German broadcast archive

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German broadcast archive

The DRA logo
The DRA logo
Archive type Media archive
place Frankfurt am Main
and Potsdam-Babelsberg
founding 1952
ISIL DE-F228 (Frankfurt / Main)
DE-Po85 (Potsdam-Babelsberg)
carrier ARD
Organizational form Foundation under civil law
Location of the DRA in the media city Babelsberg in Potsdam

The German Broadcasting Archive ( DRA ) is a non-profit foundation under civil law and a joint institution of ARD and Deutschlandradio with locations in Frankfurt am Main and Potsdam-Babelsberg . The DRA has extensive holdings of audio and visual documents, written material, printed media (books, magazines, newspapers) and testimonies . The archive comprises essential and significant parts of the auditory and audiovisual tradition in Germany. The DRA holdings reflect the development of broadcasting since its inception, but also particularly that of ARD and radio and television in the GDR .


On November 11, 1950, the directors of the ARD broadcasting corporations agreed on the establishment of a joint sound archive. The DRA was founded on January 1, 1952 with the headquarters of the Hessischer Rundfunk in Frankfurt am Main under the name Lautarchiv des Deutschen Rundfunks ; in February 1953 it was approved as a foundation. In 1962, his tasks were expanded to include the documentation of television productions. Together with the study group for radio and history , the DRA has been publishing the specialist journal radio and history since 1974 .

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, it took over the administration of the radio and television archives of the GDR in 1992, initially in trust until 1994, and was given a second location in Berlin-Adlershof. From 1994 to 2002 it awarded the “DRA grant for research into the radio and media history of the GDR” on behalf of ARD.

On December 6, 2000, the new building in the Brandenburg state capital Potsdam was inaugurated. On the premises of Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (rbb) in the media city of Babelsberg , the new location replaces the previous one in Berlin-Adlershof.

16 mm film from GDR television in a chilled film can in the DRA Potsdam

From 2005 the DRA supported the development of an internet radio for historical original sounds. In 2007 this became the archive radio located at SWR .

Since the beginning of the 2010s, the DRA has been restructured.

In the summer of 2011, the ARD directors refused to extend the employment contract of DRA director Hans-Gerhard Stülb and followed the proposal by HR director Helmut Reitze (chairman of the DRA administrative board) to only temporarily fill the management position “until the ARD test group under rbb -Justitiar Reinhart Binder has completed its work and the future of the DRA has been clarified ”.

Since October 2011, Prof. Dr. Michael Crone provisionally appointed DRA for around a year. At the beginning of 2013, the lawyer Bernd Hawlat took over the position of board member and thus the management of the archive.

The DRA's budget has remained almost unchanged since 2005 at 12 million euros per year. This corresponds to less than 0.2% of the revenue from radio license fees in 2010. Three broadcasts of football matches cost roughly as much as the DRA consumes annually.

ARD audio game database

The DRA is in charge of the ARD audio game database. The database contains evidence of radio plays that were produced by ARD itself or with ARD participation or that were originally broadcast by ARD.

The radio play database is also used to document German radio play history. Building on the DRA's holdings, the database also includes data on historical radio and broadcast plays by the Reichsrundfunkgesellschaft (initially from the Weimar period) as well as data on radio plays by the GDR radio.

Further services for the ARD

Until 2010, the DRA was responsible for editing the ARD yearbook. In the spring of 2011, the archive announced that it would end the delivery of its internal ARD publications “DRA-Info” and “Anniversaries” for cost reasons. However, the “Anniversaries 2013” ​​appeared in November 2011. These booklets contained lists of acoustic and content highlights from the archive on certain occasions.

Until 2019, the ARD's ABC offer, which was subsequently discontinued, was also part of the editorial tasks of the broadcast archive for ARD. The archive also looks after the ARD chronicle .

In cooperation with the other archives of the ARD, the DRA maintains the internal documentary work of the Broadcasting archives since 2009 ARD standards database and works on the development and maintenance of the ARD-slow motion with which such an event database editors of broadcasters. B. supported in finding a topic. Against the background of the slow motion cooperation, the German Broadcasting Archive publishes an annual preview on its website with events for each year.


GDR archive tape in the DRA about Gagarin's space flight in 1961

The main focus of the archive's collection at the Frankfurt am Main location is recordings from contemporary history and music since the beginning of sound recording, historical sound carriers such as phonograph cylinders and sound foils , shellac and vinyl records , piano rolls and much more. In addition, the DRA archives written material and printed publications on the program and company history of German broadcasting before 1945, of broadcasting and television in the GDR and of ARD.

