Belgian radio

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Infobox radio tower icon
Belgian radio
Station logo
TV station ( public service )
Program type Regional program
reception DVB-T , FM , DAB and cable TV
Start of transmission 1977 (as Belgian radio and television broadcasting company since 1964, as ELA - Emissions en langue allemande since 1945)
language German
Seat Eupen
Broadcaster Belgian Broadcasting (BRF)
Program director Olivier Krickel
List of TV channels

The Belgian Broadcasting Corporation (BRF), formerly Belgian Radio and Television (BHF), is the public service broadcaster of the German-speaking Community in East Belgium . Until regionalization at the end of the 1970s, it was an integral part of the state Radiodiffusion-Télévision Belge / Belgian Radio en Televisie (RTB / BRT). The station, which currently has around 70 permanent employees and is based in Eupen, broadcasts two radio programs and one television program . In addition to Eupen, there are broadcast studios in Sankt Vith (regional studio ) and in Brussels (capital city studio ).


In addition to international and inner-Belgian events, the focus of the reporting is above all the daily news in the German-speaking Community with its communities as well as all topics of concern for the people living in East Belgium from the triangle of Belgium-Germany-Netherlands and Belgium-Germany-Luxembourg.


The two programs BRF1 / 2 are broadcast via VHF and cable in the transmission area and as an Internet stream

  • BRF1 is the news, magazine, rock, pop and classical program. The program is also fed into the DAB and DVB-T ensemble in the Brussels-Wallonia area. The news and magazines particularly take into account the audience's need for local and regional information from Ostbelgien, which is not met by the German and Walloon broadcasters.
  • BRF2 plays hit and folk music. In addition to news, the word program also features programs on questions of faith (Catholic, Protestant) and contributions in various dialects of East Belgium. The program is fed into the DAB ensemble in the Brussels-Wallonia area.
  • BRF-DLF is a radio program that can be received in Brussels and via the Flemish cable networks and is produced in cooperation with Deutschlandfunk .

The FM frequencies of BRF 1 and 2:

VHF Location BRF 1 kilowatt
88.5 Liege 50
88.8 Malmedy 0.1
89.0 Herbesthal-Rabotrath 0.4
92.2 Burg-Reuland 0.1
93.4 Right (St. Vith) 0.1
94.9 Amel 5
94.9 Eupen 0.05
95.2 Brussegem (BRF-DLF) 2
97.7 Namur 0.5
VHF Location BRF 2 kilowatt
91.0 Liege (Rocourt) 0.5
93.2 Herbesthal-Rabotrath 5
97.6 Malmedy 0.1
98.4 Eupen 1
104.1 Amel 20th
105.9 Raeren 0.1

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Broadcasting house BRF

BRF-Fernsehen (formerly: KA3 ) broadcasts a 10-minute regional news magazine every day. It is also broadcast in a program window on Euronews in the RTBF bouquet via DVB-T . It primarily focuses on regional topicality and can be received via the cable network and as a stream on the BRF website. The self-produced program is repeated several times and supplemented by program boards.

In cooperation with the regional broadcaster Télévesdre of the French-speaking area bordering the German-speaking Community, its weekly summary will also be broadcast on BRF television at the weekend.

Via Euregio

Since 2012, seven regional television stations from the Euregio Meuse-Rhine have been designing the first euregional television magazine Via Euregio for the around 5 million inhabitants of the border region.

The broadcasters involved are responsible for selecting and broadcasting the topics from their broadcasting area. The contributions are exchanged between the various partners. The programs are subtitled in the language of the respective broadcast area. The topics concern economy, security, tourism, sport, culture, events, innovations and much more. They always have a euregional reference.

The current Via Euregio partners have been since autumn 2014:

  • BRF, Eupen
  • RTC Liege
  • Télévesdre, Verviers (Dison)
  • TV Limburg Belgium, Hasselt
  • TV Limburg Netherlands, Roermond
  • Newspaper publisher Aachen
  • NRW.TV , Düsseldorf (until January 8, 2018)


The station's website underwent a comprehensive relaunch in June 2015. The individual products of the Funkhaus - BRF-Nachrichten, BRF1 and BRF2 - have received separate pages. In addition, the BRF received its own online media library, under which all videos and television programs can be accessed. At the same time, the entire appearance of the Belgian Broadcasting Company was modernized and standardized. The individual products are distinguished from each other by color-coordinated signets, but keep their BRF affiliation graphically.


