Tilos Radio is:
- independent, diversified
- non-profit, public and transparent
- caters for all musical audiences
- socially aware, and in touch with listeners
- a forum of the past, present and future generations.
The Tilos Cultural (non-profit) Foundation, and Tilos Radio itself started operation on August 21, 1991 in Budapest.
Tilos Radio is a popular Hungarian public radio station. Its structure, operation, programming, non-profit model, basic principles and values are one of a kind in Hungary and the radio played a key role at the time of Hungary's EU accession in promoting and popularizing the philosophy of an open cultural and civil society as well as in its everyday implementation of these fundamental values.
Tilos Radio started its broadcast on 21 August 1991 in Budapest at FM 95.5. Tilos Radio was the first independent radio station of “category three” (not commercial and not public-service) in Hungary, or as the law puts it: a non-profit radio station.
Since there was a moratorium on frequencies in the early 1990s Tilos started out as an underground “pirate radio station”. It started out broadcasting for four hours three times a week, extending this to 168 hours a week within a year. This in itself is proof day to day that a non-commercial, completely non-profit community radio has a reason to be and is able to operate on its own: none of the editors or the programmakers have ever received payment for their work. Tilos has never broadcast commercials, its programs were never up for sponsorship.
In line with the Frequency Act that later came into force, Tilos Radio suspended its broadcast in the summer of 1993 and applied to the authorities for permission to establish a studio. This permission was granted to Tilos in the spring of 1995.
From September 1, 1995 to August 29, 2000, the now legal Tilos Radio broadcast on FM 98.00 in Budapest for 12 hours a day, from 10 am to 10 pm. Following broadcast on this shared frequency it applied for an independent frequency in 2000 without success. As a result, from August 30 it continued as an online broadcaster on the internet 24 hours a day. After receiving several 1-month broadcast permits, in March 2003 Tilos Radio finally won the licence to broadcast on FM 90.3.
Tilos Radio’s objectives and basic principles have remained the same since its establishment: we have always wanted to operate a round-the-clock, non-profit, independent community radio station, which broadcasts in Budapest and has a theme, style and musical profile very different from that of the other stations.
Tilos Radio fills an empty niche, since it is constantly searching for the possibilities of renewing the radio genre. Tilos Radio is progressive as it aspires to adopt and develop the most efficient model of non-profit community media. Tilos Radio improves democracy because it is interactive, Tilos Radio is accessible and most importantly, Tilos Radio belongs to its audience.
Tilos Radio operates in a genre different from public and commercial radio stations’, its approach, tone, programming policy and financing techniques are different from those of the other “type 3” radio stations. (2022)