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France - Radio

There are many different national and regional radio stations in France, although very few of them broadcast in English. The main radio station is Radio France, which broadcasts both in analogue format audio and online. France Radio is divided into several different specialised types of programmes and these are broadcast via three channels. The first of these is France Inter, which is broadcast 24 hours a day and offers a range of general entertainment programmes. France Inter is then subdivided into two other types of programming, those for adults and others for young people. Another Radio France channel is France-Culture, which broadcasts a wide variety of arts and science programmes, similar to Radio Four in the UK. The final Radio France section is France-Musique, which is a quality music channel.

French radio also offers several thousand drama and literature broadcasts so you can catch up on a play or short story. There are broadcasts which are designed specifically for schools and teachers. French radio stations can be the best way to keep up with the news as there are regular news broadcasts on all stations as well as weather updates and travel news.

In addition to France Radio there are many other stations to choose from and no matter what your tastes there will be something to suit you. Campus Paris is aimed mainly at university students in the city and broadcasts a range of music and information programmes. Cherie FM plays older music, from the 50s onwards. If you prefer not to listen to a music station you can opt for Europe 1, which is a dedicated news station which broadcasts around the clock. Younger people may prefer to listen to Fun Radio, which is dedicated to modern techno, rap and dance music. Nostalgie is another station which prefers to broadcast older music and there is also a classical radio station known as Radio Classique.

There are some regional stations which are very popular too. RMC is the Monaco based station which offers a variety of music programmes. RTL is a Luxembourg station which is easily picked up in many parts of France. Paris has several stations in addition to the student station and one of these is Paris Jazz, which is dedicated to Jazz music. In total there are now more than 450 stations broadcasting in France, many of which have developed since the early 1980s when radio stations could be privatised and were no longer overseen by the government.

There are not many English language broadcasts by radio stations in France but Radio France Internationale does broadcast for several hours at a time in English. These are mainly very early in the morning, so the majority of people could miss these programmes. In addition to English, this international channel also offers broadcasts in other languages too. Riviera Radio is based in Monaco and broadcasts in English. The station is based in Monaco in order to avoid the regulations set down by the French government which would prevent the French station broadcasting all its programmes in English. Those who are unable to receive the station on a standard radio set can listen to the station via online streaming.

In addition to these stations residents in France can receive the BBC World Service via digital radio and satellite. A number of BBC radio stations can also be received via satellite services or online streaming, although some people living in the very north of France may be able to pick up these stations via the standard analogue FM service. Shortwave radio gives access to ‘Voice of America’ which is an English language broadcast service with a range of news programmes and music.

Digital radio is just becoming popular in France and the BBC is using this format to broadcast English language programmes. The format is DRM Digital Shortwave Radio and it is available throughout mainland Europe. The sound quality on this type of broadcast is much better than simply attempting to pick up an FM broadcast from the UK. The only downside to this type of radio is that the receivers required will cost in the region of €200+, which might put it out of reach for some people until popularity of the system brings down the price.

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