BBC World Service

The BBC World Service is an international radio station whose programs are broadcast in 27 different languages ​​worldwide. Week after week off more than 180 million listeners a BBC World Service broadcasts in several languages ​​. The station is managed since 2009 by Peter Horrocks.


The first broadcast on shortwave broadcast from Daventry in 1925. The shortwave program was sent regularly under the name BBC Empire Service since December 19, 1932, in particular for Australian listeners.

The station took especially during the Second World War, a special place, as he exuded messages in different languages ​​for a broad target group. So at this time was the German -language service of the BBC, a reliable and reputable source of information. Under great protest, the listener, the German programs were set on 26 March 1999.

After an aerial mine on 8 December 1940 had damaged the London Broadcasting House, the original seat of the transmitter, the BBC European Service moved to the Bush House, the BBC Overseas Service followed in 1958. As part of the comprehensive modernization program of the BBC attracted now the editors gradually back into the Broadcasting House, the BBC headquarters in Portland Place in central London's Marylebone district to .. the first broadcast of the World Service from the new Broadcasting House, a program of the Burmese service with listener participation, at the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi took part as a guest, was produced on 11 March 2012. The last news broadcast from Bush House after almost 70 years July 12, 2012 by 12 clock local time (11 clock GMT), the newscaster was Iain Purdon. The lease of the BBC with the current Japanese owner expired in November 2012.

In contrast to the normal radio and television by the BBC for the UK, which is funded mainly by license fees ( license fee ), the BBC World Service has been maintained by the British Foreign Office. The transmitter remained politically and editorially independent. In 2010, it was announced that the BBC World Service will also be funded from the general fee revenue from 2014. It is still unclear whether this has reduced the importance of the service or if they'll tend to increase within the BBC.


News broadcasts and other programs of the BBC World Service are taken regularly by various regional stations. The BBC World Service has the reputation of being the best and most respected news source world. Furthermore, the channel offers a wide range of educational, entertainment and sports. An example of this is the mission of the World: Have Your Say, which was awarded the 2008 Sony Radio Academy Awards. A special service for expatriate Britons are safety warnings, which include, inter alia, evacuation recommendations. Such recommendations were made, among others, in September 1970, when a departure recommendation for the Jordanian territory was given during the Black September.

Transmitting stations

The BBC World Service was to receive by the end of March 2011 on a medium wave transmitter on the frequency 648 kHz, which was in Orford Ness in Europe. In addition to the short-wave transmitters in Britain itself, there are numerous relay stations. It is transmitting systems in locations outside the United Kingdom that broadcast the program of the BBC, so as to ensure good reception quality in other regions of the world. The private company Merlin Communications operates for the BBC shortwave transmitter not only in Britain but also on the Ascension Islands, Antigua, Cyprus, Oman, Singapore, Thailand and the Seychelles. These are marketed elsewhere. So they radiate next to the BBC programs also programs of other international channels. In addition, stations in Germany, Russia, the USA, Austria, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, Japan, South Korea, Uzbekistan and Canada are used. In return transmitter systems in the UK are rented out to other international broadcasters such as Radio Canada International, Voice of America, Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, Radio Japan, Radio Korea International, Voice of Vietnam Radio and HCJB in Ecuador.

Further offers or offered the World Service special programs for the Caribbean and the Falkland Islands. The program for the Falkland Islands was discontinued in March 2006. Furthermore, the World Service is increasingly used since the 1990s, satellite radio as the transmission medium to its overseas stations and the satellite dish owners in many countries. The shortwave broadcasts in the United States were terminated as of 1 July 2001.

Theme song

The break character, the BBC World Service used in the English-speaking world is the sound of the bells of St. Mary-le -Bow Church in London.

The signature tune Lilliburlero is broadcast usually just before the hour every hour, after the announcement This is London ( German: Here is London). After the theme song follows the Greenwich time signal ( five short beeps and one long beep ), followed by the messages.

In non-English speaking countries the pause signal is four notes long, the pitches are HHHC ( BBBC in the Anglo-Saxon notation). In addition, the Westminster chimes of Big Ben is regularly played in all shipments.


2006 sent the BBC World Service radio programs in the following languages ​​: English, Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bengali, Burmese, Chinese ( Mandarin), Hausa, Hindi, Indonesian, Kazakh, Kinyarwanda, Kirundi, Nepali, Pashto, Persian ( Dari ), Persian ( Farsi), Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Sinhala, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Tajik, Tamil, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Uzbek, Vietnamese.

In early 2011 it was announced that the voice services in Macedonian, Albanian and Serbian, as well as regular programs should be set for the Caribbean and Portuguese for Africa. In the wake of austerity measures, a total of 650 employees ( a quarter of the employees) can be saved, two thirds of them in 2011.


One of the main tasks of the BBC World Service is the worldwide dissemination of news and information on as a neutral and independent basis. In many countries of the world the BBC World Service is the only news medium, the population trusts an honest and accurate reporting that is not manipulated or controlled by the government.

Reception options

In 1991, the television program BBC World Service Television was first broadcast via a satellite.

In 1995, he was split into two different programs, BBC Prime which is the pay- TV channel BBC Entertainment BBC World today and sending as BBC World News Worldwide today. BBC World News can not broadcast the only BBC TV program around the clock advertising.

The distribution of BBC World Service has been recently extended in the UK. He can now be via DAB (digital radio), DVB -T ( Freeview in the UK called ) and received via satellite.

Furthermore, both a live stream ( the current program ) as well as podcasts, as well as an audio and text archive available on the internet. The online service is increasingly replacing the receiving options on shortwave, which have been gradually restricted for Europe and North America.


The BBC Trust approved the first time in January 2012, the introduction of advertising in the British Foreign Service BBC World Service. Affected are the web sites in Arabic, Russian and Spanish, as well as on the FM frequency in Berlin broadcast program. The budget funded from tax revenues international broadcaster had been reduced by 46 million British pounds per year in 2011. Then had to be canceled over 600 locations. The British government had asked the station to achieve 2013/14 income of £ 3 million a year " from commercial activities " to.