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Memoria e Ricerca

From radios pirates to radios locales privées: the free radios in France and the fall of monopoly (1977-1989)

di Raffaello Ares Doro
in Memoria e Ricerca n.s. 42 (2013), p. 147

The evolution of free radios in France between 1977 and 1989 contributed to redefine the French audiovisual landscape determining the end of the public monopoly of the broadcasting service. Free radios represented one of the last evolutions of May ’68, expressing the point of view of minority political groups and of local communities. After a period of illegality between 1977 and 1981, free radios were allowed with the election of François Mitterrand in May 1981. Despite various attempts by the socialist government to maintain these new media inside the associative sector, forbidding fundings from commercials and the concentration among radios, the broadcasting stations started to be influenced by market logics. However, the intervention of political groups aimed at regulating the radiophonic sector – unlike it was happening in Italy during those same years – guaranteed the existence of associative and community radios through public grants, proving the social importance of alternative mass media, local for contents and radiophonic organization. Key Words: free radios, broadcasting, deregulation, monopoly, French politics, legal order.