Talk Radio Stations in the UK

We all love a bit of banter and many radio hosts seem to have the gift of the gab. So, here is a list of some of the UK’s best talk radio stations. Whether you enjoy a good giggle, thought provoking content or just like keeping on top of the news and current affairs, there’ll be something for you below!

BBC Radio 4

Website: bbc.co.uk/radio4

This classic BBC radio station replaced BBC Home Service in 1967 and is home to comedy, drama, news, science and a plethora of other subjects. With the slogan “Intelligent speech, the most insightful journalism, the wittiest comedy, the most fascinating features and the most compelling drama and readings anywhere in UK radio”, it’s clear that you’re going to get a lot of quality speech content.

With the presenter line-up including John Humphrys, Justin Webb and Martha Kearney as well as popular shows like The Archers, Desert Island Discs, Just a Minute and Woman’s Hour, there’s something for everyone. Tuning in is super easy across a multitude of radio portals and it’s simple to listen again online, so you never need miss your favourite shows.

How to listen:

  • FM – 92.5 – 96.1 MHz
  • LW – 198 kHz
  • MW – 603, 720, 774, 756, 1449, 1485 kHz
  • DAB – 12B
  • Freesat – 704
  • Freeview – 704
  • Sky – 104
  • Virgin Media – 904 (910 in Ireland)
  • Online Radio 4 website
  • App

 

BBC Radio 4 Extra

Website: bbc.co.uk/radio4extra

If Radio 4 wasn’t enough for you, you can now catch up and listen again to many Radio 4 programmes on BBC Radio 4 Extra. This station has been broadcasting since 2011 as Radio 4 Extra, but was previously known as Radio 7 from 2002-2011 when it also broadcast content for children.

It’s not just archives and repeats on this station, you will also find extra content including companion or extended versions of programmes that were previously broadcast on BBC Radio 4.

You can expect to hear a very similar array of programming to sister station Radio 4, including the same much-loved classics like The Archers as well as spin off programmes, documentary pieces and archived programmes from previous decades.

Because of the nature of the programmes, a lot of the broadcast content is pre-recorded, so there isn’t much opportunity to get involved and interact with the presenters.

How to listen:

  • DAB – 12B
  • Freesat – 708
  • Freeview – 708
  • Sky – 131
  • Virgin Media – 910 (929 in Ireland)
  • Online – Radio 4 Extra website
  • App

 

BBC Radio 5 live

Website: bbc.co.uk/5live

If you like to get involved and call in to voice your views or share a story, then you might like Radio 5 Live. On the air since 1994, this station covers live news, sports, interviews and phone-ins. Radio 5 Live reports breaking news stories as they unfold and covers sporting events happening in the UK or events involving British competitors.

Some of the presenters you can expect to hear on Radio 5 Live include Anna Foster, Nihal Arthanayake and Colin Murray amongst many others. If you like to call up and have a chat with radio presenters, you might want to tune in at 9 am on a weekday to talk with Clare McDonnell about the day’s biggest story.

If you just like to listen, then you can tune in any time for the latest stories and interviews, covering a whole manner of subjects, including music, finance, sport and business!

How to listen:

  • MW – 693, 909, 990 kHz
  • DAB – 12B
  • Freesat – 705
  • Freeview – 705
  • Sky – 105 (UK only)
  • Virgin Media – 905 (911 in Ireland)
  • Online – Radio 5 Live website
  • App

 

BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra

Website: bbc.co.uk/5livesportsextra

If you’re all about sports, then you might want to try this sister station to Radio 5 Live. BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra has been broadcasting since 2002 and brings you the most recent sports news and live coverage of events.

This station doesn’t broadcast 24/7, as it only broadcasts when there are sports to cover and does not simulcast (play content of another radio station) in the hours when there isn’t sports coverage. Radio 5 Live Sports Extra also doesn’t interrupt broadcasting at all, so there aren’t any news bulletins or travel announcements.

This digital and online radio station shares a lot of presenters with Radio 5 Live but covers a lot of extra sport which does not fit into the sister station schedule. 5 Live Sports Extra covers cricket, swimming, tennis, baseball, hockey and Formula 1 to name but a few.

