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The Finnish Broadcasting Company ( , ) almost always referred to by its abbreviation "YLE", is Finlandmarker's national broadcasting company, founded in 1926. YLE is a public-broadcasting organization which shares many of its characteristics with its British counterpart, the BBC, on which it was largely modelled. It is known as the "Finnish Broadcasting Corporation" in English. It employs around 3,200 people in Finland.

YLE is a public limited company, owned by the Finnish state (with a 99.98 % share). It is funded primarily (90%) through a television fee, allocated by the cabinet, which is between 208.15 and 215.4 per year, as well as through private television broadcasting license fees. YLE has a status that could be described as that of a non-departmental public body. It is governed by a parliamentary governing council. YLE's turnover in 2006 was 383.5 million euro.

Today YLE operates four national television channels, 13 radio channels and services, and 25 regional radio stations. Finland being an officially bilingual country – around 5.5% of the population have Swedish as their mother-tongue – YLE provides radio and TV programming in Swedish through a department called Svenska YLE. As is customary in Finnish television and cinemas, foreign films and shows are generally subtitled on YLE's channels. Dubbing is used exclusively in cartoons intended for young children who have not yet learned to read.

In the field of international broadcasting, one of YLE's best known services is Nuntii Latini, the news in Latin, which is broadcast worldwide and made available over the Internet. YLE was also one of 23 founding broadcasting organisations of the European Broadcasting Unionmarker in 1950. YLE hosted the Eurovision Song Contest 2007 in Helsinkimarker, Finland.


Yleisradio was founded in Helsinkimarker on 29 May 1926. The first radio programme was transmitted on 9 September in that year, and this is the date generally considered to be the birthday of regular broadcasting activities in Finland. However, it was not until 1928 that YLE's broadcasts became available throughout the country. After this the broadcasting network was developed and by the beginning of the 1930s, 100,000 households were able to listen YLE's programmes.

In 1957 YLE made its first television broadcast tests, and the following year regular TV programming was started under the name Suomen Televisio (Finnish Television). The popularity of television in the country grew rapidly and in 1964, YLE obtained TES-TV and Tamvisio, which were merged to YLE TV2. From 1969 all of YLE's programming was made entirely in colour. During the past few years, YLE has founded a number of new radio and television channels and in 2007 there was a digital television switchover. A completely new digital channel Yle Teema was introduced, and the Swedish-language FST (Finlands Svenska Television) was moved from reserved analogue channel time to its own digital channel FST5. Five channels were reserved, where the fifth channel was initially used for 24-hour news (YLE24). However, this channel was decommissioned, and the replacement, Yle Extra, was also decommissioned in 2007. Until August 4, 2008, the fifth channel was used to broadcast YLE TV1 with Finnish subtitles broadcast on programmes in foreign languages (without having to enable the digital set-top box's subtitle function).


  • TV1 is the oldest of YLE's channels and also the flagship of YLE. It services as the main news, current affairs and factual journalism channel of YLE with also a number of documentaries, drama, cultural and educational programmes being shown. Satirical entertainment, cinema and shows of British production are also included in its programming.

  • TV2 founded in 1964 is the main channel for children's, teenagers' and sports programmes though it also shows drama, entertainment and factual programmes. Emphasis in current affairs output is on domestic items, regional content and citizens' journalism. It broadcasts Eurovision Song Contest and Eurovision Dance Contest for Finland.

YLE Teema
  • Teema ( ) is the channel for culture, education and science. It focuses on recordings of performing arts, classical music, art and history documentaries, films and theme broadcasts.

  • is the Swedish-language full service channel broadcasting news, factual and children's programmes and entertainment. It also shows many Nordic films and series and Sami-language Ođđasat. Finnish subtitles are available for most programmes, they can be enabled using the digital set-top box.

TV Finland
  • TV Finland is Digital satellite channel showing a selection of YLE and MTV3 programmes in other parts of Europe.

  • Teletext shows news, sport and programme information round the clock. Theme pages on the weather, traffic, work and leisure.


