the
What else does the BBC own
In addition to broadcasting output on television and radio,
some programmes are also displayed on the BBC Big
Screens located in several central city locations. The BBC
and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office also jointly run
BBC Monitoring, which monitors radio, television, the press
and the internet worldwide.
What is commercial radio?
Commercial broadcasting is the broadcasting of television
and radio programmes by privately-owned corporate media,
as opposed to state ownership.
Commercial broadcasting is primarily based on the practice
of airing radio advertisements and television
advertisements for profit. This is in contrast to public
broadcasting, which receives government subsidies and
avoid most paid advertising.
National commercial radio stations
Most commercial stations serve a local or regional area
and are owned by one of three big groups which dominate
the sector. There are over 300 in the UK, mostly using FM
frequencies and DAB.
There are three national commercial stations broadcasting on
FM or AM throughout the UK as well as via DAB, DTV and
Classic FM (100-103 FM) - classical music
Absolute Radio (AM mostly 1215 medium wave) - rock and
talkSPORT(AM mostly 1089/1053 medium wave) - live sport
Local commercial radio stations
The most popular local commercial stations in London are:
Commercial radio stations make most of
their revenue selling "airtime" to
advertisers. Radio accounts for 6.9%.
Radio advertisements or "spots" are
available when a business or service
provides valuable consideration, usually
cash, in exchange for the station airing
their spot or mentioning them on air.