English Language Radio in Germany

The world service

BBC World service broadcasts to Germany on Medium Wave, Short Wave and VHF. The 648kHz MW transmissions do not cover the whole country. Receptions is pretty reliable in the NW of the country during the hours of darkness. As you head South and East, or as the sun rises, MW reception becomes less and less audible. In Munich and Konstanz it is pretty well impossible to listen to it. You must then rely on the Short Wave broadcasts. These as OK and you should be able to pick them up over the entire country. I have found that 9.41MHz works best for me but the BBC does use a lot of SW frequencies and you can get their recommendations from the BBC web site. The World Service is available on VHF in Berlin only.

Domestic leakages

No UK VHF transmissions reach Germany. Assorted Medium Wave broadcasts and the Radio 4 Long Wave transmission all reach various parts of the country.

The further North and West that you travel, the more likely you are to be able to listen to these. Radio 4 on 198kHz is readable over about the same area as the BBM World Service Medium wave transmission. It is less affected by the time of day though. Radio 5 on 693 and 909 kHz is available over a slightly smaller area than the World Service.

I have also received, I think it was, "Talk Radio" on 1053kHz but that was only occasionally.

Local Broadcasts

The biggest source of these is of course the British Forces Broadcasting Service or BFBS. They transmit on VHF in all of the areas where there are British military bases. BFBS1 is a music show and BFBS2 is a speech channel carrying a mixture of original programming and material from the World Service, Radio 4, Radio 5 and, I expect, a few others.

They transmit on a large number of frequencies, often at very low power.

The Americans of course have their own system. I have picked it up on the car radio while driving past the Ramstein airbase near Kaiserslauten.

Some local stations also broadcast in English from time to time. The most notable is Radio Blue Danube which broadcasts a mix of French and English programs. This is an Austrian station and reception is limited to the south of the country. It was pretty clear in Konstanz but I never picked it up in Ulm.

On satellite

If you can erect a satellite dish, you will have access to a full range of English language Radio stations.

Pretty well every national station, BBC or commercial is awailable. Also there are other international stations that broadcast in English. Check out a satellite guide to see exactly what stations are available and on which satellite channels.

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