Broadcast media remains under state control, although senior Ministry of Information officials have indicated there is a gradual plan to allow a greater proportion of community radio content on the airwaves. Channels have been launched in several ethnic areas, and in early 2018, the first official community radio program Khayae FM — covering agriculture, livestock, health, education, entertainment and news — was launched in Yangon’s Htantabin Township. In the past this sort of broadcast would have been illegal. During the junta years, programs transmitted abroad such as Voice of America, Radio Free Asia, Democratic Voice of Burma, BBC and Radio Australia were popular and accessible.
Radio’s popularity has endured in rural areas; however the advent of smartphones appears to have had an impact on this. This has not, as yet, been quantified. A handful of commercial radio stations such as Shwe FM and Cherry FM operate alongside Myanmar Radio, state-run under the auspices of MRTV.