This is the International Section of
The Broadcast Archive
Barry Mishkind - The Eclectic Engineer
- Station Identifications
German Broadcast History:
Early broadcast experiments took place in Berlin on Aug. 27
1897. The receiving station was "Matrosenstation Kongnaes" in the
Schwanenallee. This was an experiment of Adolf Slaby and Georg Graf von Arco.
Radio had been in use for postal and business purposes
(telegrams, news agencies, etc.) since the end of WWI in 1918. The first thing
that resembled a radio broadcast could be received on 22 December 1920 when the
staff of the station Königs Wusterhausen near Berlin transmitted a concert they
The first station in Germany to regularly broadcast to the public
debuted in Berlin on October 23, 1923, running on 750 kHz at 250 Watts.
Nine regional broadcasting companies were set up during
October 29, 1923 - Berlin - Funk-Stunde AG
March 2, 1924 - Leipzig - Mitteldeutsche Rundfunk AG (MIRAG)
March 30, 1924 - München - Deutsche Stunde in Bayern GmbH
April 1, 1924 - Frankfurt am Main - Südwestdeutsche Rundfunkdienst AG (SWR)
May 2, 1924 - Hamburg - Nordische Rundfunk AG (NORAG)
May 11, 1924 - Stuttgart - Süddeutsche Rundfunk AG (SÜRAG)
May 26, 1924 - Breslau (today Wroclaw, Poland) - Schlesische Funkstunde AG
June 14, 1924 - Königsberg (today Kaliningrad, Russia) - Ostmarken-Rundfunk AG
October 10, 1924 - Münster (later moved to Cologne) - Westdeutsche Funkstunde
Each company operated a main transmitter and several relay
transmitters (which were able to opt out and offer local programming as well.)
The companies were financed privately but by law the Post Ministry was required
to be given at least 51 percent of the shares. Usually, local businessmen
provided the capital. In some cases, local governments participated as well.
Although there were commercials and even what we know as
sponsorship nowadays, the main source of revenue was a monthly license fee of 2
Reichsmark the Post Ministry cashed in from every registered listener.
(Initially, the fee was higher but it soon turned out it was too high for a mass
Network: On January 7, 1926, Deutsche Welle GmbH launched
its programme, transmitted from Berlin on longwave: 182 kHz for all of Germany.
The company, which was later renamed Deutschlandsender, is in no way related to
today's international broadcaster Deutsche Welle.
International: Experimental shortwave broadcasts were
conducted between September 1926 and June 1927. The first international
broadcast from Germany was August 26, 1929 on 9560 kHz at 8 kW from Zeesen near
Berlin. The station identified as "Deutscher Kurzwellensender" (German
Shortwave Transmitter), using the call sign DJA. A programming exchange with the
U.S. network NBC was established on December 25, 1929.
By autumn 1932, a second transmitter had been installed and
six frequencies were being used.
During WWII, it was prohibited for those who were not favorable to the
NAZIs to have a radio receiver. From 1933, propaganda minister Josef
Goebbels used the radio as his primary medium (along with the "Wochenschauen"
in the cinemas and the centralized press). He introduced the mass production of
relative cheap radio sets, the so-called "Volksempfaenger," so that
all Germans had access to radio reception in their homes as well at their
The national radio channel was called "Großdeutscher Rundfunk."
It was a general service channel with entertainment like operettas and light
dancing music beside classical concerts, opera, etc (Hitler was a Wagner fan).
Popular America Jazz, Pop and "Swing" music was banned as "Negro
music" and found not suitable for the white master race.
Television: Experimental television broadcasts started on
November 20, 1928. Still pictures were transmitted by wire to viewing booths in
Post Offices. They were scrapped a few months later owing to a lack of public
interest. Moving pictures were transmitted on longwave in 1930 at night when
radio was off air.
Early regulation of broadcasting
The current regulatory body is the
In the original Berlin Conference, Germany was allocated call letters of
the series A, D, KAA-KCZ. Later (before 1919) TNA-TZZ was added. By 1934, this
was reduced to just the D series.
Today, only the time standard service uses call signs: DCF77 Germany.
I'd like to acknowledge the kind assistance of Peter
C Klanowski and Sascha Zimmer in
preparing this page.