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Radio Televizioni Shqiptar (RTSH)
TypePublic broadcasting
HeadquartersRruga Ismail Qemali 11, 1010, Tirana, Albania
OwnerAlbanian State
Key people
Alfred Peza (General director)
Launch date
28 November 1938; 85 years ago (1938-11-28) (radio)
29 April 1960; 64 years ago (1960-04-29) (television)
Former names
Radiodifuzioni Shqiptar
WebcastListen Live
Official website
www.rtsh.al Edit this at Wikidata

Radio Televizioni Shqiptar (Albanian: [ˈɾadiɔ tɛlɛviziˈɔni ʃcipˈtaɾ]; English: "Albanian Radio and Television"; mostly called RTSH [ɾətəˈʃə]) is the national public broadcasting company of Albania. Founded in 1938, it operates several radio and television channels, over a domestic transmitter network as well as satellite. The international television service via satellite RTSH Sat (former TVSH Sat) was launched in 1993 and is aimed at Albanian-speaking communities in Kosovo, Serbia, North Macedonia, Montenegro, and northern Greece, plus the Albanian diaspora in the rest of Europe. RTSH is funded by a combination of commercial advertising, an annual licence fee of US$10.00[1] and grant-in-aid from the Albanian government.

There are 12 TV channels in the first multiplexer and 11 radio channels. RTSH also runs a Satellite Multiplexer with 7 channels. RTSH 1 is the flagship generalist channel. RTSH 2 is dedicated niche communities, including cultural and ethnic minorities, broadcasting news editions in Greek, Montenegrin and Aromanian. RTSH 3 is dedicated to Albanians living abroad. RTSH also has dedicated channels, for news (RTSH-24), sports, music, children, etc. In addition, four regional radio and TV stations serve local areas in Gjirokastër, Korçë, Shkoder, and Kukës.

The international radio service broadcasts radio programmes in Albanian and seven other languages via Internet Radio, Radio on the Satellite and on OTT with an App for both iOS and Android. Medium wave (AM) and short wave (SW) broadcasts were switched off in 2017.[2]

The broadcaster is an active member of the European Broadcasting Union.[3] It organises the music competition Festivali i Këngës, which has been broadcast every year since its inauguration in 1962. Since 2003, Festivali i Këngës has also determined Albania's representative in the Eurovision Song Contest.


Early development[edit]

King Zog and Queen Geraldine Apponyi launched Radio Tirana in 1938.

The beginnings of RTSH date to the creation of Radio Tirana on 28 November 1938. The first Albanian radio station was launched by King Zog I (1895–1961) and Queen Geraldine Apponyi (1915–2002) in a ceremony at the former building of the Municipality of Tirana.

A year earlier, a shortwave transmitter with a power of 3 kW at 40 meters was put in operation in Laprake (Tirana) and intended mainly for communication, but was also used to broadcast 3 hours of programmes per day. The first broadcast consisted of choral singing, where Jorgji Truja and Marije Kraja sang an introductory piece, followed by the unique timbre of Kaliopi Nushi's voice who pronounced the following phrase: "Mirëdita, kjo është Radio Tirana" (English: Good day, this is Radio Tirana). This officially marked the first broadcast of Radio Tirana. In 1987, 66 hours of programmes were broadcast in 20 foreign languages every day.[4]

Headquarters in Tirana.

In 1959, Radio Tirana's director by that time, Petro Kita, founded the first Experimental Television Centre to provide the basis for the latter Albanian television, TVSH. With equipments from the USSR and East Germany,[5] the first test programme was held on 29 April 1960, at 6:00 pm and was introduced by the journalist Stoli Beli. The official launch was set for 1 May 1960. Children movies and then adults’ programmes were broadcast, three times a week for about one hour.[6] Television programs were regularly launched by 1971.[7] Color broadcasts started in 1981, and became regular by 1982. In 2002 TVSH ranked second with an audience share of 17.1%. The second channel, TVSH 2, began experimental broadcasts in 2003. In 2012, several digital only channels were launched by RTSH.

Communist period[edit]

Despite the country's small size and isolationist policies, Radio Tirana was a fairly major international broadcaster during the Cold War. Its programmes had a reputation for being little more than dull propaganda.

