RTBF (Radio-Télévision Belge de la Communauté Française) 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).

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

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).


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.

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 digital format (using DAB and DVB-T). All channels are also broadcast live over the Internet.

Analogue and digital

NameTypeVRT equivalent
La Premièrenews, information, talk and cultureRadio 1
VivaCitégeneral pop music, regional news and sportRadio 2 and Sporza
Classic 21classic rock and popnone
Pure FMyoung and alternative pop musicStudio Brussel and MNM
Musiq'3classical and jazz music plus operaKlara
RTBF MixDAB station airing in Flanders, with a selection of programs from La Première, VivaCité and Classic 21None

Digital-only channels

  • 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 90s: Focus on music from the 1990s
  • Classic 21 Blues: Focus on Blues
  • Classic 21 Metal: Focus on Metal
  • {{lang|fr|Classic 21 Route66}: Focus on Route 66 music
  • {{lang|fr|Classic 21 Soul Power}: Focus on Soul
  • OUFtivi: Web radio for children from 8 to 13 years old.
  • Pure FM Like: Focus on new talents
  • Pure FM Lazy: Focus on relaxed music
  • Tarmac: Focus on urban music

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

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