FIP (or France Inter Paris) was created in 1971, by Jean Garetto and Pierre Codou, two organizers and producers of France Inter, at the time known for their programming of the weekend programme ‘The Ear in Corner’. The reason was apparently partially as an anti ‘road-rage’ station for the Paris periphique, (the equivalent of the M25).
The station forms part of the Radio France group. It rests on a concept which has not varied much since its creation: an eclectic based musical program with a slight jazz bias intersected with road and cultural information and a short news bulletin every at 50 minutes every hour and without any commercials.
The station is live from 7 Hrs to 23 Hrs, (European Time) but carries automated playout from 23 Hrs to 7 Hrs using sections of the musical programming from the previous days. The musical program is completely eclectic, mixing all kinds music: folk, rock’n'roll, world, traditional, film music, jazz, classical, etc but with a particular direction to the sequence, which subtly shifts bias from genre to genre. It is a very rare and unique kind of station in the world, using as it does a modified ‘wave’ format technique (unlike almost all other music stations that rely on the ‘clock’ format model.) This is carefully put together by a group of seven or eight programmers who are all expert in different areas of music.
Compilations of the music are available as collections in each genre as ‘La collection fip’ on the website. Also available are recordings of live concerts broadcast on the station; ‘Live à fip’. There are also details of the current featured albums, normally five or so which are the play list. There is also an archive of the last four years of featured albums listed.
Since its creation, the only change in style was made in 1982; a daily program devoted to jazz. Jazz programs are from19.30 to 21 H, seven days a week. The opening signature comes from a tune by Joe Zawinul entitled Silovfip. The station was created in 1971.
The radio is transmitted on 585 KHz on medium wave in Paris and also on FM. In addition to the programming, it is the tone of the announcements that are noticeable; soft and sweet and announcing the traffic hold-ups with humour and irony. So much so that two well known French comedians Guy Bedos and Sophie Daumier devote a sketch to this style.
The transmissions of the station extend to the provinces (Lyon, Marseilles, etc), the cable system and Internet and the news bulletins are taken with local cultural and road information inserted for the relay transmitters. FIP followed the technical developments made by Radio France and passed successively to FM mono then to stereo. Being a niche radio service within a public utility, FIP has been little touched by the revolution in the French radio landscape since 1981. Nevertheless, as radio audiences and marketing matured in the1990’s Radio France sacrificed the transmitters of FIP to benefit new stations, initially for the France Blue network, then particularly with the launching of Mouv’ in 1997 in Toulouse, because of a overlap in similar musical programming. So FIP gradually saw a shrinking of its transmission territory. Since 2003, it only has transmitters in Bordeaux (96.7), Nantes (95.7) and Saint-Nazaire (97.2), Paris and Island-of-France (105.1), and Strasbourg (92.3). In July 2006, FIP returned to Montpellier (99.7).
The smallest station of the Radio France group, it is nevertheless the station which maintains the principal musical sustaining service for the Radio France group, particularly in the event of breakdown or of strike, and for some overnight sustaining services. It is has been on the Internet since 2003, and covers most of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East using the Astra, Hotbird and Atlantic 3 satellites. It is also available in some Pacific regions via a Telstar satellite.
The musical program and the news and cultural information are common to the whole of the FIP, and are distributed from the studios of Radio France in Paris. Announcers on the other hand are local; coming from the studios of FIP at the Radio France building in Paris for the Island of France; in Nantes for Nantes and St Nazaire; and from studios in Bordeaux and Strasbourg for those cities. Simone Herault, one of the initial voices of FIP, is the voice of the announcements of SNCF the French rail network. Among the other “famous” voices of FIP there is also Kriss, one of the first announcers of the station, now heard internationally today on the transmissions of France Inter.