How to listen:

 

BBC World Service

Website: bbc.co.uk/worldserviceradio

This BBC radio station is the world’s largest international broadcaster. The launch of this station took place in December of 1932 as BBC Empire Service, which was aimed at English-speaking listeners across the British Empire.

After 1938 multiple foreign-language services were broadcast including services in Arabic, German and several European languages. This led the station to rename itself to BBC Overseas Service in 1939. Service continued to improve and the amount of languages covered became vast, leading to the station rebranding to the current name, BBC World Service in 1965.

This station has since opted to stop certain language transmissions as many countries were listening to broadcasts in English, but still caters to a very wide audience. English-language programming includes mainly news and analysis, with programmes like Newsday, Newshour and World Update, but does cover small amounts of sport, science, technology and health. Presenters/announcers include David Austin, Sue Montgomery and Jerry Smit.

How to listen:

  • FM – Overnight (1am to 5:30am) on the Radio 4 frequency (92.5 – 96.1 MHz)
  • DAB – 12B
  • Freesat – 711
  • Freeview – 710
  • Sky – 115
  • Virgin Media – 906
  • Online – BBC World Service website
  • App

 

LBC

Website: lbc.co.uk

LBC’s motto is ‘Leading Britain’s Conversation’, so if you like talk radio, you should enjoy tuning into this station. This is another station for those who like to participate in conversations and discussions, as they do regular phone-in features.

This station is owned by Global and was formerly known as the London Broadcasting Company. It first aired in 1973 and was home to some big-name presenters like Jon Snow, Adrian Love and Bel Mooney, whose careers were sparked by being on LBC.

Current presenters include Clive Bull, Shelagh Fogarty, Steve Allen and Nigel Farage, with shows covering news, controversial topics and politics amongst other themes. LBC has been known in the past for controversy and the expression of opinions which may cause shock or offense, so it seems this station would be perfect for those who love a good old debate!

How to listen:

  • FM – 97.3 MHz (London)
  • DAB – 12C (London) 11D (Nationwide)
  • Freesat – 734
  • Freeview – 732
  • Sky – 124
  • Virgin Media – 919
  • Talk Talk TV – 627
  • Online – LBC website
  • App

 

talkSPORT

Website: talksport.com

This Wireless Group owned radio station started life as Talk Radio UK in 1995 before changing to talkSPORT in 2000. As you can tell by the name, talkSPORT is a radio station dedicated to sport, so you can expect sports commentary, interviews, news and discussion. There are also phone-in segments in which listeners are invited to call in to discuss the current sporting event at hand or just generally express opinions or thoughts.

Current presenters on talkSPORT include Alan Brazil, Natalie Sawyer and Jim White, all of whom can be texted or called throughout their shows. Sports that are regularly covered include football (talkSPORT are the official broadcasters of the Premier League), cricket, boxing, tennis and golf amongst others. This is definitely the station for the football-mad and sports-lovers!

How to listen:

  • MW – 1053, 1071, 1089, 1107 kHz
  • DAB – 11D (England/Wales/N. Ireland) 12A (Scotland)
  • Freeview – 723
  • Sky – 108
  • Virgin Media – 927
  • Online – talkSPORT
  • App

 

TalkRADIO

Website: talkradio.co.uk

The sister station to talkSPORT, talkRADIO covers a whole manner of subjects outside of sports. This station’s history dates back to February 1995, when an AM radio station called Talk Radio was launched. Talk Radio wasn’t as success at first, so it became Talksport, dropping all non-sport content. Talk Radio was reintroduced as talkRADIO on DAB digital radio in the 2000s and currently hosts several big names in radio: Eamonn Holmes, Paul Ross and Sam Delaney (plus others).

TalkRADIO’s aim is to “shake up speech radio” and the presenters aren’t afraid speak their mind as they cover tough issues, celebrity gossip, breaking news stories and current affairs. There’s lots of variety, so there’s sure to be something for the avid talk radio fan. There are also opportunities to call or text in with your own opinions, which is perfect if you like to get involved in the conversation!

How to listen:

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