During Albania's alliance with China in the 1960s and 1970s, Radio Tirana had to walk a fine line between being anti-West whilst also being anti-Soviet. As such, Radio Tirana kept close to the official policy of the People's Republic of China, which was also both anti-West and anti-Soviet whilst still being socialist in tone.

Polish Communist Kazimierz Mijal (1910–2010) broadcast his radical opinions in Polish 1966–1978.

Pin badge, late 1980s

During the 1970s, the station broadcast to Europe on 1214 kHz, causing interference problems for the British BBC Radio One on the same frequency. During the 1980s and early 1990s the international service was broadcast on 1395 kHz (along with various short wave frequencies) and was received throughout Europe during the evening and through the night. Radio Tirana also upset many amateur radio operators in Europe by operating transmitters in the 7 MHz (40 metre) amateur band.

In 1985, it broadcast only 2.5 hours per day. It opened at 20:00 and closed at 22:30. Later, in 1986, it broadcast each day for 4 hours, from 17:00 to 18:30 and 20:00 to 22:30. Most of the programming during the communist era consisted of propaganda and news programs.

Political programming predominated during this period. Features included Marxism-Leninism – an Ever-Young and Scientific Doctrine and Socialism and the Youth. The feature Leafing Through the Marxist-Leninist Press reviewed the journals of foreign communist parties allied to the Albanian Party of Labour. Other programs included Introducing You To Albania, Leafing Through Our Listeners' Letters, Culture and Art in Socialist Albania and The Song of Our Life. Radio Tirana also presented irregular programs of revolutionary music from around the world, while the programme What We Saw in Socialist Albania offered interviews with foreign visitors to Albania.

The interval signal of Radio Tirana during this period was the first few bars of the Albanian revolutionary song With a Pickaxe in One Hand and a Rifle in the Other (Albanian: Në njërën dorë kazmën në tjetrën pushkën). This song also served as the signature tune of Radio Tirana's foreign language broadcasts. The pickaxe and rifle were part of the logo of Albanian Radio-Television during this period, and can be seen in the above photograph.

During the last months of the socialist era, overtly political programming was drastically scaled down, and the long-established practice of playing "The Internationale" at the end of each broadcast was abandoned.[8]

A similar ideological battle took place on the television spectrum. The neighbouring TV signals of Italian RAI and Yugoslav RTV Titograd were particularly affected. During the 1960s, RAI was received in Tirana in decent quality. As time passed, the signal was strengthened by RTSH at Mount Dajti transmitter site only to broadcast the day's main news bulletin (TG1), films, and children's programmes. It is observed that in the news program, reports containing music concerts and papal activities, or even regular commercial spots were jammed. A similar phenomenon occurred with RTV Titograd's frequencies.

After the fall of the communist system, Albania's TV frequencies started to be filled by a variety of Western broadcasters: from RAI to CNN International.

The former grounds of the headquarters of Radio Tirana.

Radio Tirana is widely seen as a symbol representing Albanian culture in the world. Through its educational, cultural, and informative programs broadcast nationally and internationally, Radio Tirana has played a major role in the transmission of Albanian people's cultural values. The station served as the first academy of Albanian literal language as in its archive can be found interesting historical artefacts such as a speech made by Fan Stilian Noli or the voice of Albanian arts' ambassador, Alexander Moissi. Furthermore, it served as a venue on which emerging Albanian artists first showcased their talents later becoming icons. The voices of Tefta Tashko-Koço, Marije Kraja, Kristaq Koço, Viktori Xhaçka and many others were first heard in the station's studios. In addition, Albanian personalities such as renowned actor Reshat Arbana, singer Vaçe Zela and Dr. Sulçebeg hosted the most popular programs.


RTSH has dominated the Albanian broadcasting field up to the middle of the 1990s, a period when privately owned radio and television stations started to occupy the vast empty Albanian frequencies resulting in a gradual brain-drain. Lured by higher wages and not only, numerous experienced journalists and employees left the broadcaster for the new media outlets. For instance, Albania's current popular political talk shows such as Opinion by Blendi Fevziu, formerly E Diela Debat, or Fokus by Robert Papa, can track their beginnings at RTSH. Despite the brain-drain, the institution has held a leader's position in the production of programs pertaining to civics, education and science.

Classic Logo of Albanian Television (TVSH) since the 1990s replaced by RTSH 1 HD in February 2017
logo tvsh 1990
TVSH during 1989 - 1992. Logo remained in the main entrance of the building until 1998
Previous RTSH logo from 2017 to 2020. Critics argued that it strongly resembled the Croatian public broadcaster HRT. In 2020, the logo was modified to the current shape.

