NEWS | 10 Sep 2018

Nationwide commercial radio starts in Sweden

As the last Nordic country, Sweden now has nationwide commercial radio channels. The three companies that have been granted licences to broadcast throughout the country are Bauer Media, NRJ and NENT Group (MTG).

From 1 August, Sweden has a new commercial radio landscape, for the first time including nationwide commercial channels. In addition, 35 regional/ local broadcasting licences have also been granted. All licences will run for eight years, August 2018-July 2026, and have been distributed to seven companies. [1]

Previously, only licences for local broadcasting areas have been issued. Amounting to just over 100 licences,  these were, however, controlled by two major radio networks (Bauer Media and MTG Radio).

Two dominant players
Bauer Media (Mix Megapol), RBS Broadcasting AB (NRJ) and NENT Group (Rix FM) are the three companies that have been granted the three national broadcasting licences.

In addition to their national licences, Bauer Media and NENT Group have been granted 26 of the 35 regional/local licences. By agreements with the other licensees, these two companies also have access to the remaining licences in order to broadcast their own radio formats and/or for advertising sales. [2]

Closed tender process – and fees
The companies pay a broadcasting fee for the entire licence period. The sum was determined in a closed tender process, meaning that the applicants submitted a specified tender for each requested licence. The process resulted in the three national licence holders together paying just over 900 million SEK (Bauer Media 408; RBS Broadcasting 306; and NENT Group 201 million SEK).

Calculated as an annual amount, the total fees paid for all licences – national and regional/local – end up at approximately the same level as in the earlier system.

What’s in it for the listeners?
Following the shift, most areas in Sweden get more radio channels. This is especially true of smaller cities, where there were often only one or two local radio stations to listen to in addition to the channels of SR, the Swedish public service broadcaster.

SR broadcasts four national channels, regional windows and some local channels, and there are also about 150 community radio stations operated mainly by non-commercial organisations.


More information from the Swedish Press and Broadcasting Authority:
Analogue radio 2018 (licences, application process, etc.) – in Swedish
Press Release 01.08.2018 – in Swedish
Strategy for licensing for analogue commercial radio 2018-2026 – in English

Statistics from Nordicom’s table database (Excel-files):
In English: Number of national, regional and local radio stations in the Nordic countries 2000-2017/2018
In Swedish: Number of national, regional and local radio stations in Sweden 1925-2018


[1] The following companies have been granted broadcasting licences: Bauer Media AB, RBS Broadcasting AB (new name: NRJ Sweden), Kilohertz AB (NENT Group, a part of MTG), DB Media AB, Mad Men Media AB (new name: Nya Radio City), Radio Nova AB (NTM) and Svenska Medietjänster AB. The list of licence holders is available at the Press and Broadcasting Authority’s website.

[2] See the respective company site for more information on stations and radio formats: Bauer Media (which cooperates with RBS/NRJ) and NENT Group.