RTBF (Radio-Télévision belge de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles) is a public-service broadcasting organization delivering radio and television services to the French-speaking Community of Belgium, in Wallonia and Brussels. Its counterpart in the Flemish Community is the Dutch-language VRT (Vlaamse Radio- en Televisieomroeporganisatie), and in the German-speaking Community it is BRF (Belgischer Rundfunk).

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

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

Radio-Télévision belge de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles
TypeBroadcast radio, television and online
OwnerFrench Community of Belgium
Launch date
  • 1930 (radio)
  • 1953 (television)
Former names
  • INR (1930–60)
  • RTB (1960–77)
Official website


Tour-RTBF Luc Viatour
The communications tower at RTBF's headquarters in Brussels.

Originally named the Belgian National Broadcasting Institute (French: 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 merged the two and 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, RTB began broadcasting news in colour.

In 1977, broadcasting became a concern for Belgium's language communities, rather than the national government as a whole. Accordingly, 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.[4] In 1979 RTbis became Télé 2.[5] Along with French channels TF1, Antenne 2, FR3 and Swiss channel TSR, RTBF jointly established the European French-speaking channel TV5 in 1984. On 21 March 1988, Télé 2 became Télé 21.[5] 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 RTBF.be.[6] The change was made because of the growing importance of new media. The '.be' suffix stresses these new developments. RTBF.be underlines that this change isn't anecdotal and that the internet has gained its place in the media landscape, just as TV and radio have done years ago.

On 11 June 2013, RTBF was one of the few European public broadcasters to join in condemning the closure of Greece's public broadcaster ERT.

RTBF logo
RTBF's former logo.

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

Television channels

Television channels are transmitted:

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 and Télé 21; began in 1977
  • La Trois (Channel Three): the quality TV channel; began in 2007; there are no commercial adverts on this channel
  • Arte Belgique: in collaboration with the Franco-German TV network Arte

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.
  • PlayStation Network

Radio channels

The RTBF broadcasts radio channels in either analogue 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 and sport Radio 2 and Sporza
Classic 21 classic rock and pop none
Pure FM young and alternative pop music Studio Brussel and 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 60s: Focus on the "Golden Sixties"
  • Classic 21 70s: Focus on music from the 1970s
  • Classic 21 80s: Focus on music from the 1980s
  • Classic 21 Classiques: Focus on Classic rock
  • OUFtivi: Web radio 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 RTBF.be'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.

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ RTBF.be (in French)
  2. ^ LaLibre.be (in French)
  3. ^ LaLibre.be (in French)
  4. ^ 1977 : La RTB devient RTBF
  5. ^ a b 1988 : Naissance de Télé 21
  6. ^ La RTBF devient RTBF.BE dès ce mercredi, La Libre Belgique, 12 January 2010
  7. ^ Bouquet Imagin
  8. ^ Included channels, PostTV

External links

Belgium in the Eurovision Song Contest

Belgium has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 60 times since making its debut as one of the seven countries at the first contest in 1956. The only countries with more appearances are Germany (62), France (61) and the United Kingdom (61). Belgium have been absent only three times in total, in 1994, 1997 and 2001, due to low scores in the previous contests that relegated them from the contest. Belgium has won the contest once, in 1986.

In the first 20 years of the contest, Belgium's best result was Tonia's fourth place in 1966. In 1978, Jean Vallée achieved Belgium's first top three placement, when he was second. Sandra Kim became the first and to date only winner for Belgium in 1986, when she won as a 13-year-old in Bergen, performing the song "J'aime la Vie". Belgium's only other top three result came in 2003, when the group Urban Trad finished second in Riga, losing out by only two points. Belgium have finished last in the contest eight times, most recently in 2000, and have twice received "nul points"; in 1962 and 1965.

After the introduction of the semi-final round in 2004, Belgium failed to reach the final for five consecutive years (2005–09). Since 2010, Belgium have become more successful, qualifying for the final in five out of nine contests and placing in the top 10 four times, with Tom Dice sixth (2010), Loïc Nottet fourth (2015), Laura Tesoro tenth (2016), and Blanche fourth (2017).

Belgium in the Eurovision Song Contest 1986

Belgium was present at the Eurovision Song Contest 1986, held in Bergen, Norway.

The Belgian national final to select their entry, Eurovision '86, was held on 2 March at the RTBF-TV Studios in Brussels, and was hosted by Patrick Duhamel. The winning song was decided by the following formula: 50% of the final tabulation would come from 12 "music experts" and 50% would come from 500 random Belgians polled to make up a fair segment of the Belgian population.

For 1986 (like in other even-numbered years), the Walloon broadcaster in Belgium, Radio télévision belge de la communauté française (RTBF), took responsibility for Eurovision song selection. As a result, all of the competing songs for 1986 were sung in French.

The winning entry was "J'aime la vie," performed by Sandra Kim, composed by Jean Paul Furnémont and Angelo Crisci, with lyrics written by Rosario Marino.

Belgium in the Eurovision Song Contest 1998

Melanie Cohl represented Belgium at the Eurovision Song Contest 1998 after winning the national final selection. Her song "Dis oui" was one of ten songs presented in the national final, which was held on 13 March 1998 at the RTBF studios in Brussels accompanied by the big orchestra of RTBF. Jean-Pierre Hautier hosted the event, and the winner was selected by televoting for the first time.

Belgium in the Eurovision Song Contest 2005

Belgium was represented at Eurovision 2005 by Nuno Resende and the song "Le Grand Soir". The French-speaking RTBF chose its representative at a national final on Sunday March 20, 2005.The event was held at the RTBF TV Studios during a special show to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Eurovision Song Contest. Only two songs were performed in that final, with the public displaying their preference for Nuno Resende's "Le grand soir" (The big night) by a wafer-thin margin. The song was written by Frédéric Zeitoun and composed by Alec Mansion.

