Telemadrid is the first autonomous public television station of Madrid and the fifth national station, after those of Catalonia, Basque Country, Galicia and Andalusia. It is affiliated with FORTA since its inception, and it is a public channel that belongs exclusively to the autonomous government of Madrid. It began its broadcast on 2 May 1989 in Madrid. Since then, the programming has been dominated by educational programs directed towards the population of that region. Since Madrid is the capital of the country, it puts special emphasis on national political information. As with many other autonomous Spanish networks, Telemadrid suffered greatly during the Spanish financial crisis and requested €88m from the Spanish government to prevent it from becoming bankrupt.
Telemadrid was created by the PSOE government (Spanish Socialist Party) when Joquin Leguina was the president of the Madrid Autonomous Region. During its first years, Telemadrid occupied the buildings of the Agencia EFE, where it suffered a terrorist attack from the terrorist group at lunchtime on 29 May 1993 GRAPO, yet suffered no victims. In fact, the event was covered live on Telemadrid. On 11 March 1997 they celebrated the opening of their current location, in the Ciudad de la Imagen, in Pozuelo de Alarcón, Madrid. The building, which was called "special interest" on World Architecture Day in October 1997, holds all of the production centers for the radio-television entity.
The programming of Telemadrid has always revolved around the lives of madrileños, focusing on information, sports, children's programming, series and movies and politics. Some of their shows have been exported to other autonomous regional television stations, and even to other national television stations like "Buenos días, Madrid" or "Madrid Directo". During its lifetime, it has featured such shows as "La banda de Telemadrid", "Cyberclub", "Top Madrid", "Todo Madrid", "Gran Vía", "Fútbol es fútbol", and "En acción". Currently, the lineup of the station is made up of more than eight hours of information in many different formats: "Telenoticias", "Círculo a primera hora", "Alto y claro", "Diario de la noche", "Sucedió en Madrid", "En pleno Madrid", "Mi cámara y yo" and "Telenoticias sin fronteras". In addition, the station, has always broadcast sports ("En acción", "Madrid se mueve", "Fútbol es fútbol" and the national league - until 2006) and it has broadcast bullfighting programs and information.
The year 2001 marked a turning point in the history of the Ente Público Empresarial. Telemadrid became the first autonomous television station to utilize Digital terrestrial television (DTT). After a year in tests, on 19 March 2001, the President of Madrid, Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, inaugurated the broadcast of laOtra, a second autonomous channel exclusively for the DTT system. During its first years it focused on programs of cultural content, suggesting a new model of television with new formats, focused on music, literature, art, and modern sociopolitical movements. The principal programs were "Básico", "Central de sonidos", "Traslucúa", "De formas", "Otras entrevista", "Otra gente", "Uno más" and "La vieja ceremonia", among others.
Nevertheless, this second channel suffered a restructuring in 2006, when it began broadcasting in analog format. Since then, the old content of laOtra began to share airtime with reruns of the primary channel and with newscasts, sports, and children's shows. The analog broadcasting set the national and autonomous administrations at odds on several occasions, since laOtra began its analog broadcast without the permission of Spain's Ministry of Industry, who oversees the allocation of broadcast frequencies, and to whom the station had gone on previous occasions to obtain a license. The broadcast emissions were found to have originated from the facilities of a water company, Canal de Isabel Segunda, politically linked to the Community of Madrid. As of September 2006, Telemadrid' faces a fine of one million euros and the cancellation of laOtra if in fact it is considered just under Spanish law.
Many believe that this sanction hurts the Madrileños when compared with the citizens of other autonomous communities who already have two channels broadcast in analog format, like Euskadi, Andalusia, Valencia, or the Canary Islands, and even three, as in the case of Catalonia. Others by contrast believe that Telemadrid did not follow appropriate procedure and that consequently it should accept the closure of the channel.
Telemadrid is the public broadcaster of the Autonomous Community of Madrid, meaning it is funded by the regional government of Madrid. Since the arrival of Esperanza Aguirre as the President of Madrid on 17 October 2003, many people have accused Aguirre of transforming Telemadrid into the mouthpiece of her party, the ruling party of Madrid, the Partido Popular (PP). When Aguirre came to power, she hired Manuel Soriano to become the general director of Telemadrid. Soriano is a member of the PP and worked as press secretary of Aguirre when she was the Minister of Education and Culture during government of José María Aznar.
Telemadrid caused another big controversy in April 2007, when it aired a documentary called "Ciudadanos de segunda" (Second-class Citizens), which claimed that the Spanish language and the people who speak it were being persecuted in Catalonia in favor of the Catalan Language. This documentary caused outrage in Catalonia's political spheres. Josep Piqué, the leader of the Catalan branch of the Pardido Popular, said that the documentary didn't represent the reality of Catalonia. Meanwhile, the independentist Catalonian party Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya demanded that the Generalitat de Catalunya respond to Telemadrid judicially, to no avail. local non-nationalist political parties such as Ciutadans de Catalunya, however, stated that the documentary reflected was largely accurate.
Another controversy took place in June 2011, when in an aired report about the 15M movement were included images of riots between the protesters and the police that actually belonged to demonstrations in Greece, being clearly visible Greek flags and policemen.