There are two types of radio network currently in use around the world: the one-to-many (simplex communication) broadcast network commonly used for public information and mass-media entertainment, and the two-way radio (duplex communication) type used more commonly for public safety and public services such as police, fire, taxicabs, and delivery services. Cell phones are able to send and receive simultaneously by using two different frequencies at the same time. Many of the same components and much of the same basic technology applies to all three.
The two-way type of radio network shares many of the same technologies and components as the broadcast-type radio network but is generally set up with fixed broadcast points (transmitters) with co-located receivers and mobile receivers/transmitters or transceivers. In this way both the fixed and mobile radio units can communicate with each other over broad geographic regions ranging in size from small single cities to entire states/provinces or countries. There are many ways in which multiple fixed transmit/receive sites can be interconnected to achieve the range of coverage required by the jurisdiction or authority implementing the system: conventional wireless links in numerous frequency bands, fibre-optic links, or microwave links. In all of these cases the signals are typically backhauled to a central switch of some type where the radio message is processed and resent (repeated) to all transmitter sites where it is required to be heard.
In contemporary two-way radio systems a concept called trunking is commonly used to achieve better efficiency of radio spectrum use and provide very wide-ranging coverage with no switching of channels required by the mobile radio user as it roams throughout the system coverage. Trunking of two-way radio is identical to the concept used for cellular phone systems where each fixed and mobile radio is specifically identified to the system controller and its operation is switched by the controller.
The broadcast type of radio network is a network system which distributes programming to multiple stations simultaneously, or slightly delayed, for the purpose of extending total coverage beyond the limits of a single broadcast signal. The resulting expanded audience for radio programming or information essentially applies the benefits of mass-production to the broadcasting enterprise. A radio network has two sales departments, one to package and sell programs to radio stations, and one to sell the audience of those programs to advertisers.
Most radio networks also produce much of their programming. Originally, radio networks owned some or all of the stations that broadcast the network's radio format programming. Presently however, there are many networks that do not own any stations and only produce and/or distribute programming. Similarly station ownership does not always indicate network affiliation. A company might own stations in several different markets and purchase programming from a variety of networks.
Radio networks rose rapidly with the growth of regular broadcasting of radio to home listeners in the 1920s. This growth took various paths in different places. In Britain the BBC was developed with public funding, in the form of a broadcast receiver license, and a broadcasting monopoly in its early decades. In contrast, in the United States various competing commercial broadcasting networks arose funded by advertising revenue. In that instance, the same corporation that owned or operated the network often manufactured and marketed the listener's radio.
Major technical challenges to be overcome when distributing programs over long distances are maintaining signal quality and managing the number of switching/relay points in the signal chain. Early on, programs were sent to remote stations (either owned or affiliated) by various methods, including leased telephone lines, pre-recorded gramophone records and audio tape. The world's first all-radio, non-wireline network was claimed to be the Rural Radio Network, a group of six upstate New York FM stations that began operation in June 1948. Terrestrial microwave relay, a technology later introduced to link stations, has been largely supplanted by coaxial cable, fiber, and satellite, which usually offer superior cost-benefit ratios.
Many early radio networks evolved into Television networks.
Almost all radio stations in New Zealand are part of a radio network, and most are network-owned.
Digital audio broadcasting (DAB) is a digital radio standard for broadcasting digital audio radio services in many countries around the world, defined and promoted by the WorldDAB forum. The standard is dominant in Europe and is also used in parts of Africa, Asia and Australia; other worldwide terrestrial digital radio standards include HD Radio, ISDB-Tb, DRM, and the related DMB.
BBC Radio 4 is a British national radio station owned and operated by the BBC. It broadcasts a wide variety of spoken-word programmes including news, drama, comedy, science and history from the BBC's headquarters at Broadcasting House, London. It replaced the BBC Home Service in 1967. The station controller is Mohit Bakaya.
BBC Radio is an operational business division and service of the British Broadcasting Corporation. The service provides national radio stations covering the majority of musical genres, as well as local radio stations covering local news, affairs and interests. It also oversees online audio content.
Radio broadcasting is transmission of audio (sound), sometimes with related metadata, by radio waves intended to reach a wide audience. In terrestrial radio broadcasting the radio waves are broadcast by a land-based radio station, while in satellite radio the radio waves are broadcast by a satellite in Earth orbit. To receive the content the listener must have a broadcast radio receiver (radio). Stations are often affiliated with a radio network which provides content in a common radio format, either in broadcast syndication or simulcast or both. Radio stations broadcast with several different types of modulation: AM radio stations transmit in AM, FM radio stations transmit in FM, which are older analog audio standards, while newer digital radio stations transmit in several digital audio standards: DAB, HD radio, DRM. Television broadcasting is a separate service which also uses radio frequencies to broadcast television (video) signals.
