Private radios have only been authorized in France since 1982. As with television, the number of private radios increased dramatically since then. France’s main nationwide radio stations are: RTL (8.4 million listeners), France-Inter (a public radio in the same form as NPR), Europe 1 (4.8 million) and Radio Monte-Carlo (0.9 million), all of whom are both on AM and FM.
There are also national FM music stations such as Europe 2, NRJ, Nostalgie, Fun Radio, Skyrock, some 30 private regional stations including Sud-Radio, Radio-Service, Radio 1, Alouette FM and RVS, and more than 350 radios run by associations, providing a total of 450 programmes on some 2,650 frequencies.
French people listened to the radio for an average of an hour and 15 minutes each day.
Private stations are mainly financed through advertizing whereas public station are financed by a licensing fee and sometimes by the state (ads on public stations are restricted to public-service ads).
France’s public radio system is grouped under the umbrella of a national radio organization called Radio France which manages a network of 53 radio stations; five are national, 39 are local and nine are the so-called “parallel” stations which broadcast round-the-clock news and public service messages (FIP)). The five national radio stations are France-Inter, France-Culture, France-Musique which broadcasts more than 1,000 concerts each year; Radio Bleue featuring French songs for the over-50 generation; and France Info, the first French and European non-stop news station. Radio France is also responsible for Radio-France Internationale (RFI) (RFI) which is France’s worlwide broadcasting system and RFO (Radio-France Outre-mer) which broadcasts in the overseas departments, territories and localities.