One of the post-communist programs leaving a lasting impression was that of talented show-man Adi Krasta, entitled Rreth Fatit për 12-Javë. The show was embedded in a national lottery, something unseen before in Albania and ran on primetime state television for about five hours non-stop in addition to offering tunes of famous American song ballads such as I've Had The Time Of My Life by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes, and hit song Auberge by Chris Rea. In addition, American actor of Albanian descent James Belushi offered his salutations to the Albanian people from the United States in the program through an exclusive interview. Other impressive programs included 12 vallzime pa nje te shtune, Miss Albania, and musical productions from Leonard Bombaj.

The broadcaster is known for producing high quality documentaries on Albanian national heritage topics such as important personalities, surveys of Albanian historic regions, and geographic landscapes. The theatre on the screen segment features theatre performances of past years both in the drama and comedy genres. Another well-known production is the Hapesire e Blerte, an agricultural show, a long lasting programme entirely dedicated to the Albanian agricultural scene and countryside. Another important highlight is the year-end festive concert show, a yearly television program styled as a celebration of the new year where a variety of humorous sketches are conducted by talented comedy troupes from across Albania.

Up to the early 2000s, the journalistic field was represented by experienced iconic personalities such as news anchors Tefta Radi, Roland Roshi, Arben Kamberi, Reiz Çiço, and Arben Mevlani. The broadcaster also has exclusive coverage of daily and special proceedings of the Parliament of Albania.

In 1997, in Albania, educational institutions were temporarily shut down due to the civil unrest. As a result, RTSH broadcast instructional programs for the barricaded youth, that made for a substitute to regular instruction. RTSH is known also for the vast number of shows for children and adolescents produced each year.

In 1999, journalists of RTV Pristina were obliged to flee Pristina as the situation in Kosovo was escalating. They took temporal refuge in RTSH by anchoring specific news bulletins on their region's situation.[citation needed]

RTSH owns and operates a vast number of transmitter sites throughout the country such as the Fushe Dajt and Dajt 1613m stations at Mount Dajt in the periphery of Tirana. As such, a number of Western radio and TV broadcasters lease the sites to broadcast their own feeds since the 1990s.

On May 6, 2016, RTSH appointed Thoma Gëllçi as Director General as the position had been vacant for years.[9] On the 8th of October 2021, Mr Gëllçi was detained by the Albanian Special Court on Corruption and Organized Crime (SPAK) for alleged corruption in procurement and public tender processes.[10][11] His request to be released while his appeal is pending was approved by the court on 30th of August, 2022.[12]

A Balkan Insight investigation found that RTSH, despite its statutory duty to be impartial, was one of the many local broadcasters which gave disproportionate coverage to the ruling Socialist Party of Albania during the campaign for the 2021 Albanian parliamentary election.[13]

Broadcasting outlets[edit]


Logo Channel HD Broadcast Description
RTSH 1 Digital terrestrial television generalist. Launched in 1960.
RTSH 2 Digital terrestrial television generalist primarily focused on minorities. Launched in 2003.
RTSH 3 Digital terrestrial television
generalist primarily focused on the diaspora.
RTSH Film Digital terrestrial television International movies and series.
RTSH Muzikë Digital terrestrial television
Albanian and international music, culture, shows. Launched in 2012.
RTSH Shqip Digital terrestrial television
Albanian movies, culture, and shows.
RTSH Shkollë Digital terrestrial television
Albanian and international kids and teen programming. Launched in 2020.
RTSH Fëmijë Digital terrestrial television Albanian and international kids programming. Launched in 2018.
RTSH Sport Digital terrestrial television Sports. Launched in 2012.
RTSH Plus Digital terrestrial television
Albanian culture, shows, and music.
RTSH 24 Digital terrestrial television
24/7 news channel.
RTSH Agro Digital terrestrial television Agriculture, travel, and tourism.
RTSH Satelit Satellite RTSH 1 encrypted programming on satellite.
RTSH Kuvend Digital terrestrial television Live parliament broadcasts only.
Regional channels
RTSH Gjirokastra Digital terrestrial television Local television covering the Gjirokastër area and its surroundings.
RTSH Korça Digital terrestrial television Local television covering the Korçë area and its surroundings.
RTSH Kukësi Digital terrestrial television Local television covering the Kukës area and its surroundings.
RTSH Shkodra Digital terrestrial television Local television covering the Shkodër area and its surroundings.


