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Austrian Broadcast History:
The first station in Austria was a commercial radio station in 1923 under the title "Radio Hekaphon". This station owned by a technical school in Vienna had a power of 100 Watts.
In early 1924 official transmission started from a 2nd station using a transmitter on the roof of the Ministry of Defense in Vienna. From this station regular daily radio transmission begun on October 1, 1924 by using a new 350 Watt "Telefunken"- transmitter.
On January 1, 1926 the Rosenhuegel-station next to the big Schoenbrunn Palace started transmissions. It had a power of 7 kW and an antenna consisting of 3 towers with 85 meters each. The frequency was 580 kHz.
Operation of further stations began as follows
- Graz/Styria March 30, 1925 0.5 kW 840 kHz
- Klagenfurt/Carinthia February 2, 1927 0.5 kW 1100 kHz
- Innsbruck-Aldrans/Tyrol June 2, 1927 0.5 kW 767 kHz
- Linz-Freinberg June 25, 1927 0.5 kW 1200 kHz
- Salzburg December 21, 1930 0.5 kW
- Vienna-Bisamberg May 28, 1933 100 kW 592 kHz
- Dornbirn/Vorarlberg December 17, 1934
The first shortwave transmission was in 1929 from the Rosenhuegel site with 40 Watts on 6073 kHz.
Radio operation in Austria before World War II were made exclusively from a private company named RAVAG (Radio Verkehrs AG), founded 1924.
In 1938 Austria became a part of Nazi-Germany. After the war many transmitting station were destroyed and Austria (like Germany) was divided into 4 allied zones until 1955. Vienna also was divided into 4 zones like Berlin. Every zone had an own radio company
- US-zone (Upper Austria, Salzburg, part of Vienna) "Rot-Weiss-Rot" with stations in Salzburg, Linz and Vienna
- British zone (Styria, Carinthia, part of Vienna) "Alpenland" with stations in Graz, Klagenfurt and Vienna
- French zone (Tyrol, Vorarlberg, part of Vienna) "Sendergruppe West" with stations in Innsbruck and Dornbirn
- Russian zone (Lower Austria, part of Vienna) with one station in Vienna "Radio Wien"
There were also US-military stations operating in Salzburg and Linz (KOFA) and Vienna ("Blue Danube Network", WOFA) and stations of the British Forces Network (BFN) in Vienna, Graz and Klagenfurt.
For transmissions to the Russian zone in 1952 the US broadcasting authorities built two high power medium wave transmitting stations in Kronstorf near Linz and in Vienna (100 kW each, with 274 m high directional antenna in Kronstorf). In 1955 allied forces were leaving Austria and the public Austrian Broadcasting Company (ORF) were founded. Because the lack of AM-frequencies FM-broadcasting (started in 1953) soon became the major transmission mode. Also in mountainous areas (2/3 of Austria) FM was the cheapest way to broadcast, because the FM-transmitters could use the existing TV-facilities.
Today there are more than 700 FM-transmitters on more than 200 locations. Most of them have powers of 100 Watts or less. Therefore all AM-transmitters continuously were taken out of operation during the 80s. Today only one AM-station (Vienna-Bisamberg 60 kW 1476 kHz) is used for transmissions of NGO's and minority matters. During the last years also special transmissions ("Neighbour in Need") to the war area in Ex-Yugoslavia were broadcasted with an old 600 kW-transmitter on 1476 kHz.
Low power Shortwave transmissions after World War II started in 1956 from some locations in Austria. In 1966 the shortwave transmitting station at Moosbrunn south of Vienna was opened and soon it became the only shortwave broadcasting site in Austria, used today by Radio Austria International (ROI) and as a relay for some other international radio services.
Television in Austria officially started on August 1, 1955.
The public ORF has the duty to supply the whole population with radio and TV. ORF produces 9 regional and 3 national radio programs and 2 national TV-programs (transmitted only terrestrial), 1 digital tourist and weather-channel (via Satellite only) and a part of the program on 2 cultural channels "3Sat" (together with public stations in Germany and Switzerland) and ARTE (together with public stations in Germany and France; both only via Satellite).
In addition there are about 40 commercial radio stations operating on a regional basis. Some cable TV exists, but it is not a major force. The other commercial TV-programs seen here are produced in Germany, but some have special programs for Austria which can be seen only in the cable systems. About 31% of the Austrian households have cable-TV, further 45% have a satellite dish for the ASTRA-satellite system (http//www.astra.lu) operating on 12 GHz and providing about 30 different TV-programs in German language. But Austrians have a low rate of TV-consumption: in 2000 only 147 minutes per day (USA 259 min., Germany 198 min., on the low end Luxemburg 124 min., Switzerland 136 min.).
The legal supervisory authority for ORF (the public-service broadcasting corporation) is the Bundeskommunikationssenat (BKS), which also acts as a legal authority for decisions made by the Kommunikationsbehörde (KommAustria), the first-instance regulatory body for private broadcasters. The government-owned and industry-financed Rundfunk- und Telekom Regulierungs-GmbH (RTR-GmbH) is the operative arm of KommAustria (and of the telecomms regulator, the Telekom-Control-Kommission).
My sincere appreciation to Walter Brummer for his kind assistance with this page. Also, thanks to Kevin Flynn