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Switzerland - Radio

Swiss digital radio is the responsibility of SRG SSR. You will need a DAB radio for digital reception in your home or car. There is regional variation in the stations you can receive. See the SRG SSR website for a full station listing by region. The major Swiss radio provider is DRS, offering a variety of German language news, cultural and music programmes across nine stations. The principal French-speaking station is RSR première. Tune in to RSI Rete stations for Italian language programming. Radio Rumantsch caters for the Romansch speakers. There are, however, a whole number of other stations to explore.

If you are looking for a station in English, tune your radio to World Radio Switzerland which is the country's only English-language station and offers a range of programmes. Topics covered include business, sports, motoring, the arts and entertainment, food, and health.

Note, in Switzerland you need a radio licence. This is required by law, and is available from Billag. You will be obliged to pay for a licence if you have any equipment capable of receiving a radio signal, whether or not you listen to it. This includes alarm clock radios and even your car radio. If you do not have any equipment capable of receiving a TV signal you can buy a radio-only licence. This will cost you CHF 169.15 annually at the current rates. You can choose to pay quarterly but this will incur a CHF 2 surcharge per bill. As most people will be in possession of either a TV set or a computer deemed capable of accessing TV programming, it is more usual to buy a licence that includes both television and radio. This will cost CHF 462.40 a year or CHF 115.60 annually. Check the Billag website for up to date prices as these may have risen since writing.

You should be proactive in letting Billag know that you have equipment capable of receiving radio stations, otherwise you may be fined by OFCOM (G: BAKOM), the department responsible for communications in Switzerland. Do not assume that because you are paying for the licence your radio equipment is registered. Note that your internet connection is included in the definition of radio receiving equipment, as are smart phones.

In short, few expats will legally be able to do without the radio and television licence while in Switzerland.

Useful Resources

Radio equipment licensing
Billag SA, Contact Center, Case postale, CH 1701 Fribourg
Tel: +41 (0)844 834 834
Email: info@billag.com

World Radio Switzerland
Tel: +41 (0)58 236 74 44
Email: management@worldradio.ch

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