  • RTBF (Radio-télévision belge de la Communauté française, formerly RTB / Radiodiffusion-télévision belge) and VRT (Vlaamse Radio- en Televisieomroep, formerly BRT / Belgian Radio en Televisie). This cooperation has existed since October 1, 1945, the start of broadcasts in German in Brussels.
  • Deutschlandfunk Köln: The joint program BRF-DLF was launched on November 15, 2001. Both broadcasters deliver broadcasts throughout the day for the 24-hour program in the Brussels area, which can be received via VHF 95.2 MHz. There is also a regular exchange of topics between the two broadcasters. A joint public panel discussion is also organized annually. In 2014 the topic was “War and the Border Region” as a reminder of the First World War, and in 2015 the debate dealt with the refugee problem at European level.
  • SWR Trier: There has been a daily exchange of topics within the European Greater Region for decades between BRF-Studio St. Vith and SWR-Studio Trier.
  • Radio 100.7 : A common topic with the public broadcaster from the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is quality assurance in journalism.
  • RTR: In 2014, as part of the cooperation with the Rhaeto-Romanic Radio in Chur , several journalist exchanges and some joint debates, such as “The danger of proximity - editorial difficulties and challenges in small broadcasting rooms”, took place. The common theme for 2016 is “Internet First”.
  • In addition to Radio 100.7 and RTR, Rai Südtirol is involved with the BRF in a peer review on various topics.
  • 100'5 Das Hitradio : The Belgian broadcasting company holds40.8% of the sharesthrough BRF Medien AG . 10% of the shares are held by PFD Pressefunk GmbH . Zeitungsverlag Aachen and Grenz-Echo AGeach hold 5%. Radio Salü in Saarbrücken holds the remaining 39.2% of the shares. The radio station uses the infrastructure of the BRF.


The former broadcasting house on Flageyplatz in Brussels

The Belgian radio broadcasts in German go back to October 1, 1945, when the ELA (Emissions en langue allemande) with Irene Janetzky started in the Funkhaus on Place Flagey in the Brussels municipality of Ixelles . The broadcast lasted only 20 minutes a day. After a leady beginning immediately after the Second World War, in which the editorial staff, consisting of Janetzky and one other employee, had little journalistic leeway and above all was supposed to convey the official Brussels view of the country and its concerns, the program developed in the course of the 1970s Years to a full program that can be received all day long and is produced from Ostbelgien, in the middle of the region that is now the focus of reporting. BRF2 and a joint program from BRF and DLF for the Brussels region were added later.

Brussels speaks to the minority in Ostbelgien (1945–1969)

The ELA (Emissions en langue allemande) with Irene Janetzky lasted only 20 minutes a day and was broadcast by the low-range medium-wave transmitter in Aye in the north-west of the Belgian province of Luxembourg and contained Belgian and international news, a daily chronicle and French language courses. With this offer, the first editor and broadcast manager approached the German-speaking compatriots in Ostbelgien in their mother tongue, which was not a matter of course immediately after the end of the German occupation of Belgium. In 1952 the program was supposed to be stopped due to lack of funds, but Janetzky managed to convince the Belgian Prime Minister Achille Van Acker of the necessity of a program for the German-speaking minority in the east of the country so that the broadcast could continue.

"The beginning of this program was clear and dictated by the political situation: it was supposed to promote the rapid integration of the German-speaking population in Belgium via the radio medium and create a regular connection between the eastern cantons and the inland," analyzes the later editor Hubert Jenniges early years of the station looking back. Foreign correspondent reports also increasingly appeared in the program, mostly takeovers of the international service of the French-speaking Belgian radio; In addition, there were reports from employees in European capitals at irregular intervals, but, continues Jenniges, “it can be seen as a sign of that time that the German-language program had no correspondent in Bonn . In the first post-war decade, the government still intended to assimilate the German-speaking minority to French culture, but in no way any feedback to the areas on the other side of the German-Belgian border for their crossing until the settlement agreement between the Kingdom of Belgium and the Federal Republic of Germany from 1957 only limited passes were issued.