  • Radio Tirana (also, Radio Tirana 1) is the name of Albania's first radio program, concentrating on news, talk, and features
  • Radio Tirana 2 is the second radio program targeted at youth broadcasting mainly music
  • Radio Tirana 3 is the third radio program dedicated to all genres of Albanian music
  • Radio Tirana International is the name of the international service broadcasting in Albanian, English, French. Greek, German, Italian, Serbian, and Turkish
  • Radio Tirana Klasik is a radio station broadcasting in Tirana at 101.2 MHz dedicated mainly to classical music.
  • Radio Tirana Jazz is a radio station dedicated to jazz classics broadcasting only on digital and not on FM.
  • Radio Tirana Fëmijë is a radio station dedicated to Albanian children.
  • Radio Korça in Korçë, Albania
  • Radio Gjirokastra in Gjirokastër, Albania
  • Radio Shkodra in Shkodër, Albania
  • Radio Kukësi in Kukës, Albania

RTSH Tani[edit]

In 2017, RTSH launched "RTSH Tani" an app which enables users of Android and iOS to watch all the channels from the RTSH digital platform including the regional channels such as RTSH Korça. In addition, the app enables users to watch catch up TV content from the last 7 days for all 9 channels.[14] In recent years, the app has not been functional while the online streaming is unreliable. Therefore, the only way to watch these channels outside of Albania is via satellite in Europe only, or only select channels through DigitAlb.



Original name Format Origin
Revista televizive Central News Bulletin Albania
Hapësirë e Blertë Agricultural affairs Albania
Rubrika Sportive Sport show Albania
E Hëna Sportive Sport show Albania
Më prit në fundjavë Weekend show Albania
E diela jonë Sunday show Albania
Trupi dhe shëndeti Health show Albania
Mirëmëngjes Shqipëri Morning show Albania
Ditë të mbarë Morning show Albania
Festivali i Këngës Song contest Albania
Java në RTSH Political talk show Albania
Auditor Arsimi Instruction talk show Albania
Art and Art Musical show Albania
Bibliotekë Literature show Albania
Autor Documentary show Albania
Në tempull Cultural show Albania
Ditë pas dite Cultural show Albania
Më prit në fundjavë Cultural show Albania
Kosherja Cultural show Albania
Artes Cultural talk show Albania
Përballë Political talk show Albania
Dimensioni 4 Instruction talk show Albania


Title Origin
Voice of America United States
The Mentalist United States
Millennium Sweden
Person of Interest United States[15]
The Closer United States[16]
Hallo Robbie! Germany
SOKO Wismar Germany
Dos Vidas Spain
Fuller House United States
Sanremo Music Festival Italy[17]
Eurovision Song Contest Europe
Junior Eurovision Song Contest Europe

For Kids[edit]

Title Origin
Rreth Nesh Albania
Te mesojme me ogin Albania
Go Astro Boy Go! Japan
Ben 10: Ultimate Alien United States
Ben 10 United States
Jurassic Cubs Italy
The Black Corsair Italy
Zig and Sharko France
What's with Andy? France
Kung Fu Dino Posse Canada
Timmy Time United Kingdom
Shaun the Sheep United Kingdom

Broadcasting improvements[edit]

Mount Dajt overlooking Tirana. TV and radio transmitters are mounted at Fushe Dajti plain and on the highest peak at the altitude of 1613 meters.

The broadcasting quality of Radio Tirana has gradually improved throughout the years. After the Second World War, noticeable improvements were observed in Albania's coverage with signal. Improvements were also noted in the external service, as the radio centre of Shijak (Durrës) was opened in November 1961 equipped with 3 transmitters, 2 in shortwave intended for the external service.

In December 1965, a new building of Radio Tirana was inaugurated. During the upcoming years, a combined total of 18 medium and short wave transmitters were installed, part of which carried Radio Tirana's external service programmes for many years.

In 2003, an attractive TV news room studio was created, and the TV (TVSH) signal on VHF band in Tirana was strengthened. TVSH became available also on UHF and experimental broadcasts of the second TV channel TVSH 2 were initiated. Later, screen graphics experienced an extreme makeover. The FM channel in the capital at 99,5 MHz was put on Stereo, and the second radio program was expanded to 24 hours a day.

