BBC World Service Radio

BBC World ServiceBBC World Service broadcasts around the world in English and many other languages. These broadcasts have traditionally been on short wave (SW), though nowadays there are also other ways of listening.
In the UK, you can listen to BBC World Service on all the digital platforms: DAB digital radio, digital terrestrial TV (Freeview), satellite (Freesat & Sky), cable and broadband.

The BBC’s English for Europe service broadcasts on digital radio in parts of Europe. This uses the Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) system, which allows digital broadcasting on AM (long, medium and short wave). To listen, you need a DRM digital radio.

BBC World Service Bitrates in Europe
BBC iPlayer streams are available at 320 kbps HLS AAC for UK listeners.
BBC iPlayer streams are available at 96 kbps HLS AAC for international listeners.

On DAB in the UK, BBC World Service is available at 64 kbps Mono.
On Freeview in the UK, BBC World Service is available at 96 kbps Mono.

On satellite in Europe
Astra 2 at 28.2° East, BBC World Service is available at 96 kbps Mono.
Astra 1 at 19.2° East, BBC World Service Europe (96 kbps Mono)
Eutelsat Hotbird 13° East:
BBC World Service Europe (192 kbps Joint-Stereo)
BBC World Service Middle East (192 kbps Joint-Stereo).


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BBC World Service English language services BBC World Service other language services

World Service BBC iPlayer

bbciplayerBBC World Service Radio is available for free on the BBC iPlayer, the station is available in mono. It is streamed at 64 kbps AAC for UK listeners and 64 kbps AAC+ for those listening overseas.
BBC World Service is available on the BBC iPlayer Radio app, the app is only available for download in the UK, though the app will work once downloaded outside the UK.

Please note that streaming radio is a data-intensive service. Whilst the BBC does not charge for its mobile content, your operator’s charges for using the internet over mobile networks may apply, and would be significantly increased whilst roaming outside of the UK.
Connecting via Wi-Fi is recommended, where possible.

The BBC World Service, along with most other BBC radio stations is available on many free radio apps for Android, iOS and Windows.

Visit the BBC iPlayer Radio site


Broadcasts have traditionally come from the UK, Cyprus, the large BBC Atlantic Relay Station on Ascension Island, and the smaller Lesotho Relay Station and Indian Ocean Relay Station on Seychelles. A large part of the English schedule is taken up by specialist programming from and for Africa, for example, Network Africa, Focus on Africa and Africa Have Your Say. The BBC World Service is also available on FM in many African capital cities.

For more information on BBC World Service shortwave frequencies in Africa, see Listening on Short Wave in Africa
For more information on transmitter relays & rebroadcasts in Africa, see BBC Relay Partners (PDF).

The Americas
SiriusXm Satellite Radio rebroadcast the World Service over commercial satellite radio to Canada and the United States, and more than 300 public radio stations across the U.S. carry World Service news broadcasts, mostly during the overnight and early-morning hours, over AM and FM radio, through American Public Media (APM). Listeners also have the option of calling a U.S. number in order to listen to a live stream, 712-432-6580. The BBC and Public Radio International (PRI) co-produce the programme The World with WGBH Radio Boston, and the BBC is also involved with The Takeaway morning news programme based at WNYC in New York City. BBC World Service programming also airs as part of CBC Radio One’s CBC Radio Overnight schedule in Canada.

The BBC broadcasts to Central America and South America in several languages. It is possible to receive the Western African shortwave radio broadcasts from eastern North America, though the BBC does not guarantee reception in this area.

Broadcasting House
Broadcasting House – Home of the BBC World Service

The BBC World Service is available up to eighteen hours a day in English across Asia, and in Arabic for the Middle East. With the addition of relays in Afghanistan and Iraq, these services are accessible in most of the Middle and Near East, at least in the evening. 

