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Radio Télévision Belge Francophone

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Radio Télévision Belge Francophone

Radio Télévision Belge Francophone
Type Broadcast radio, television and online
Country Belgium
Availability Wallonia
Owner French Community of Belgium
Launch date 1930 (radio)
1953 (television)
Former names INR (1930-1960),
RTB (1960-1977),
RTBF (1977-)
Official website

Radio Télévision Belge Francophone (RTBF) is the public broadcasting organization of the French Community of Belgium, the southern, French-speaking part of Belgium. Its counterpart in the northern part of the country is the Dutch-language Vlaamse Radio- en Televisieomroep (VRT).

RTBF operates four television channels – La Une, La Deux, La Trois and Arte Belgique – together with a number of radio channels, La Première, RTBF International, VivaCité, Musiq3, Classic 21, and PureFM.

The organization's headquarters in Brussels are sometimes referred to colloquially as Reyers.[1][2][3] This comes from the name of the avenue where RTBF's main building is located, the Boulevard Auguste Reyers (in Dutch: Auguste Reyerslaan).


Originally named INR – Institut national belge de radiodiffusion (Dutch: NIR – Belgisch Nationaal Instituut voor de Radio-omroep), the state-owned broadcasting organization was established by law on 18 June 1930. On 14 June 1940 the INR was forced to cease broadcasting as a result of the German invasion. The German occupying forces, who now oversaw its management, changed the INR's name to Radio Bruxelles. A number of INR personnel were able to relocate to the BBC's studios in London from where they broadcast as Radio Belgique / Radio België under the Office de Radiodiffusion Nationale Belge (RNB) established by the Belgian government-in-exile's Ministry of Information.

At the end of the war the INR and the RNB coexisted until 14 September 1945, when a Royal Decree restored the INR's original mission. The INR was one of 23 broadcasting organizations which founded the European Broadcasting Union in 1950. Television broadcasting from Brussels began in 1953, with two hours of programming each day. In 1960 the INR was subsumed into RTB (Radio-Télévision Belge) and moved to new quarters at the Reyers building in 1967. RTB's first broadcast in colour, Le Jardin Extraordinaire (a gardening and nature programme), was transmitted in 1971. Two years later the RTB began broadcasting news in colour.

In 1977, following Belgian federalization and the establishment of separate language communities, the French-language section of RTB became RTBF (Radio-Télévision Belge de la Communauté française) and a second television channel was set up with the name RTbis. In 1979 RTbis became "Télé 2". Along with French channels TF1, Antenne 2, FR 3 and Swiss channel SSR, RTBF jointly established the European French-speaking channel TV5 in 1984. On 21 March 1988 Télé 2 became Télé 21. On 27 September 1989 a subsidiary company of RTBF was set up with the name Canal Plus TVCF, which subsequently became "Canal Plus Belgique" in May 1995. In 1993 Télé 21 was replaced by Arte/21 and Sport 21.

In mid January 2010, RTBF became The change was made because of the growing importance of new media. The '.be' suffix stresses these new developments. underlines that this change isn't anecdotic and that the internet has gained its place in the media landscape, just as TV and radio have done years ago.

By 2011, the analogue systems for were planned to be phased out for Wallonia.

Television channels

Television channels are transmitted:

  • On Astra satellite on TéléSAT, an encrypted pay satellite service.
  • On cable: analog and digital on all Belgian cable providers;
  • On DSL lines through IPTV to Belgacom, Scarlet and Billi customers;
  • On satellite free-to-air worldwide as a participant in francophone TV5MONDE channel;
  • Terrestrial digital using DVB-T on UHF and VHF frequencies in Brussels and Wallonia.

Current channels

  • La Une (Channel One): RTBF's main channel television, formerly known as RTBF1; began in 1953 on VHF channel 10; in PAL color since 1973
  • La Deux (Channel Two): formerly known as RTbis; began in 1976
  • La Trois (Channel Three): the quality TV channel; began in 2007; there are no commercials on this channel
  • Arte Belgique: in collaboration with the Franco-German TV network Arte
  • La Une HD: HDTV simulcast of La Une
  • La Deux HD: HDTV simulcast of La Deux
  • La Trois HD: HDT simulcast of La Trois

Video on demand

The VOD, Video on demand offer of the RTBF is available on several platforms:

  • Web :
    • Totally free on the websites of the RTBF. Offering Catch up TV, allowing viewers to see all programs from the RTBF channels during 7 days after broadcast.
  • IDTV :
    • Free catch up TV and pay VOD
  • Mobile device:
    • La Une and La Deux are available on several Belgian mobile networks.

Radio channels

The RTBF broadcasts radio channels in either analog format (FM and AM) and digital format (using DAB and DVB-T). All channels are also broadcast live over the Internet.

International broadcasting is carried out by RTBF International.

Analogue and digital

Name Type VRT equivalent
La Première news, information, talk and culture Radio 1
VivaCité general pop music, regional news & sport Radio 2 & Sporza
Classic 21 classic rock and pop none
Pure FM young and alternative pop music Studio Brussel & MNM
Musiq'3: classical and jazz music plus opera Klara
RTBF International international broadcaster for French-speaking Belgians abroad none, formerly Radio Vlaanderen Internationaal

Digital-only channels

  • Francofolies: Only available during the Francofolies festival in Spa, every year in July.
  • Franco'Sphere: 100% French music from classics to nowadays
  • Classic 21 60's: Focus on the "Golden Sixties"
  • Classic 21 80's: Focus on music from the 80's
  • Classic 21 Classiques: Focus on Rock classics
  • OUFtivi: Webradio for children from 8 to 13 years old.
  • Pure FM 2: Focus on new talents

They also have a TMC service transmitted on Classic 21.

Bye Bye Belgium

On 13 December 2006, at 20:21 CET (19:21 UTC), RTBF replaced an edition of its regular current affairs programme Questions à la Une with a fake special news report in which it was claimed that Flanders had proclaimed independence, effectively dissolving the Belgian state. The programme had been preceded by a caption reading "This may not be fiction", which was repeated intermittently as a subtitle to the images on screen. After the first half hour of the 90-minute broadcast, however – by which point's response line had been flooded with calls – this was replaced with a caption reading "This is fiction".

The video featured images of news reporters standing in front of the Flemish Parliament, while Flemish separatists waved the flag of Flanders behind them. Off to the side, Francophone and Belgian nationalists were waving Belgian flags. The report also featured footage of King Albert and Queen Paola getting on a military jet to Congo, a former Belgian colony.

RTBF justified the hoax on the grounds that it raised the issue of Flemish nationalism, but others felt that it raised the issue of about how much the public can trust the press.

RTBF Children's programming

See also

Notes and references

External links

  • (French) Official site
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