Greece's state broadcaster ERT has returned to the airwaves exactly two years after it was shut down as part of the former government's austerity cuts.

The radio and television channel – the Greece equivalent of the BBC – was shut down in 2013 after it was described as wasteful and mismanaged.

The channel – reported to have cost around €300m (£218m, £337m) a year to operate – was replaced by a more cost efficient channel called Nerit and caused the loss of more than 2,600 jobs.

The current left-wing anti-austerity government Syriza promised the return of ERT as one of its key election pledges before their victory in January.

Six months later, the channel returned to the airwaves by broadcasting an early morning talk show.

"It's a special day for all Greeks, for philhellenes, for those who love Greece and for those who love freedom of information," presenter Nikos Aggelidisat introducing the show. "We're nervous. We're very touched."

Aggelidisat's co-presenter Vasiliki Haina said during an emotional broadcast: "It's a special day for us, a difficult day."

State television presenters Nikos Angelidis (L) and Vassiliki Haina prepare for the first broadcast of the station after reopening  Reuters

Workers could be seen removing the letters N and I from the Nerit logo prior to the channel's first broadcast in two years. A celebratory concert is also planned to take place planned outside its headquarters in the evening.

When news of the ERT shutdown was first announced, thousands of people including trade unions protested outside the studios. Private Greek television stations stopped broadcasting news for five hours in protest.

Prime minister Alexis Tsipras described the closure of ERT as "a crime against Greek people and democracy".

The Syriza government also promised all of the ERT staff who were made redundant in 2013 would be rehired.