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Tune into French radio and you will not be disappointed, as
ore than 85% of French people listen to the radio, enjoying a mix of music, news, culture, advice and humour available throughout the day on national and local stations.
They tune in on average for three hours per day, according to figures from the Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel (CSA). And they have plenty of stations to choose from, with more than 900 analogue private radio stations, a thriving public radio offering via the seven stations of Radio France, plus a dedicated motorway radio service – all airing across close to 8,000 frequencies.
In reality, the popularity of radio in France is probably even greater, as the CSA figures don’t take into account the growing number of listeners accessing their radio content by satellite or online, podcasting and streaming to their hearts’ content.
Since the government opened up the airwaves to competition in 1981, radio in France has evolved into a highly diverse offering, under the guidance of the CSA whose mission it is to ensure an eclectic mix while protecting national interests. For example, specialist music radio stations are mandated to devote at least 40% of the playlist to French-language songs, of which at least 10% must be new songs, preferably by up-and-coming French artists.
It has become a thriving business too along the way, notably in recent years. Net revenues from radio advertising in 2013 stood at €736m, representing a 7% share of media advertising revenue – the majority through the larger radio groups and the Les Indés Radio, a group of 129 stations pooling