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Mass Media in Spain

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The arrival of democracy in Spain had innumerable consequences for the political, social and economic order – just to name a few spheres. Leaving behind a dictatorial regime and recovering freedom of expression deeply affected the field of communications and journalism, which had been controlled and restricted by the Franco regime for almost half a century. The emergence of new media was undeniable, although many did not survive much longer than a few years. Likewise, there was a consolidation of the largest media groups, despite them having been affected by the demands of censorship.

Since then we’ve seen important journals and radio stations disappear whilst at the same time, we’ve witnessed the birth of other media formats and outlets, such as the internet and the television. The number of TV channels grew slowly and steadily. The two original public television channels (TVE) were joined by regional channels and, later on, private channels (Antena 3, Telecinco and, 10 years later, Cuatro and La Sexta), which are today part of a huge catalogue of broadcasters that also brought us cable and satellite platforms and, recently, digital terrestrial television (TDT).

tv channels in spain Spanish Press
As far as radio goes, our public radio – the veteran Radio Nacional de España with its different stations – is still as relevant as ever. Other important radio broadcasters with long, venerable histories behind them, such as Cadena Ser, Onda Cero, Cadena 100 or la COPE, were joined by others which, today, have become dominant (Punto Radio) and the “radio formats” (monothematic radio stations), including Los 40 Principales, Europa FM, Kiss FM or M-80 Radio. The new option of listening to the radio through TDT or the internet has boosted slumping audiences for a format which had to overcome a period of uncertainty.

The press, for which some foresee a slow extinction at the hands of digital media is still alive and kicking and continues to be served by several giants of journalism. Every day, millions of readers buy their preferred newspaper, many of which have decades of experience, such as El País, El Mundo, ABC or La Vanguardia. In the past few years other publications, such as La Razón or Público, have also emerged and become consolidated both locally and nationally. The local-national division was also significantly affected by the advent of free dailies, of which some still survive, such as 20 Minutos, Qué! or ADN.

Many of these mass media outlets, press, television and radio included, have been clever enough to realize the growing importance of the internet and its informative potential, to which they are increasingly adapted thanks to digital editions which, someday, may substitute the printed editions we all grew up with.

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