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United Kingdom (UK) - Radio

The Internet has caused a change in how radio is accessed. Many radio towers have now been converted to 4G wireless towers in order to stream radio via the Internet. There are still radio stations available through mainstream means, but consumers have more choice over how they access radio shows.

The main radio provider for the United Kingdom is the BBC. It was launched in 1922. In 1967 Home, Light and Third (the names of BBC’s radio stations) were changed to Radio 4, Radio 2, and Radio 3. A new national station was added under Radio 1. BBC then added BBC Radio Leicester, and over the next six years added 19 other stations. During this period many pirated stations were also founded.

By 1973 more changes allowed commercial radio stations to open; these are licensed under the Independent Broadcasting Authority. By the late 1980s, more than 69 local stations existed with AM and FM placements. Through the 90s other changes were made by the IBA to provide a range of programming such as Jazz FM and Kiss FM in London. This also opened the door for National Commercial Radio, which started with three licensed stations in 1992.

With digital radio becoming more popular, by 1995 some commercial operators were switching to DAB or digital radio broadcasts. Digital One and eight other stations were launched. The BBC, still a top broadcaster for radio in the United Kingdom, switched to digital versions of local radio and established local commercial multiplexes as well.

DAB Radio Stations

Today, DAB radio stations are still broadcasted over the radio, but they are also available for Internet streaming. Stations include:

Radio Caroline
Jazz FM
Smooth Radio
Play Radio UK
Classic Gold
Galaxy 102.2
Choice FM
Absolute Radio
Capital FM 95.8
Radio Magnetic
BBC Radio 1 and 3
Real Radio
Kiss 100
Radio 5 Live
The Hits
Classic FM

Listeners can search by category; choices include of pop, easy listening, dance, soul, drum and bass, urban, hip-hop, rap, rock, classical, opera, jazz, news, weather, sports, and talk. Most of the stations have their own Internet resources, however through the DAB’s website it is possible to listen to any of the above types of program.

Additionally there is Listen Live, which provides live radio streaming over the Internet, using the main radio stations mentioned above.

More than 150 radio stations are available online as well as via regular listening means. Heart, Jack FM, Isle of Wight Radio, Imagine FM, and CityBeat are examples of local radio stations. Some of the radio stations broadcast by traditional means are regional, such as BBC Radio Solent or Radio Nan Gàidheal.

Popular Stations in Northern Ireland

City Beat
Cool FM
Downtown Radio
Q 97.2 FM
Q 101.9 FM
Q 106/7 FM
Q 107 FM
U 105

Popular Stations in Scotland

Heartland FM
Argyll FM
Radio Borders
Capital Scotland
Central 103.1 FM
Clyde 1
Clyde 2
Cuillin FM
Forth One
Forth 2
Isle FM
Kingdom FM

Popular Stations in Wales

Bridge FM
Capital South Wales
Radio Carmathenshire
Radio Ceredigion
Radio Hafren
Heart Cymru
Heart North West and Wales
Nation Radio
Nation Hits
Radio Pembrokeshire

Expat Radio Stations & Shows

There are also expat radio stations available in the UK. Expats Radio and English Radio Networks offer expat radio information and news for those living in the UK or abroad. One can also search the DAB Internet radio sites for local UK programming to find a number of different topics including some expat-related shows.

A number of these expat stations play music and programs geared towards expats living in the UK, but there are also options available for UK expats in foreign countries. These help English speakers to keep in touch with their favourite British singers, music, and important local topics.

Most of the programs found online are pre-recorded music shows based on specific concepts such as Christmas, 60s, or local independent music. Some shows are over an hour long while others are shorter. Often you will hear some commercials before and during the programs.

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