Ríkisútvarpið (RÚV) ('The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service') is Iceland's national public-service broadcasting organization.
Operating from studios in the country's capital, Reykjavík, as well as regional centres around the country, the service broadcasts an assortment of general programming to a wide national audience via three radio channels: Rás 1 and Rás 2, available internationally; Rondó (only on the Internet and digital radio); and one full-time television channel. There is also a supplementary, part-time TV channel, RÚV 2, which transmits live coverage of major cultural and sporting events, both domestic and foreign, as required.
RÚV began radio broadcasting in 1930 and its first television transmissions were made in 1966. In both cases coverage quickly reached nearly every household in Iceland. RÚV is funded by a broadcast receiving licence fee collected from every income tax payer, as well as from a limited amount of on-air advertising. RÚV has been a full active member of the European Broadcasting Union since 1956.
Since 1986, the year in which its monopoly as the only permitted domestic broadcaster ended, RÚV has faced competition from a number of private broadcasting companies, most notably the 365 corporation.
RÚV is obliged by the terms of its charter to "promote the Icelandic language, Icelandic history, and Iceland's cultural heritage" and "honour basic democratic rules, human rights, and the freedom of speech and opinion".It carries a substantial amount of arts, media, and current affairs programming, in addition to which it also supplies general entertainment in the form of feature films and such internationally popular television drama series as Lost and Desperate Housewives. RÚV's lineup also includes sports coverage, documentaries, domestically produced entertainment shows, and children's programming.
The RÚV newsroom, providing news for both television and radio, is amongst the most time-honoured and respected in Iceland. On weekdays the Rás 2 radio network includes 35 minutes of regional opt-outs for local news coverage.
Gettu betur is a popular annual quiz tournament pitting teams from senior secondary schools around Iceland against each other in five rounds which are broadcast on radio and TV. Also popular viewing is the Eurovision Song Contest, to which RÚV has sent participants on Iceland's behalf since 1986. In sports, RÚV traditionally carries live coverage of such major events as the Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup, although it lost the right to broadcast the 2006 World Cup, having been outbid by commercial broadcaster 365 in 2002. It did, however, show the 2010 World Cup tournament.