Nuno Guilherme de Figueiredo Resende was born in Porto, Portugal, on 25 June 1973. His family immigrated to Belgium where Nuno received his degree in physical education. He started his career in the basement of his house, surrounded by his guitar and a couple of friends. Nuno also had a stage career where he performed in musicals such as Belle et la Bête, Roméo et Juliette, and Les Demoiselles de Rochefort. In the 2000 Belgian national final, Nuno competed as the lead singer of the group La Teuf who finished 6th with the song "Soldat d'amour".

Belgium in the Eurovision Song Contest 2009

Belgium were represented in the Eurovision Song Contest 2009 by the French-language broadcaster Radio Télévision Belge de la Communauté Française (RTBF), who choose the Belgian entry for the contest through an internal selection. The song did not progress from the first semi-final of the competition, finishing second to last with just one point.

Belgium in the Eurovision Song Contest 2011

Belgium participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 2011 in Düsseldorf, Germany, selecting their entry through an internet selection and a national final, organised by French speaking broadcaster RTBF (Radio télévision belge de la communauté française).

Belgium in the Eurovision Song Contest 2013

Belgium participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 2013 in Malmö, Sweden. The Belgian entry was selected through a combination of an internal selection to select the artist and a national final to select the song, organised by the Belgian broadcaster Radio Télévision Belge Francophone (RTBF). Roberto Bellarosa represented Belgium with the song "Love Kills", which qualified from the first semi-final of the competition and finished in 12th place in the final, scoring 71 points. This was Belgiums's second best placing since the introduction of the semi-finals in 2004.

Belgium in the Eurovision Song Contest 2015

Belgium participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 2015 with the song "Rhythm Inside", written by Loïc Nottet and Beverly Jo Scott. The song was performed by Loïc Nottet, who was selected by the Belgian broadcaster Radio Télévision Belge de la Communauté Française (RTBF) in November 2014 to represent the nation at the 2015 contest in Vienna, Austria. "Rhythm Inside" was internally selected as the song Loïc Nottet would perform at Eurovision and later premiered in March 2015. In the first of the Eurovision semi-finals "Rhythm Inside" placed second out of the 16 participating countries, securing its place among the 27 other songs in the final. In Belgium's fifty-seventh Eurovision appearance on 23 May, "Rhythm Inside" finished in fourth place, receiving 217 points and full marks from three countries.

Belgium in the Eurovision Song Contest 2019

Belgium will participate in the Eurovision Song Contest 2019. Eliot was selected internally by the Belgian broadcaster Radio Télévision Belge de la Communauté Française (RTBF) to represent Belgium in Tel Aviv with the song "Wake Up". The song is written by Pierre Dumoulin and was released on 28 February 2019.

Belgium in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest

Belgium has competed in every Junior Eurovision Song Contest until 2013. The country's best result was in 2009, when Laura Omloop came 4th with "Zo verliefd". Belgium's worst result was in 2007, with Trust coming 15th with "Anders".

La Deux

La Deux The Two is a Belgian national television channel, owned and operated by the French-language public-service broadcasting organization RTBF.

La Première

La Première ("The First") is a national French-language radio channel produced by the Belgian public broadcasting organization Radio télévision belge de la communauté française (RTBF).

It is a "generalist" station carrying a wide range of principally spoken-word and information-based programming, and is RTBF's main radio news channel.

It is broadcast on FM, and digital (DAB and DVB-T), as well as being streamed on the internet. It has been announced that the Medium Wave service on 621 kHz from the Wavre transmitter has already ceased on December 31, 2018.

La Trois

La Trois – (Channel) Three – is a Belgian national television channel, owned and operated by the French-language public-service broadcasting organization RTBF. It was launched on 30 November 2007 and currently distributed via digital terrestrial television, satellite, cable, and IPTV.

La Une

La Une French pronunciation: [la yn] is a Belgian national television channel, owned and operated by the French-language public-service broadcasting organization RTBF. La Une is considered the equivalent of Flemish station Eén, the first channel of the Flemish broadcaster, VRT.

List of radio stations in Belgium

The following is a list of radio stations in Belgium.

RTBF International

RTBF International is the Belgian (Wallonia) and (Brussels) international radio station owned by RTBF, available in Europe and Central Africa via satellite and online.

On 26 June 2006, RTBF International began broadcasting in FM in Kinshasa on 99.2 MHz.

RTBF ceased its shortwave service on December 31, 2009.

Although RTBF ceased its international service, it continues broadcasting from the Wavre transmitter on 621 kHz, everyday from 05:00 - 23:00, in AM with La Première broadcasting from 05:00 - 19:00, 23:00-00:00 (Monday - Friday) 06:00-14:00 (Weekend), and VivaCité broadcasting the rest of the time. It has been announced that this Medium Wave service shall cease before the end of 2018.

Sports broadcasting contracts in Belgium

This page refers to sports broadcasting contracts in Belgium. For other countries broadcast rights, see Sports television broadcast contracts.

Television in Belgium

Television in Belgium was introduced in 1953 and began with one channel each in Dutch and French.


VivaCité is a Belgian public service radio station operated by RTBF. The station launched on 29 February 2004 from the merger of regional network Fréquence Wallonie and Brussels station Bruxelles Capitale. VivaCité is the French-language equivalent of VRT Radio 2.

Radio Télévision Belge de la Communauté Française (RTBF)
Active members
Associate members and
approved participants

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