In Hong Kong and Singapore, the BBC World Service in English is essentially treated as a domestic broadcaster, easily available through long-term agreements with Radio Television Hong Kong and MediaCorp Radio. In the Philippines, DZRJ 810 AM airs the BBC World Service in English from 00.00 – 05.00.
The World Service can be received on Short Wave from the East Asian Relay located in Thailand on 6195, 9740, 15310/360 and 17790/760 kHz.

Australia & New Zealand
The BBC World Service is available as part of the subscription Digital Air package (available from Foxtel and Austar) in Australia. ABC NewsRadio, SBS Radio, and various community radio stations also broadcast many programmes. Many of these stations broadcast a straight feed during the midnight to dawn period. It is also available via the satellite service Optus Aurora, which is encrypted though available without a subscription. 

Broadcasting House Aerial
Broadcasting House in London

In Sydney, Australia a transmission of the service can be received at 152.025 MHz. It is also available on the DAB+ Network in Australia under the name of SBS6.
BBC World Service relays on Radio Australia now carry the BBC Radio news programmes. 2MBS-FM 102.5, a classical music station in Sydney, also carries the BBC World Service news programmes at 7 am and 8 am on weekdays, during its ‘Music for a New Day’ breakfast programme.
BBC World Service is on an AM Frequency (810 kHz) in Auckland, New Zealand.

A number of local radio stations in continental Europe broadcast the BBC World Service on FM or AM frequencies. This may be the 24-hour English service or selected programming broadcast along with the stations’ own output.

In some countries, notably Germany, The Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland and Austria, BBC World Service can be heard on DAB or cable FM frequencies in many cities.
Contact your local cable network to see if BBC World Service is one of the channels on offer.

In France, BBC World Service is available via CanalSat and in Greece and Cyprus via Multichoice Hellas.

The World Service is available Free-To-Air (FTA) from:
Astra 1L 19.2° East, Transponder 24 – 11.568 vertical polarization and Eutelsat Hot Bird 13B at 13° East, transponder 50, vertical polarisation, 11.727 MHz, Service ID 13907.
Hot Bird 8 services cover the whole of Europe, including the Canary Islands, Madeira and the Azores, Iceland, western Greenland and Malta.
Longwave frequency 198 kHz normally carries BBC World Service between 0100 and 0530 GMT in winter, 0000 and0430 GMT in summer (and the BBC’s domestic channel BBC Radio 4 at other times).  Although this is a BBC Radio 4 frequency intended to serve the UK, 198 kHz is usually audible in parts of countries bordering the North Sea and the English Channel.

Shortwave relays from Singapore and the BBC Asia Relay Station in Thailand continue to provide coverage in some areas of the Pacific.
A satellite transmission (subscription required) is available on Skylife (Channel 791) in South Korea.

BBC East Asian Relay

BBC East Asian Relay

The BBC East Asian Relay in Thailand provides the BBC World Service with an easily accessible signal in regions where shortwave listening has traditionally been popular.
The English shortwave frequencies of 6195, 9740, 15310/360 and 17790/760 kHz are widely known.

BBC Asia Relay Station
P. O. Box 20 Muang,
Nakhon Sawan 60000
Tel. + 66-56-227275 / 6, 223206 / 7 FAX + 66-56-227277

BBC Atlantic Relay on Ascension Island

BBC Atlantic Relay
BBC Atlantic Relay

The position of Ascension Island, 8 degrees South and 14 degrees West, makes it an ideal site for short save broadcasting to Africa and South America. Reversible antenna arrays allow coverage of Africa during the day and South America during the night. Construction of the BBC Atlantic Relay Station on Ascension Island began in 1965 at English Bay and it became fully operational in late 1967. The Power Station was constructed to provide electricity for the transmitters as well for those on the Island.

The transmitting station is comprised of four Marconi BD272 250kW shortwave transmitters and twenty dual-band aerial arrays this was upgraded in 1989 by the installation of a further two Marconi BD272 transmitters and four new aerial arrays. The transmitters were designed in the early 1960s and required manual band changing and tuning round the clock by a staff of three on each shift to carry out changes, tuning, routine maintenance and repairs. An automatic control system was installed to carry out all the transmitter programme and aerial switching operations that were required by the daily transmission schedule. A 500-watt mediumwave transmitter on 1485 kHz was added at the transmitting station and a 400 watt VHF transmitter on 93.2MHz was installed on Green Mountain.