During the early years of the program, Janetzky received editorial support from her stepfather, the Belgian historian Bernhard Willems, who had published essays on the history of East Belgium and its localities since the 1930s. Henri Binot, who was primarily responsible for the topics of tourism and folklore, reported from the predominantly French-speaking Malmedy , while Paul Margraff reports from the south of East Belgium ( Sankt Vith ) and Nick Bellens contributed the "Eupener Mosaic". Kurt and Alice Grünebaum, who were also authors of the Eupen daily Grenz-Echo and who had come to Brussels as emigrants before the Second World War , also made regular contributions ; The wish and greeting program “Soldiers radio” made a significant contribution to the retention of listeners. In addition to managing the German-language program - to which the budget is negotiated at regular intervals, initially with the Institut national de radiodiffusion INR / Nationaal Instituut voor de Radio-Omroep NIR and later with those in charge of RTB (Radiodiffusion-Télévision Belge) and BRT (Belgian Radio en Televisie) - Janetzky produced numerous broadcasts based on conversations with Belgian and foreign personalities as well as current reports and chronicles of all kinds.

Until 1960, the German broadcasts were under the supervision of the National Broadcasting Institute INR / NIR, which was founded in 1930 and divided into a French-speaking and a Dutch-speaking section in 1937. It was dissolved in 1960 and made room for two public broadcasters: RTB and BRT, which were alternately responsible for the German-language programs (ELA) and their financing.

Expansion and advancement to the mouthpiece of the German-speaking Belgians

From 1961 onwards, the German program, which continued to be produced in Brussels under the direction of Irene Janetzky, was broadcast on the VHF station Lüttich and officially renamed Belgian Radio and Television (BHF) in 1964 . In 1977 the Belgian Radio and Television Center of the German-speaking Community (BRF) was founded in Eupen . If you broadcast two hours a day from 1965 (from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.) and from 1969 four hours (from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., on Sundays from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.), German-language programs have expanded particularly since then Moving to Eupen continuously. A morning program was added in the 1970s; later, the breaks between the German-speaking blocks, which were initially filled with French RTB programs, were filled with German-moderated programs, mostly with a musical focus. On April 1, 1983, a full-day program was introduced, which ensures 24-hour coverage for the German-speaking audience in the Belgian eastern cantons.

The expansion of the program from the end of the 1960s onwards went hand in hand with further development in terms of strategy and content, which made it possible to reflect a wider range of opinions from the German-speaking group in East Belgium. In the first few decades of its existence, the news distributed by ELA was largely based on material that was taken over by the French-language RTB and translated into German, and which reflected a centralized or Wallonia-centered view of Belgian politics. The leading daily newspaper in the region, the Grenz-Echo from Eupen, under its editor-in-chief Henri Michel , who headed the paper from 1932 to 1965 and vigorously represented the CSP (Christian Social Party), also had a strongly Belgianist and also decidedly party-political orientation . Since no other German-language newspaper had been able to establish itself on the East Belgian market in the long term, Grenz-Echo had , at least in the area of ​​printed products, until 1965, when the Aachener Volkszeitung (today's Aachener Zeitung ) launched a local edition in East Belgium , on the monopoly of opinion in the German-speaking part of Belgium; In contrast, the German-speaking Belgian radio, which was only slowly developing, initially hardly emerged with its own standpoints. That only changed gradually over the course of the 1960s and 1970s. In 1965/66, for example, the BHF editors were given access to the news services dpa ( German Press Agency ) and Belga, two important sources with which the RTB news material could be supplemented.

Regarding the political pressure that the editors were exposed to from the unchallenged ruling CSP and its followers, Freddy Derwahl remarks : “Our young journalists were mostly tied. It was not until 1968 that we [...] had to watch the liberals competing in Ostbelgien themselves being denied advertisements [in the local German-language press]. "And further:" There was no free word in Ostbelgien. [In the media] in the run-up to tenders and appointments. However, if there were unpredictable reports, political control was noiseless but efficient. The frightening examples [...] of quick expulsions created an atmosphere of permanent caution. "

However, it was not just party-political competition that was noticeable right into the editorial offices; any actual or suspected regionalist tendency also aroused resistance. "The political pressure from outside weighed [...] on the editors," remembers Paul Maraite , who was a BRF journalist in Eupen until 2010. “On the one hand, because the first attempts at using the new medium in the immediate post-war years were viewed with suspicion by those in charge of politics; on the other hand, because the development [of broadcasting] took place in a party-political context in which any attempt by East Belgian circles to gradually detach itself from Brussels [...] was suppressed. Even the 'broadcasts in German' [...] often felt the threatening index finger of parties who were unable to break free from the brackets of the Brussels headquarters. "The Advisory Culture Committee, the first supervisory body over the young radio, said" in a closed society ”and“ with eagle eyes ”that the editors“ did not make any autonomistic slip-ups ”.

