What to Listen to on Bulgarian Radio
Bulgarian Radio – lots of information on this page, with a comprehensive list of Bulgarian stations now broadcasting and also a look at the history from XX century to modern-day
Radio broadcasting is the electronic transmission of radio signals with the intention to reach the public. It is opposed to private signals that are directed to specific receivers. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, broadcasting may be described as the systematic dissemination of entertainment, information, educational programming, and other features for simultaneous reception by a scattered audience with appropriate receiving apparatus.
Exactly according to that definition, Bulgarians have been broadcasting radio programs since the early years of the twentieth century. However, that well-known encyclopedia has not mentioned the two most distinctive features of Radio in Bulgaria: censorship and monopoly.
Fortunately, the times are gone when totalitarian Bulgarian radio stations broadcasted radio programs in English and other languages, customized only to what the regime wanted them to know.
In order to understand the principles ruling the dynamics of radio and other forms of mass media transformations after totalitarianism in Bulgaria, it is necessary to know that the political parties represented in parliament are the only decision-making authority as far as the functioning of the countries television and radio institutions and licensing of private broadcasters, in spite of the efforts of private sectors.
In 1990, however, after the fall of the regime, a Parliamentary commission formed in order to regulate and create legislation regarding public media and set Bulgaria’s policy for radio and mass communication in general. Although some temporary measures were taken in those days, the new legislation just came into effect in 1991, stating the political differences in the degree of autonomy of radio and television from that year and on. However, due to the continuous political disputes, controversy and debate, the credibility of radio were extremely low.
Some years after, in 1995, the Parliament adopted The Concession Act, which provided the concessions for the radio-frequency spectrum, and national postal and telecommunication networks, among other vital issues. Anyway, both state television and state radio stations are still under a hidden monopoly, although the municipalities have created some 3,000 new local radio stations since 1990.
Some radio stations, such as the BBC, Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, Deutsche Welle, and Radio France International, formerly broadcast on a short wave only, but those western radio stations can now be broadcast on the medium wave.
At present day, broadcasting radio programs in Bulgaria are the responsibility of the Committee for Television and Radio. Radio stations within Bulgaria now offer national and regional programming in several languages for both Bulgaria and neighboring countries. Following the late 1980s, censorship of mass media came to an end. They are still closely monitored, however. Key players are highly competitive and closely monitor the competition for even minor infarctions.
Several Bulgarian radio stations can be listened too from some neighboring European countries as well. Bulgaria’s 11720 KHz/20m and 9700/31m radio stations air daily and offer great reception for other European countries. In fact, some stations as far as North American may be able to air portions of these broadcasts if the signal is clear enough.
Though it is not an official station, Horizont at 7670 kHz, is transmitted from Stolnick. With 15 kilowatts of power, many homes are able to access the station.
While driving through much of Europe, you should be able to tune into 828 kHz (Christo Botev), 1161 kHz (Horizont), and 1224 kHz (a foreign station). Radio Varna is launching its own radio station at 7230, but currently, the signal is very weak and broadcasts are only held on Fridays.
There is also a 5.30 to 6.00 pm.
Some of the best-known radios in Bulgaria are:
- Bulgaria National Radio (Sofia)
- Classic FM (Sofia) 89.1
- Darik Radio (Sofia) 98.3
- Kiss FM
- Radio Alpha
- Radio Aura (American University) (Blagoevgrad)
- Radio Christo Botev (Bulgarian National Radio)
- Radio Horizont (Bulgarian National Radio)
- Radio Glarus
- Radio Milla
- Radio TNN
- RFI 1 / RFI 2 (Sofia) 103.6
- Radio Horizont
Private, local radio stations at present usually broadcast modern music, such as rock-and-roll, and also AP news over the airwaves to catch new listeners, and try desperately to get sponsors and advertisers as well.
Nowadays people trust the parliament-controlled and predominantly state-financed radio and television again, and they are still the most commonly used information sources. Journalists usually have to bear criticism on the part of offended parties when they dare to tell the truth, as in the rest of the countries.
All participants in setting both television and particularly radio relatively free have faced the difficulties of having to dismantle such a totalitarian media system. Moreover, the most varied grass-roots initiatives are nevertheless being attempted. In the long term, only such a ground-up, piecemeal approach will provide the background and practical experiences needed to reconstruct a more democratic post-Soviet Union media environment.