Radio has decreased its total revenues to L2.6m, which is a tiny fraction of the national GDP of L409.6m (2014). The broadcasting industry is in crisis, due to several factors, first of all many investment projects in broadcasting are not executed and many have relocated infrastructures to less complicated locations that require smaller investments and less maintenance. Secondly, the energy crisis in the country, the cost of updating technology, and the migration of radio advertising to new media such as the digital market and television are the main reasons for the crisis in Honduran radio broadcasting.
In an eminently rural country with an irregular topography, the most penetrating medium in the last 60 years has been radio. The first radio stations were born at the same time as the law regulating telephony and the national post system. For example, Radio Tropical was born in 1928 and HRN in 1933, both belonging to the current Televicentro Group. Today these stations continue to have significant audience, especially in rural areas such as Intibuca, Lempira and Santa Barbara in Western Honduras, where the most listeners are found in the population of 35 to 55 years of age.
There are 432 radio frequencies issued in the country: 133 are religious (Evangelical, Protestant and Catholic Church), 19 belong to NGOs, 19 are owned by the government (Radio Nacional), 73 belong to America Multimedia, 53 to United Stations and the rest belong to smaller groups. According to Conatel "there are 102 active licenses of the 432 in force, the Televicentro corporation with 21.13 percent, followed by the sum of the Catholic Church with 8.54 percent and the Evangelical Church with 3.9 percent, public television and public radio with 6.7 percent, the National Congress 3.35 percent, the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras (Autonomous National University of Honduras) with 0.52 percent and the secretary of the presidency with 2.84 percent" of FM and AM radio frequencies. It should be noted that several radio stations have national reach, especially Radio América and HRN. Moreover, these two groups today have been joined by other media groups that are investing in radio, such as Radio Globo, HCH radio, GrupoVisión Honduras and others that have managed to obtain authorised frequencies of national coverage. It is especially the case of radios that are administered by both Catholic and Evangelical religious groups. According to Latino Barómetro a total of 33 percent of the population use radio as their main source of information.
At the same time, it is important to mention that the reforms of media legislation and acquisition procedures made it easier for community radio stations to obtain a license to operate, but also for private individuals to get permissions to open new radio and tv channels. This was possible after 2013, due to the change of frequency ranges from 300 to 400 MHz, which allowed more radio and television frequencies to be integrated into the dial. It was decided to reserve 33 percent of frequencies for community radios, 33 percent for commercial media and 33 percent for public media. The national radio (Radio Honduras) is facing one of its biggest crises since its foundation (lacking technological updates, staff and budget), while the rest of government channels, including television, survive by following governmental lines for their programmes. Given this panorama, the commercial sector consolidated, and several practices of granting frequencies have been object of questioning, such as: the automatic renewal of frequencies, having an auction as the mechanism for granting frequencies and the possibility of passing television and radio stations in inheritance, without consideration of the qualification of the inheriting parties. The Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (Inter-American Commission on Human Rights - IACHR), which oversees the right to communication, has raised these observations to the Honduran state on different occasions.
After 2013 this scenario changed. The emergence of Honduran civil society organisations with the community radio movement, plus international pressure for the democratisation of the radio spectrum made the Honduran state recognise community media (radio, television, Internet, cable), through an administrative resolution of the telecommunications regulatory body in Honduras. This resolution, due to its administrative nature, is an explicit recognition of existence, although the community radio movement aspires to a constitutional recognition of community media as the third sector of communications in the telecommunications framework law and in the Constitution of the Republic (LMT).
According to the report of the Committee for Freedom of Expression in Honduras (C-LIBRE) "the community sector barely has 0.26 percent of the total licenses that operate a radio station." In this map in 2014, the first community radio station in the Honduran capital, RDS Radio, was installed, which with a proposal of education, entertainment and use of digital platforms and social networks (Apps, streaming on Facebook) is disputed and captivates a good segment of the capital's radial audience.
It should be noted that various social movements have managed to install community radios, such as PLAY FM, the feminist online radio ROJITA and others run by youth movements, peasant women, indigenous communities and peasant groups. These radios promise to improve the plurality of voices and social and cultural diversity. They offer programmes and formats adapted to their audience, as well as defined by AMARC in its concepts of community broadcasting What makes a radio station community?. Community radio, rural radio, cooperative radio, participatory radio, free radio, alternative, popular, educational: Their practices and profiles are even more varied. Some are musical, others social and others of a mixed nature. They are located both in isolated rural areas and in the heart of cities. Their signals have a range that varies from a radius of one kilometer, to the entire territory of a country or in other parts of the world via shortwave.
Radio continues to be the medium with the highest penetration, especially in rural areas. The indigenous peoples of Honduras, despite their condition of exclusion and abandonment, have managed to install 23 community stations in five of the seven indigenous towns; the majority operating on "free frequency" and two community open TV frequencies, still in the process of being installed. Despite the fact that technological advances and the penetration of new media in indigenous peoples is advanced, the digital divide is still very strong and community radio in FM analogous is the one that complements communication needs. The development of its contents is still empirical and its local newscasts are generalists.
In the country, emigration to digital radio (DAB) is not yet a reality; there are no technological or financial conditions for radio companies to migrate to this new platform. To conclude, radio stations are beginning to transit towards online radio, although this is still a very weak, but advancing trend. Without a doubt, the major radio stations are those most likely to have an App, or streaming services. Online radio is more listened to in the large cities rather than in rural areas, where the analogue FM platform is still dominant.