RTSH transmitters at 1613m altitude on Dajti Mt

In 2007, RTSH launched its official webpage with daily news briefs and a variety of information on its services. The online stream of Radio Tirana 3 was launched on 28 November 2008 by the German Radio 700 team while the Radio Tirana 1 stream was launched in January 2009.

In 2011, RTSH launched live streaming of the 50th edition of Festivali i Kenges, by possibly marking the first time that RTSH launched an online streaming video service in its history.

In 2012, RTSH started broadcasting in HD. In 2013, RTSH launched four specialty channels including: RTSH HD, RTSH Muzikë, RTSH Art, RTSH Sport. By far, RTSH holds a monopoly in rural areas where its signal dominates airwaves.

In 2017, RTSH launched three additional channels including: RTSH Fëmijë (featuring children's programming) and RTSH Kuvend, a channel dedicated to Kuvendi, the Albanian Parliament and RTSH 24.

In recent years, RTSH has upgraded TV studios and broadcasting equipment, launched a number of digital TV channels, added live online TV and radio streams, and has uploaded TV programs on YouTube.

Special productions[edit]

  • RTSH is the producer of the annual national song competition, Festivali i Këngës. The winner of the competition goes on to represent Albania in the Eurovision Song Contest.
  • RTSH has produced the most high-rated Albanian television series, Njerëz dhe Fate, Dhimbja e Dashurisë, and radio series Rruga me Pisha
  • Miss Albania and Miss Europe were some of the fashion competitions organised by RTSH in the 1990s.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ About RTSH - rtsh.sil.at Archived 2005-12-19 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Radio Tirana's Broadcasting Schedule as of 2007 - RadioTirana.org Archived 2009-11-17 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "EBUMembers". European Broadcasting Union (EBU). 28 February 2019. Archived from the original on 1 November 2020. Retrieved 1 November 2020.
  4. ^ History of Radio Tirana's Transmitters – DX LISTENING DIGEST 6-150 October 8, 2006
  5. ^ "Broadcasting" (PDF). 5 December 1960. p. 93. Retrieved 24 April 2024.
  6. ^ "Faqe nga historia e Televizionit Shqiptar". Koha Jonë. 2005-06-03. Retrieved 2008-06-26.
  7. ^ Wells, Alan (1996). World Broadcasting: a comparative view. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 107. ISBN 1-56750-245-8.
  8. ^ "Alleged political pressure at public broadcaster Radio Televizioni Shqiptar". IFEX. 30 April 2010.
  9. ^ Union (EBU), European Broadcasting (2016-05-06). "Albania public service broadcaster Radio Televizioni Shqiptar elects new Director General". www.ebu.ch. Retrieved 2020-11-01.
  10. ^ "Arrestohet ish-drejtori i RTSH-së Thoma Gëllçi dhe 3 vartësit e tij për abuzim me tendera" (in Albanian). Retrieved 2023-09-11.
  11. ^ "Korrupsion në tenderin rreth 1 mln $ për kanalin 'Agro', SPAK arreston ish- drejtorin e RTSH-së, Thoma Gëllçi! Në pranga edhe 3 punonjës - Shqiptarja.com". shqiptarja.com (in Albanian). Retrieved 2023-09-11.
  12. ^ "Del nga qelia e paraburgimit ish-drejtori RTSH-së Thoma Gëllçi - Shqiptarja.com". shqiptarja.com (in Albanian). Retrieved 2023-09-11.
  13. ^ Likmeta, Besar (2021-06-02). "Albanian Election Commissioner Turns Blind Eye to Broadcast Bias". Balkan Insight. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  14. ^ ""RTSH Tani" në telefonat e zgjuar". RTSH-Radio Televizioni Shqiptar (in Albanian). 2018-01-02. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
  15. ^ ""Person of Interest", dy episode premierë këtë të shtunë në RTSH". 4 November 2016.
  16. ^ ""The Closer" seriali më i ri në RTSH". 11 September 2016.
  17. ^ "Sanremo 2024, nis nata finale. Ngjarja muzikore transmetohet drejtpërdrejtë në RTSH1 | RTSH Lajme". lajme.rtsh.al. Retrieved 2024-02-19.

External links[edit]