One of the quintessential British customs is listening to the radio. There are many radio stations that can be enjoyed from anywhere in the UK 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, short for British Broadcasting Corporation, is a public radio station throughout the UK. Its headquarters are in London, In the call Broadcasting House, whose location is at Portland Place and Langham Place. In the following subsections we show you a brief history about it and what its main stations are.



Brief history

Across the UK, listening to the radio is a tradition dating back to the XNUMXth century, when the first radios or wireless (short form of wireless telegraphy), the name given to them at the time, began to settle little by little in the homes of the English upper class. Since 1922, the company par excellence in charge of 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 various styles and artistic movements of the XNUMXth century are conjugated, especially cubism, futurism and rationalism.

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

From 1926 until well into the 1940s, various conflicts arose between the BBC and other media outlets for the arts such as theaters, concert halls, and the recording industry, as many artists began to see their audience shrink in favor. Of the radio.

Today, the BBC has had to deal with the global financial crisis like many other entities. Thus, in 2011 it was forced to reduce its budget by 20%. As a consequence, radio programs like bbc-hd they were canceled. Therefore, there are currently websites such as SaveBBC3 y 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 across the UK, more than forty in England and up to six local stations spread across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Throughout the UK

At the national level, 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 and news documentaries. Aimed at a mostly young audience.
  • BBC Radio 2: AC type music (adult contemporaryi.e. contemporary pop, soul and R&B), as well as news and comedy shows. It is aimed at 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 of the popular singer Ed Sheeran covering the song Take me to church de Hozier, Irish singer-songwriter:

If you want to listen to any of these stations live from your country of origin, 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, BBC Local Radio has a total of 40 stations. The following is a list of the most popular by area:

  • 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 ...
  • Zona sur: 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 UK. Thus, the most important radio stations by nation are listed below:

  • Scotland: on the one hand, BBC Radio Scotland and, on the other, BBC Radio nan Gaidheal. The latter is broadcast in the Scottish Gaelic language.
  • Wales: 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.

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 practically all the socio-cultural areas of the country are touched, from humor to drama and much more.

The following table shows the top 10 most listened to stations in the UK together with their total number of weekly listeners today and their frequency using London as a benchmark:

StationListeners / week (millions)Frequency
1. BBC Radio 215FM 89.1
2. BBC Radio 410,5FM 93.5
3. BBC Radio 110,4FM 98.8
4. HeartRadio9FM 106.2
5. Capital FM7FM 95.8
6. BBC Radio 5 Live5,3FM 909
7.Classic FM5,3FM 100.9
8. KISS5,2FM 100.0
9.Smooth4,6FM 102.2
10.talkSPORT31089 AM

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

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