Monday, August 22, 2022


It's very difficult to write about the Basque as an outsider not speaking Euskara. Because very few people speak Euskara there's very little editing to information webpages. Even within the rigid machinations of Wikipedia the data is poor. Their article about Radio Euzkadi is a first person diatribe dated to 2011 about the 2008 cessation of broadcasts. It's not exactly high quality source material, but let's start there.

It explains some history, I'll convey the tale with some additional historical background. President José Antonio Aguirre, fled the dictatorship of Francisco Franco in 1940 and lived in exile in Paris, Berlin, Belgium, Sweden and eventually New York and Uruguay. (The article refers to him simply as "the Legend often" He had been dreaming of a way to use mass media to reconnect the Basque people, to promote their language and culture. He died still in exile in Paris in 1960 after starting that very project. 

Their first transmitter was acquired thanks through a joint project between the Basques of America, and the Councilor of the Basque Government, José María de LaSarte and collaborated on a way to smuggle a transmitter into Europe. In 1946 Aguirre used his diplomatic credentials to smuggle radio equipment into Marseille. The story claims that French government was informed but officially was not aware of their activities. Twenty-four hours later the boxes arrived in Donibane where Joseba de Rezola received the equipment.After being quickly assembled it's first announcer was Ander "Luzear" Arzeluz who played a recording of ezpatadantza bizkaina.

It also recalls a tale about a Parish priest of Mouguerre (Laburdi) who hosted the station in his own home in a later period of it's operation. After strong pressure by the French authorities under the Francoist government their eventually yielded and Radio Euzkadi was shut down.

From a 2008 cache of their website "" I was able to recover a complete list of their frequencies and locations (below). Their original website disappeared in 2008. This would be from shortly after the peak of their era. In 2015 they launched a new page at "" with completely different content.

Band Frequency  Center  Coverage  Country
AM 962 KHz
Estibaliz Araba Araba
AM 756 KHz Ganguren (Artxanda) Bizkaia Bizkaia
AM 819 KHz Miramon (Donostia) Gipuzkoa Gipuzkoa
FM 87.9 MHz
Herrera (Laguardia) Arabako Errioxa Araba
FM 90.1 MHz  Ioar (Sta. Cruz de Campezo) Arabako egoaldea Araba
FM 89.7 MHz Txibiarte (Amurrio) Aialako arana Araba
FM 90.9 MHz Zaldiaran (Gasteiz)
Gasteiz Araba
FM 92.4 MHz Demiku (Bermeo) Busturialdea Bizkaia
FM 91.7 MHz Ganeta (Bilbo) Bilbo Handia Bizkaia
FM 95.7 MHz Garbea (Balmaseda) Enkarterriak Bizkaia
FM 103.2 MHz Oiz
 Durangaldea eta Lea Artibai Bizkaia
FM 96.6 MHz Pico del Moro (Carranza)
Enkarterriak Bizkaia
FM 95.7
Elosu (Bergara) Leniz eta Urola  Gipuzkoa
FM 90.5
Igeldo (Donostia) Donostialdea Gipuzkoa
FM 96.5
Jaizkibel (Hondarribia) Bidasoaldea Gipuzkoa
FM 98.2
Karakate (Elgoibar) Deba Garaia Gipuzkoa
FM 96.9
Ollaun (Tolosa) Tolosaldea Gipuzkoa
X 99.4
Usurbe (Beasain)
Goierri Gipuzkoa
X 98.0
Txindurreta (Zarautz)

We do know why broadcasts ceased in 2008. At 11:00 AM on December 31st, 2008, the headquarters of the EITB Group in Bilbao, Radio Euskadi was bombed by a terrorist group called the ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna). They used a van loaded with 220 lbs bomb materials parked close to the offices. One person was injured. The force of the blast blew out the windows of the glass facade and smoke covered the six story building. An hour before the detonation, a caller warned Bilbao firefighters. More here and here.  In February 2009 Ibai Beobide was arrested for the bombing. More here.

The reasons for the bombing were mixed. Some political groups saw EITB as co-opted by the Spanish government and ineffective at preserving their culture. The ETA had a much more radical agenda and had it's supporters. It's hard to determine the alliances of something this large and complex. But the ineffectiveness of Radio Euzkadi is measurable. Their ratings were down. You can see that trend line below:

They did recover form the 2008 bombing but in a diminished form.  Their listenership continued to decline thereafter. In 2004 the station peaked at 259,000 listeners. From that time forward trend continued downward. and, according to the general summary of the EGM in March 2011, the audience was down to 151,000 listeners. 

Also from the old Radio Euskadi wbsite was a timeline of Basque radio.

  • 1925 - The first radio station of the Basque Country is created in EAJ 8 Radio San Sebastian
  • Radio Club Vizcaya and Radio Vizcaya are created in the 20s. After buying the company Union Radio, it will close these Bizkaia radio stations
  • 1930 - Radio Bilbao, Radio Vitoria and Radio Pamplona are created in the decade.
  • 1950s -  The radios of the organization called "Movimiento" will be created. La Voz de Guipúzcoa, La Voz de Álava, La Voz de Navarra, Radio Juventud de Bilbao, Radio Juventud de Eibar and Radio Tudela.50 decade Parish radio stations are created. Segura Radio, Loyola Radio, Arrate Radio, Tolosa Radio, Monasterio Radio, Irurita Radio and Berruete Radio. The Basque government's Euzkadi Radio will broadcast its information and opinions from Venezuela.
  • 1964 Church radios were closed by the Madrid government. A year later, Loyola Radio returns to F.M. in the band
  • 1960s - Donostia, Bilbao and Pamplona Public Radio will be created. Also the Donostia radio station of the Spanish Radio Nacional channel.
  • 1970s -  RNE of Bilbao will be created. And through Loyola Radio, under the name of Radio Adour-Navarre, special programs towards the North will begin
  • 1980s - Arrate Radio starts its broadcasts again. Also Euskadi Irrati and Radio Euskadi. The Cadena SER channel will return to Vitoria-Gasteiz, with a new FM radio station
  • 1990s - The rest of the Basque Country's radio stations were created.

EITB recovered from the bombing quickly. They remain the leading media group in the Basque Autonomous Community of Spain with four domestic television channels and five radio stations. But their five radio stations Euskadi Irratia, Radio Euskadi, Radio Vitoria, Euskadi Gaztea and EITB Musika only add up to 300,000 listeners per day.

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