In this context, Derwahl mentions an initiative that resembled a taboo: "The [...] BHF [...] had addressed the question of the historical development of the German-speaking area in a series and was planning to do so The comments of critical observers were not shied away from. ”Such contributions, including controversial ones, slowly created an atmosphere that contributed to the change in power in the 1970 local elections: the loss of the Christian Socials' claim to sole representation. “When the AVZ / [Aachener Volkszeitungs] editor was confronted with the [...] events at first hand, I remember well that the Brussels radio editorial team and AVZ-Ostbelgien finally succeeded in at least perforating the wall of official silence that a strong democratic majority could develop for the change. [...] The decisive climate was created [...] by uncomfortable journalists who were persecuted with insults. ”This change brought extensive structural changes for the BHF: no longer the capital Brussels with parliament, ministries, embassies and the European and transatlantic institutions should from now on be the focus of reporting, but increasingly the German-speaking Ostbelgien. More and more reports were received from here, and this is where the editorial team and studios moved entirely a few years later.

The Belgian historian Andreas Fickers , who has been professor of contemporary history at the University of Luxembourg since 2013, writes about the phase of upheaval and consolidation in the East Belgian media landscape :

“As early as 1963, Hubert Jenniges , who had already worked on the ELA programs during his student days in Leuven , [...] moved to Brussels to join the newsroom as a 'permanent freelancer'. In the years that followed, Jenniges introduced the round table format. As a result, radio became more active in shaping the regional political public, which, thanks to the authenticity and immediacy inherent in radio, helped it to gain increasing recognition and loyality to listeners. ”Although many of these conversations seemed a bit rigid and formal from today's perspective, they were in the 1960s would have been a broadcasting innovation in East Belgium and would have created “a democratic platform in miniature”. As a forum for an unfiltered exchange of opinions, the discussion rounds gave the audience the opportunity to participate directly in the political discourse.

"These efforts to make the BHF a living instrument of the regionalization process through [...] live broadcasts or original sound recordings from the region [...] correlated with an intensification of the autonomy debate," continues Fickers firmly. In addition to Jenniges, Peter Thomas and Horst Schröder, two young academics, were hired as journalists in 1969. They intensified current reporting and did so in a new journalistic style. "During their student days in Leuven, both had experienced the increasing radicalization of the [Walloon /] Franco-Flemish conflict first hand and were accordingly sensitized to questions that arose at national and regional level in the context of the debate about cultural autonomy."

The expansion of the daily program and the profiling of the political reporting were well received by the target group. According to a representative survey from 1970, the BHF was still regularly switched on by only 25 percent of German-speaking East Belgians on Sundays and by just 14 percent on weekdays, and for decades it was to be assumed that the German-speaking people mainly listened to Northwest German, later West German broadcasting ( NWDR / WDR ). and listened to the German program on Radio Luxemburg , which provided them with entertainment and information all day long in their mother tongue (albeit without an East Belgian regional reference), since the change in the BHF / BRF program described above, the German-speaking Belgian station has become the most listened to in East Belgium. (According to a survey from 2017, the daily reach of BRF1 was 32 percent, that of BRF2 21 percent. 91 percent of those surveyed rated the reporting as balanced.) The need for regional information is apparently better satisfied here than by external broadcasters, which do a lot lost of their attractiveness. Meanwhile, the education of the German-speaking population in the French language and culture of Wallonia can only be viewed as partially successful. Against the background of the development of a Flemish and Walloon autonomy and finally the federalization of the Belgian state, the position of the German speakers also improved; The BHF / BRF contributed significantly to this as a medium for forming political and cultural opinion.