In addition to the written records, the DRA Babelsberg also contains the audiovisual legacy of GDR radio (1945–1991) and television (1952–1991) with around 180,000 film cans, 120,000 video cassettes, 10,000 DVDs and around 450,000 word and music recordings.

The DRA is gradually converting its holdings into digital form.

The DRA databases with their inventory records and other information are available to public broadcasters as part of the foundation's mandate; they serve the purposes of science and research, of education and culture. Private individuals and commercial institutions can, as far as legally permissible, use the DRA's holdings for a fee.

The Central Record Cataloging (ZSK) of ARD and ZDF is assigned to the DRA .

Reichs-Rundfunk-Gesellschaft and BBC

Towards the end of the Second World War , the British occupiers found innumerable records from the Reichs-Rundfunk-Gesellschaft, of which they assessed between 8,000 and 9,000 as politically and historically important and handed them over to the BBC in London in 1945. At the beginning of the bombing war, some of the sound foils and records were brought to supposedly safe places by officials of the Reichs-Rundfunk-Gesellschaft (RRG), especially the Berlin radio, such as the Grasleben salt warehouse . The British hid about 900 recordings there from the end of the Weimar Republic 1929–1932, such as recordings of debates in the Reichstag .

BBC makes original recordings 1930–32 available

The BBC quickly started analyzing the sound carriers and hired German prisoners of war to develop the recordings, especially to assign voices. In the 1950s, BBC employees copied the records onto tapes and sent copies to the newly founded German Broadcasting Archive. The first indexing by the BBC can also be found in the DRA in Frankfurt.

The original records were later transferred from the BBC archives to the British National Library, the British Library founded in 1973 with its large sound archive .

The German Broadcasting Archive online

Since 2018, the DRA has carried out an extensive restart of its website. In 2019, a new themed portal was launched with dossiers on broadcasting history with multimedia examples from the company's own holdings.

Board members


The DRA is a member of the working group of independent cultural institutes , the network media libraries , the study group broadcasting and history , the Association of German Archivists and the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives .

See also


Web links

Commons : Deutsches Rundfunkarchiv  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Approval of the foundation "Sound Archives of German Radio" in Frankfurt am Main on February 10, 1953 . In: The Hessian Minister of the Interior (ed.): State Gazette for the State of Hesse. 1953 No. 9 , p. 173 , point 208 ( online at the information system of the Hessian state parliament [PDF; 3.5 MB ]).
  2. Grants for research into GDR radio , in: Rundfunk und Geschichte , vol. 24 (October 1998): p. 304.
  3. ^ German broadcast archive opened in Potsdam-Babelsberg , BauNetz , December 6, 2000.
  4. According to the HR press release of August 8, 2011, the current head's contract was no longer renewed and only a temporary head was appointed. An ARD internal working group in the RBB is examining the future of the DRA. Source: Hessischer Rundfunk: Michael Crone becomes provisional director of the DRA. (No longer available online.) August 8, 2011, archived from the original on October 14, 2017 ; Retrieved August 10, 2011 (press release). Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  5. Wolfram Goertz : The German Broadcasting Archive is threatened with closure. In: June 8, 2011, accessed August 10, 2011 .
  6. ARD: Concerns about “media memory” are unfounded / The holdings of the German Broadcasting Archive will be preserved, as will its services for the public. June 28, 2011, accessed on August 10, 2011 (press release): “The ARD chairwoman Monika Piel once again made it clear: 'All ARD stations are facing major financial challenges and are examining how they can use synergies to improve their performance level with less financial effort can hold in the future. When everything is put to the test, community institutions of the ARD such as the Foundation German Broadcasting Archive cannot be excluded. However, this examination does not aim to abolish the DRA, but to optimize the performance of this facility, which was founded in 1952 as the 'Sound Archives of German Broadcasting'. ""
  7. ^ Chronicle of the ARD | DRA with new board. Retrieved June 2, 2019 .
  8. Questionable planned cuts at the German Broadcasting Archive , Radio Scene , June 15, 2011th
  9. The documentation in the ARD radio play database on the DRA website, accessed on January 12, 2020
  10. ARD audio game database. Retrieved February 11, 2020 .
  11. ^ Editing of ARD publications: ARD yearbook (archive). Retrieved February 10, 2020 .
  12. ^ Editing of ARD publications: ARD authority database. Retrieved February 10, 2020 .
  13. ^ Chronicle of the ARD. Retrieved February 10, 2020 .
  14. ^ Editing of ARD publications: ARD authority database. Retrieved February 10, 2020 .
  15. ARD slow motion. Retrieved February 10, 2020 .
  16. »Annual Preview 2020«. Retrieved February 10, 2020 .
  17. Discover. Retrieved February 10, 2020 .