Public broadcasting involves radio, television and other electronic media outlets whose primary mission is public service. In many countries of the world, funding comes from governments, especially via annual fees charged on receivers.
Digital radio is the use of digital technology to transmit or receive across the radio spectrum. Digital transmission by radio waves includes digital broadcasting, and especially digital audio radio services.
Radio New Zealand, commonly known as Radio NZ or simply RNZ, is a New Zealand public-service radio broadcaster and Crown entity that was established under the Radio New Zealand Act 1995. It operates a news and current-affairs network, RNZ National, and a classical-music and jazz network, RNZ Concert, with full government funding from NZ on Air. Since 2014, the organisation's focus has been to transform RNZ from a radio broadcaster to a multimedia outlet, increasing its production of digital content in audio, video, and written forms.
RTÉ Radio 1 is an Irish national radio station owned and operated by RTÉ and is the direct descendant of Dublin radio station 2RN, which began broadcasting on a regular basis on 1 January 1926. The station is a rare modern example of a mixed radio channel, offering a wide spectrum of programming which is mainly speech-based but also includes a fair amount of music.
BBC Radio Nottinghamshire is the BBC's local radio station serving the county of Nottinghamshire.
Radio broadcasting began in New Zealand in 1922, and is now dominated by almost thirty radio networks and station groups. The Government has dominated broadcasting since 1925, but through privatisation and deregulation has allowed commercial talk and music stations to reach large audiences. New Zealand also has several radio stations serving Māori tribes, Pacific Island communities, ethnic minorities, evangelical Christians and special interests.
BBC Radio Wales is a Welsh national radio station operated by BBC Cymru Wales, a division of the BBC.
Religious broadcasting is the dissemination of television and/or radio content that intentionally has religious ideas, religious experience, or religious practice as its core focus. In some countries, religious broadcasting developed primarily within the context of public service provision, whilst in others, it has been driven more by religious organisations themselves. Across Europe and in the US and Canada, religious broadcasting began in the earliest days of radio, usually with the transmission of religious worship, preaching or "talks". Over time, formats evolved to include a broad range of styles and approaches, including radio and television drama, documentary, and chat show formats, as well as more traditional devotional content. Today, many religious organizations record sermons and lectures, and have moved into distributing content on their own web-based IP channels.
Digital Radio in the Republic of Ireland is broadcast on a number of digital terrestrial, cable and internet platforms. Until the 31 March 2021, official broadcasts of the digital audio broadcasting standard were also available in the state by Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ) of their full banquet of radio services. DAB broadcasts since April 2021 are now restricted to unlicensed, low powered multiplexes in a small number of locations.
Rhema Media is a Christian media organisation in New Zealand. It owns radio networks Rhema, Life FM and Star, and television station Shine TV. It also publishes Bob Gass's quarterly devotional publication The Word For Today, and a youth version called The Word For You Today. Rhema Media is based in Newton, Auckland and is the founding organisation of United Christian Broadcasters (UCB).
United Christian Broadcasters (UCB) is an international Christian broadcasting and media group, founded by Rhema Media. Through affiliates in twenty five countries, it operates radio and television stations and publishes and broadcasts Bob Gass's free daily devotionals The Word for You Today and Word For You
In the United Kingdom, the roll-out of digital radio has been proceeding since engineering test transmissions were started by the BBC in 1990 followed by a public launch in September 1995. The UK currently has one of the world's biggest digital radio networks, with about 500 transmitters, three national DAB ensembles and 48 local and regional DAB ensembles broadcasting over 250 commercial and 34 BBC radio stations across the UK. In London there are already more than 100 different digital stations available. In addition to DAB and DAB+, radio stations are also broadcast on digital television platform as well as internet radio in the UK. Digital radio ensemble operators and stations need a broadcasting licence from the UK's media regulator Ofcom to broadcast.
The radio technology known as Digital Audio Broadcasting, and its TV sibling, Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (DMB), is being operated in several regions worldwide, either in the form of full services, or as feasibility studies.
RTÉ Radio is a division of the Irish national broadcasting organisation Raidió Teilifís Éireann. RTÉ Radio broadcasts four analogue channels and five digital channels nationwide.