Journalists and presenters who could be heard on the waves of the BHF / BRF already in the pioneering days of the 1960s and 70s and mostly later almost every day are the long-time news editors Rudi Klinkenberg, Freddy Derwahl , Hubert Jenniges, Hans Engels, Paul Maraite and Peter Thomas as well as the moderators Sigrid (Dollendorf), Connie and the Dutchwoman Annemarie (van Parijs). For a long time, the highlight of the weekly program was the request concert with Sigrid and Connie on Sunday evening. Later, Walter Eicher was the chief music editor until he retired in 2008. a. Brought chanson, jazz and classical programs to the program. Since then, Hans Reul and Charles Dosquet have been responsible for the music selection for the two radio programs BRF1 and BRF2.

Cooperations and diversification

In the 1990s, the BRF and the BBC founded a programming studio in Brussels (1993). In 1995 the BRF moved into the new broadcasting center on Eupener Kehrweg. Since October 1999 the BRF has been broadcasting a daily television magazine over the cable network of the German-speaking Community. The BRF can now be accessed worldwide via the Internet. Since November 15, 2001, the BRF and Deutschlandfunk (DLF) Cologne have been creating a joint program for the German-speaking audience in the Belgian capital on the Brussels frequency of 95.2 MHz. In 2001 the broadcasts of the BRF were separated into the radio waves BRF1 and BRF2; For more information on the wave profiles, see above.

From 1983 to 1996, the temporary head of the “ heute ” editorial team at ZDF , Luc Walpot , worked as an editor at BRF.

Toni Wimmer has been Director of the Belgian Broadcasting Company since May 2012. The Belgian Radio's annual reports are available to the public.

In 2014, a memorial plaque was unveiled in the former radio station and today's cultural center on Place Flagey in Brussels for the founder and director of the German program from 1945 to 1974, Irene Janetzky, who died in 2005, on the occasion of her 100th birthday.

In May 2017, the BRF announced the resignation of editor-in-chief Rudi Schroeder. Stephan Pesch, up to this point studio manager in St. Vith, prevailed in an internal application process and filled the vacant position of editor-in-chief on July 1, 2017.

75 years of Belgian broadcasting

In 2020 the BRF will celebrate its 75th birthday. Various anniversary celebrations are currently being prepared, including an exhibition, a concert and a family weekend.

An official birthday party is being planned for October 1, 2020 at the Funkhaus, at which important contemporary witnesses will also have their say. The moderated discussion rounds in front of an audience should be led by veteran moderators and editors (Hans Engels, Kajo Drösch, Sigrid Dollendorf, Peter Thomas, Rudi Klinkenberg).

Web links

Individual evidence

  2. Website of the sender: Reception
  3. Reception
  10. H. Jenniges, “Information on the Test Stand. The early years of the current Zeitfunkmagazin “, in: Belgischer Rundfunk (ed.), 6:00 pm. This is the Belgian radio ... 20 years of BRF-Aktuell, Sankt Vith 1990, p. 22.
  14. Fr. Derwahl, “'It was the best time.' Freddy Derwahl over three decades at the BRF ”, in: Belgischer Rundfunk (ed.), A lot of news in the east. Pictures and texts from Ostbelgien, o. O. 1996, p. 54.
  15. P. Maraite, “Radio for whom? Paul Maraite: The BRF in the field of tension of public opinion “, in: Belgischer Rundfunk (ed.), In the east much news. Pictures and texts from Ostbelgien, o. O. 1996, p. 160.
  16. Fr. Derwahl, “'It was the best time.' Freddy Derwahl over three decades at the BRF ”, in: Belgischer Rundfunk (ed.), A lot of news in the east. Pictures and texts from East Belgium, o. O. 1996, p. 54f.
  17. A. Fickers, “From Polarization to Diversity of Opinion. The East Belgian media as an actor in the autonomy debate? ”, In: C. Lejeune / Chr. Brüll (ed.), Borderline experiences. A History of the German-speaking Community of Belgium, Vol. 5: Purification, Reconstruction, Discussion of Autonomy (1945–1973), Eupen 2014, p. 229.
  18. , accessed on August 23, 2020.
  19. Toni Wimmer is the new BRF director . In: , May 16, 2012.  (German)
  21. ^ On our own behalf: Stephan Pesch is the new BRF editor-in-chief. Retrieved June 10, 2017 .

Coordinates: 50 ° 37 ′ 27.5 ″  N , 6 ° 2 ′ 43 ″  E