SR International – Radio Sweden

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Radio Sweden
Type Radio network
Country  Sweden
Availability International
Owner Sveriges Radio
Key people
Ingemar Löfgren (Head of SR International) Gundula Adolfsson (Program Director) Nidia Hagström (News Director) Gaby Katz (Head of English Service)
Launch date
Former names
Radio Sweden International
Official website

Radio Sweden (Swedish: Sveriges Radio International) is Sweden's official international broadcasting station. Swedish Radio is a non-commercial and politically independent public service broadcasting company commissioned to produce quality programming for all listeners, regardless of age, gender, culture, or ethnic background.


SR International is part of Sveriges Radio (SR), Sweden's non-commercial public-radio broadcasting organization. The service was founded in 1938, at the approach of World War II, as a way of keeping Swedes living abroad informed of happenings in Sweden and of Swedish opinion. Programming was at first in Swedish only, but in 1939 English- and German-language broadcasts were added.

After the war, further language services were added: in French, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. At the close of the Cold War, the services in French, Portuguese, and Spanish were gradually phased out and replaced by new services in Estonian and Latvian. The latter services were withdrawn once Estonia and Latvia had developed their own independent media and joined the European Union.

Until recently Radio Sweden also operated a service in Belarusian but this was closed in 2010.

In the 1990s Radio Sweden was merged with SR's Immigrant Languages Department to form the SR International channel. For a while, immigrant language services, such as those in Arabic and Kurdish, were additionally carried on shortwave.


As of 2012, SR International broadcasts, and has a web presence, in the following languages:

Current programming in English[edit]

The Radio Sweden English Service seeks to provide a window on the diverse perspectives and issues in Sweden today.

Its programs and website offer a ”smörgåsbord” of news and current affairs, science and technology, lifestyle, and culture. It explores, debates, analyzes, and gives insight into the way Swedish society and its people are changing to meet today’s challenges and opportunities.

Radio Sweden is committed to its goal of being the best source of information about Sweden in English with relevant, interesting and thought-provoking programs for Sweden’s culturally diverse society, its expatriate community, Swedes abroad and “Swedophiles” around the world.

Former programs[edit]

Sweden Calling DXers[edit]

One of the most popular programs on Radio Sweden was Sweden Calling DXers, founded in 1948 by Arne Skoog. He reasoned that shortwave listening or DXing was a very young hobby, and that by providing information in a weekly program for shortwave listeners about their hobby, Radio Sweden was teaching its own audience about how to listen better. While the first program was based solely on Arne's own listening, listeners were encouraged to write in with their own news, and soon virtually all of the program was based on listener's letters (an early example of interactvity).

The program was carried on Tuesdays in all of Radio Sweden's services except Swedish.

When Arne Skoog retired in connection with the program's 30th anniversary in 1978, the program was taken over by George Wood, a member of the Radio Sweden English Service. After a number of years, as media changed, it began to cover less about shortwave, and more about satellite radio and television. Later coverage was extended to the Internet, the focus was shifted to concentrating on Swedish media, and the name of the English version of the program was changed to "MediaScan". "MediaScan" was the first English-language radio program in Europe (and the second overall in Europe) to post audio on the Internet (on the ftp sites and, as well as via Internet Multicasting).

In 2001 the program was discontinued, but remains in a somewhat sporadic form on the Radio Sweden website.

The Saturday Show[edit]

Another popular Radio Sweden program was the The Saturday Show, with Roger Wallis and Kim Loughran, which ran from 1967 to 1981. The program was launched to showcase Swedish rock and pop music in a world dominated by American and British rock. Using Radio Sweden's relatively high-powered medium wave transmitter on 1179 kHz, the entire program was 90 minutes in length, and featured many satirical sketches, often political and sometimes controversial. A 30-minute segment of the entire broadcast was the Radio Sweden shortwave program on Saturdays.

End of shortwave broadcasting[edit]

On October 20, 2010, Radio Sweden ceased broadcasts on shortwave and medium wave, as Swedish Radio's management decided that the Internet had matured enough to support international broadcasts. At the same time the English Service was extended to national broadcasts on FM, but programming on weekends was discontinued. Services in English also continue on satellite, both using Swedish Television's satellite and the World Radio Network.


Estimated total direct programme hours per week of some external radio broadcasters for 1996
Broadcaster 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 1996[2]
United States VOA, RFE/RL & Radio Martí 497 1,495 1,907 1,901 2,611 1,821
China China Radio International 66 687 1,267 1,350 1,515 1,620
United Kingdom BBC World Service 643 589 723 719 796 1,036
Russia Radio Moscow / Voice of Russia[1][3] 533 1,015 1,908 2,094 1,876 726
Germany Deutsche Welle 0 315 779 804 848 655
Egypt Radio Cairo (ERTU) 0 301 540 546 605 604
Iran IRIB World Service / Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran 12 24 155 175 400 575
India All India Radio 116 157 271 389 456 500
Japan NHK World Radio Japan 0 203 259 259 343 468
France Radio France Internationale 198 326 200 125 379 459
Netherlands Radio Netherlands Worldwide[1] 127 178 335 289 323 392
Israel Israel Radio International[1] 0 91 158 210 253 365
Turkey Voice of Turkey 40 77 88 199 322 364
North Korea Radio Pyongyang / Voice of Korea 0 159 330 597 534 364
Bulgaria Radio Bulgaria[1] 30 117 164 236 320 338
Australia Radio Australia 181 257 350 333 330 307
Albania Radio Tirana (RTSH) 26 63 487 560 451 303
Romania Radio Romania International 30 159 185 198 199 298
Spain Radio Exterior de España[5] 68 202 251 239 403 270
Portugal RDP Internacional[1] 46 133 295 214 203 226
Cuba Radio Havana Cuba 0 0 320 424 352 203
Italy Rai Italia Radio[1] 170 205 165 169 181 203
Canada Radio Canada International[1] 85 80 98 134 195 175
Poland Radio Polonia[1] 131 232 334 337 292 171
South Africa Radio RSA / Channel Africa 0 63 150 183 156 159
Sweden Sveriges Radio International[1] 28 114 140 155 167 149
Hungary Magyar Rádió[1] 76 120 105 127 102 144
Czech Republic Radio Prague[4] 119 196 202 255 131 131
Nigeria Voice of Nigeria 0 0 62 170 120 127
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Radio Belgrade / International Radio of Serbia 80 70 76 72 96 68

Source: International Broadcast Audience Research, June 1996

The list includes about a quarter of the world's external broadcasters whose output is both publicly funded and worldwide. Among those excluded are Taiwan, Vietnam, South Korea and various international commercial and religious stations.


  1. Does not broadcast on shortwave as of 2014.
  2. 1996 figures as at June; all other years as at December.
  3. Before 1991, broadcasting for the former USSR.
  4. Before 1996, broadcasting for the former Czechoslovakia.
  5. REE ceased all shortwave broadcasts in October 2014 but announced in December that it would resume shortwave transmission in Spanish only for four hours a day in order to accommodate Spanish fishing trawlers who were otherwise unable to receive REE at sea.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 59°20′5″N 18°6′5″E / 59.33472°N 18.10139°E / 59.33472; 18.10139