Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) (Korean: 한국 방송 공사, Hanguk Bangsong Gongsa) is a South Korean radio and television network, founded in 1927. It is the biggest out of the four major South Korean television networks.


KBS began as Kyeongseong Broadcasting Corporation (JODK) that was established by the Governor-General of Korea in Korea on February 16, 1927. This second radio station started using the call sign HLKA in 1947 after the Republic of Korea got the call sign HL of the International Telecommunication Union. After doing a national broadcast, the radio was renamed Seoul Central Broadcasting Station in 1948.

Television broadcasts began on December 31, 1961 with the launch of KBS 1TV originally known as KBS-TV. KBS station status changed from government to public broadcasting station on March 3, 1973. KBS headquarters in Yeouido started construction in 1976. In 1979, KBS radio began broadcasting on the FM wave with the launch of KBS 1FM.

Differing from other public broadcasters in the world that does not accept advertising, apart from television fees, part of KBS revenue also come from advertisers. KBS began to accept advertising in 1980 after the forced merger of some private commercial broadcasting stations like Tongyang Broadcasting Company (TBC), which some consider the forerunner of JTBC, and Dong-A Broadcasting System (DBS), the former body of Channel A, into KBS by the military government. Under the Chun Doo-hwan regime, South Korea’s media policy had changed; the regime closed several private commercial radio and television stataions and merged them with KBS. After the merger with Tongyang Broadcasting Company (TBC) and DBS, KBS changed the name of these channels to from DBS to KBS Radio 5 (now a defunct radio station. 792kHz frequency now owned by Seoul Broadcasting System.) (AM) TBC-FM to KBS Cool FM and television station TBC-TV to KBS 2TV in 1980 and created KBS 3TV and Educational FM in 1981.

On December 27, 1990, KBS 3TV and Educational FM split from KBS and changed its name to Educational Broadcasting System (EBS). After the revision of the television fee collection system in 1994, KBS 1TV no longer airs commercials.


KBS is a ‘public organization’ that, by law, receives public funding from the South Korean government but is independently managed. As mentioned on the South Korean Constitution, the president of KBS is recommended by its board of directors to the President of South Korea. Political parties in South Korea have the right to name members of the board of directors of KBS. Since the President of South Korea usually has leadership over the members of the ruling party, KBS’s president is considered to be designated by the President of South Korea. This procedure has incurred worries of political intervention in KBS’s governance and has led to many thinking that the current system of recruiting needs to be revised.

Around 37.8% of its revenue comes from a mandatory Television Licence Fee, while 47.6% of the revenue comes from commercial advertisement sales.[1] For national or governmental programs such as International Radio service (KBS World Radio) and the Radio service for physically handicapped people, KBS receives public funds from the South Korean government.

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