Señal Colombia is a Colombian national television channel established and funded by the government. Its aim is to broadcast educational and cultural programmes that reflect the local culture and tastes of the Colombian population. Launched in 1970 as Canal 11, it was known as Cadena Tres or Canal Tres in the late 1980s and early 1990s and has used its current name since December 13, 1995.
Channel 11 in Bogotá took to the air in 1970 as what was then the second channel of Inravisión, primarily intended as an adult education service and complement to the more general format of Televisora Nacional. With the expropriation of Teletigre in 1971 and resulting shuffle of Colombia’s television stations, channel 11 became the Tercera Cadena behind Televisora Nacional (rebadged Primera Cadena) and the new Segunda Cadena.
The name was changed several times in the 1980s and early 1990s, to Cadena 3 in 1984 and then Canal 3 as of 1992. On December 13, 1995, the channel, which had become the cultural alternative to the mixed commercial service of the other two channels, became known as Señal Colombia.
In 2013, Radio Televisión Nacional de Colombia, the successor to Inravisión, was renamed Señal Colombia Sistema de Medios Públicos.
Señal Colombia has long had a history of being a public service and culturally-oriented channel, including educational programs in its schedule. In addition, especially in the final years of Inravisión, it was the home to institutional programming and legislative sessions. The creation of Señal Institucional in late 2003 led to those programs moving there.
In recent years Señal Colombia has increased its transmission of major sporting events, including the Olympic Games and FIFA World Cup, which have significantly boosted its ratings. Outside of those events, its schedule includes many children’s programs, educational shows and older Colombian television productions, but lacks regular news and public affairs programming, which is a specialty of Señal Institucional with its multiple newscasts from international news outlets.