Programming for the BBC World Service comes directly from Broadcasting House in London via a Satellite Earth Station located close to the Transmitter Building which was installed in 1985.
BBC Atlantic Relay photo, courtesy of Les Smith

BBC Indian Ocean Relay (Closed)

BBC Indian Ocean Relay
Former BBC Indian Ocean Relay

Launched in October 1988, and currently run on behalf of BBC World Service by VT Communications, the station is transmitting BBC World Service programmes on shortwave to an estimated audience of up to nine million listeners across East Africa. The relay closed on Saturday, March 29 2014.
The BBC Indian Ocean relay station in Seychelles broadcasts BBC World Service in a range of languages including the BBC’s English-language output for Africa as well as programmes in Swahili, Kinyarwanda, Kirundi, Somali and French.
It brings the BBC’s radio output to audiences in countries such as Burundi, DR Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

The station, located in the Western District of Grand Anse in Mahé since 1988, had been broadcasting BBC radio programmes towards eastern Africa, covering mainly Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Zambia and South Africa. From 18 hours daily, broadcasts had subsequently been cut down to 10 hours.

In a statement issued in November 2013, BBC said the decision to close the Indian Ocean Relay Station followed an earlier decision to stop all shortwave broadcasts from the corporation’s site in Cyprus for commercial, technological and audience reach reasons.

BBC World Service Radio on satellite

BBC World Service is available by satellite in many parts of the world, including Europe, the Middle East and the Gulf, Africa, South Asia, South East Asia, the Americas and Australasia.
If you have an Internet connection, it may be far cheaper and easier to listen online.
Click on the reception maps for a detailed view.

BBC World Service in Europe

astra2efg-ukspotAstra 2E at 28.2° East
Transponder 46 – 10.788 Vertical
SR: 22000
FEC 5/6
Beam: UK Spotbeam



astra-1lAstra 1N at 19.2° East
Transponder 24 – 12.363 Vertical
SR: 27500
FEC: 3/4
Beam: Europe, North Africa & the Canary Islands



hotbird-13aEutelsat Hot Bird 13B at 13° East
Transponder 50 – 11.727 Vertical
SR: 27500
FEC: 3/4
Beam: Europe & the Canary Islands




BBC World Service around the Globe

apstar7Apstar 7 at 76.5° East
Transponder 12A – 4071 Horizontal (C Band)
SR: 4300
FEC: 3/4
Beam: Global Eastern Hemisphere (Africa, Asia, Europe & Australia)



badr4Badr 4 at 26.0° East
Transponder 15 – 11.996 Horizontal
SR: 27500
FEC: 3/4
Beam: Ku-Band BSS – Middle East & Europe



Intelsat 10-02 1.0° West
intelsat-1002Transponder 24 – 4025 Right (C Band)
SR: 7324
FEC: 2/3
Beam: Global – Eastern Hemisphere




Intelsat 20 at 68.5° East
intelsat20-landmassTransponder LM15C – 4064 Horizontal (C Band)
SR: 19850
FEC: 7/8
Beam: Global Eastern Hemisphere (Africa, Asia, Europe & Australia)




Intelsat 805 at 55.5° West
intelsat805Transponder 23 – 3936 Horizontal (C Band)
SR: 3255
FEC: 2/3
Beam: Hemisphere (western)




Nilesat 201 at 7.0° West
nilesat-201Transponder 7 – 11.843 Horizontal
SR: 27500
FEC: 5/6
Beam: Middle East




Telstar 18 at 138.0° East
telstar18Transponder 13B – 4124 Vertical (C Band)
SR: 3255
FEC: 1/2
Beam: Asia, Australia, New Zealand & Pacific

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