  • YLE Radio 1: A radio channel for culture, in-depth current affairs and talk programmes. Classical music (concerts by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra), jazz, folk, world music and religious music.
  • YleX: A fast-tempo programme-flow channel featuring new music and in tune with popular culture, targeted at 17 to 27-year-olds. Percentage of music is 70%. New domestic and foreign pop and rock and several special music programmes.
  • YLE Radio Suomi: The national and regional news, service and contact channel, also sport and entertainment. Musical fare comprising domestic and foreign hits, adult and nostalgic pop.
  • YLE Radio Extrem: The Swedish-language youth channel for current affairs debate and popular culture, broadcasting also news. New pop and rock and special music programmes.
  • YLE Radio Vega: News, current affairs and culture in Swedish for all audience groups, also offering culture and regional programmes. Adult pop, jazz and classical music.
  • YLE Sámi Radio: A Sami-language network covering most of Lapland. Co-operation with SVT and NRKmarker.
  • YLE Puhe (formerly YLE Radio Peili): The news and current affairs channel presenting talk programmes from YLE's other radio and television channels. Classical jazz. Also broadcast on digital television and MW.

Digital services
YLE will phase out DAB broadcasts by the end of 2005 but will continue to broadcast these channels through DVB.

International services
  • YLE Radio Finland: The external service of YLE broadcasting in Finnish, Swedish, English and Russian on SW, MW, satellite and on the Internet.
  • YLE World and YLE Mondo: Radio Finland's digital programme services in English and other languages, mostly compiled from international radio services.
  • Capital FM : channel compiled from Radio World's and Mondo's programming in Greater Helsinkimarker, and partly in Turkumarker, Lahtimarker and Kuopiomarker.
  • Educational Channels: in Turku, Kuopio, Lahti and Mikkelimarker.

See also
List of Finnish television channels


In radio, YLE was a legal monopoly until 1985, when local radio stations were permitted, and maintained a national monopoly until 1995, when national radio networks were allowed.

In the past, YLE has been seen in Finland as a "red" or leftist medium. This was true especially in 1965–1969, during the term of Director-General Eino S. Repo, who got the position with the backing of the Agrarian League and President Kekkonen (who was a member of the Agrarian Party), as he was Kekkonen's personal friend. He was accused of favouring student radicalism and young reporters with socially critical programs that demanded reforms, and YLE was given the nickname "Reporadio".

Repo resigned in 1969, but according to YLE, the "political mandate" remained, as Erkki Raatikainen was named director directly from the Social Democratic Party office.

Currently, YLE maintains that it is independent and impartial, and does not represent any current government's opinion, even if it is owned by the state.

Decision to close shortwave

The broadcasts on shortwave from YLE were closed at the end of 2006. Expatriate organisations had been campaigning for a continued service, but their efforts did not succeed in maintaining the service or even in slowing the process. The decision also affected a high-powered medium wave on 963 kHz (312m). A smaller medium wave covering the Gulf of Finland region (558 kHz, 538m) remained on air.

Parliamentary question about shortwave

Conservative member of parliament Mr Pertti Hemmilä submitted in November a question in parliament about the plans of YLE to end its availability on international shortwave bands. In his question MP Hemmilä took up the low cost of the world band radio to the consumer travelling or living abroad. In her response the minister for communication and transport, Mrs Susanna Huovinen (sdp) noted that YLE would now be available via other means such as satellites and the Internet. She also underlined the fact that YLE is not under government control, but under direct parliamentary supervision. (The link above leads to texts of the question and the response in Finnish and Swedish at

List of YLE managing directors

  • L. M. Viherjuuri 1926 - 1927 acting
  • Yrjö Koskelainen 1927 - 1927 acting
  • A. Deinert 1927 - 1927 acting
  • Hjalmar Voldemar Walldén - 1927- 1945 (changed name in 1935 to J. V. (Jalmar Voldemar)
  • Hella Wuolijoki 1945 - 1949
  • Einar Sundström 1950 - 1964
  • Eino S. Repo 1965 - 1969
  • Erkki Raatikainen 1970 - 1979
  • Sakari Kiuru 1980 - 1989
  • Reino Paasilinna 1990 - 1994
  • Arne Wessberg 1994 - 2005
  • Mikael Jungner 2005 -

See also


  1. YLE:n elävä arkisto. YLE 80 - pääjohtajien kavalkadi.
  2. Recollections of international radio from Finland

External links

Streaming video and audio

  • Elävä arkisto – the "Living Archive" in Finnish
  • Arkivet – the "Archive, a part of the Living Archive" in Swedish

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