BBC Radio 4

British domestic radio station

BBC Radio 4 is a domestic UK radio station which broadcasts a wide variety of spoken-word programmes including news, drama, comedy, science and history. It replaced the BBC Home Service in 1967.[2]

BBC Radio 4
City of licenseLondon
Broadcast areaUnited Kingdom United Kingdom - National
FrequencyFM: 92 MHz - 95 MHz
LW: 198 kHz
MW: various
DAB: 12B
Freeview: 704
Tiscali TV: 604
Virgin Media: 904
Sky Digital: 0104
UPC Ireland: 910
Internet: Streaming Audio Real/WM
First air date30 September 1967
Format News & Speech
Audience share12.0%[1] (June 2008)
Owner BBC,
BBC Radio
WebsiteBBC Radio 4


Radio 4 is the second most popular British domestic radio station after Radio 2. It was named "UK Radio Station of the Year" at the 2008 Sony Radio Academy Awards,[3] an award it had also won in 2003[4] and 2004.[5]

Radio 4 costs £71.4 million a year,[6] and is the BBC's most expensive national radio network. Many people think of it as the corporation's flagship. There is currently no commercial network like it in the UK, although there are similar publicly owned stations in such countries as Sweden (Sveriges Radio P1) and Australia (Radio National).

Music and sport are the only subjects that generally fall outside the station's coverage. There are occasional concerts on Radio 4, and ball-by-ball commentaries of most test matches played by England cricket are broadcast on longwave. Because the longwave service can be received clearly at sea around the coasts of Britain and Ireland, Radio 4 also carries regular weather forecasts for shipping and gale warnings.[7] The station has also been designated as the UK's national broadcaster in times of national emergency such as a war, meaning that even if all other radio stations were forced to close, Radio 4 would still carry on broadcasting.

The current controller of Radio 4 is Gwyneth Williams. She is also in charge of its sister station BBC Radio 4 Extra.


  1. "RAJAR listening figures". Archived from the original on 2012-06-01. Retrieved 2008-08-21.
  2. "History of the BBC: 1960s" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-08-13. Retrieved 2008-08-21.
  3. The Sony Radio Academy Awards: Winners 2008
  4. The Sony Radio Academy Awards: Winners 2003
  5. The Sony Radio Academy Awards: Winners 2004
  6. BBC Annual Report and Accounts 2005/2006, page 106
  7. Met Office Shipping Forecast key

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