Private law radio

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Private law broadcasting is by private law organized providers ( companies , associations ) held radio .


Broadcasting was initially understood worldwide as a public task. Radio stations were therefore state-owned or under public control. In this way, the state could better control this important medium for the dissemination of certain information. While private radio broadcasting emerged relatively early in the USA, it was not until the 1980s in Europe that radio broadcasting was also left to private carriers.

History in the USA

In 1906, Reginald Aubrey Fessenden broadcast the first radio broadcast in Brant Rock, Massachusetts . The US radio station with the "Call Letters" KDKA in Pittsburgh received its first private broadcasting license on October 27, 1920 ; it went on air on November 2, 1920. The first private American radio stations were not financed by radio advertising , but belonged either to a manufacturer of radio sets or newspapers, which took over the financing of the stations. The respective owners therefore used their private radio station as an advertising vehicle for their own products. The first third party paid radio commercial aired on August 28, 1922, WEAF in New York City . In 1940 there were already 705 commercial radio stations. Since then, radio stations in the USA have established themselves as advertising media , making the income from this the main source of their funding. From this their designation as commercial radio or commercial television arose.


A distinction must be made between commercial and non-commercial private radio (see also dual broadcasting system ).

The aim of commercial private radio stations is to generate a profit through income from radio advertising . For this, the program will focus on the needs of a pre-defined target group tailored to the highest possible handset range to achieve. In order to continuously examine the acceptance of the various music titles in the program in the advertising-relevant target group , almost all private radio stations now conduct their own market research studies , so-called call-out tests , and adapt their repertoire accordingly.

The listener reach of all commercial German radio stations is recorded by nationwide market research, the media analysis , and reported twice a year (in spring and summer). These ranges are decisive for the design of the advertising prices. The media analysis published on March 9, 2005 showed a total reach of 28.34 million listeners for private radio stations, while public service broadcasting had 34.12 million listeners.

In the national market, advertising time is mostly marketed by service providers such as the German Radio Marketing Service (RMS), a national marketing company founded by private radio stations themselves. In the regional and local market, the private radio stations are usually active themselves through their own media consultants or independent commercial agents. According to a media analysis of March 9, 2005, the stations supported by RMS reached 8.9 million listeners. In 2004 private radio stations in Germany achieved net advertising sales totaling EUR 438.38 million. The public radio stations achieved EUR 216.61 million.

In Germany , private radio stations do not receive any additional income from license fees .



In the early years of the Weimar Republic , broadcasting was organized under private law (as an AG , in Bavaria as a GmbH ), but the Reichspost and the state governments had significant influence (see Reichs-Rundfunk-Gesellschaft ).

radio advertising

In May 1924, the Reichspost approved the so-called "radio advertisements" for the regional companies, but the "advertisements from the air" were only allowed to be sent "in a moderate amount and with the greatest possible caution". Under all circumstances, "it must be avoided that the cultural significance of broadcasting is impaired by the exercise of advertising ." The "Deutsche Reichs-Postreklame GmbH" was involved in the processing of broadcast advertising . On July 1, 1924, the Silesian "Funkstunde Breslau" broadcast the first advertisement. The radio, initially organized by private broadcasters, was nationalized on July 27, 1932. According to the applicable broadcasting regulations, the state took over the supervision of the nearly 30 broadcasting stations, controlled their programs and took over ownership.

Federal Republic

The first private radio broadcaster based in and broadcasting from the territory of the Federal Republic was the French-language commercial program Europe No. 1 of the European television AG (1957 following the accession of the Saarland ; longwave - transmitter Felsberg , operated by the company; production in Paris).

The first private radio station with a German-language program and production in the Federal Republic was the non-commercial Evangeliums-Rundfunk (founded in 1959 as an ideal association in Wetzlar ; shortwave broadcasts from 1961 as part of Trans World Radio via Radio Monte Carlo stations ).

The first commercial radio stations in the cable ( cable pilot project Ludwigshafen / Vorderpfalz ) were on January 1st, 1984 Radio Weinstrasse (104.35 MHz) and Radio TV Kolibri (104.75 MHz).

The first radio stations on VHF began broadcasting on May 29, 1985 in Munich on the frequencies 89.0 MHz ( Musikwelle Süd , UFA Radio, Radio 89 and Neue Welle Bayern ), 92.4 MHz ( Radio Aktiv , Radio Xanadu , Radio 44 and Radio M1 ) and 96.3 MHz ( Radio Gong 2000 ). Radio 4 in Ludwigshafen (Rhineland-Palatinate) was the first nationwide private radio station to go on air on April 30, 1986. The station was initially a joint venture between Radio RPR , Pro Radio4, Linksrheinischer Rundfunk and Radio'85, later Radio RPR integrated the other three organizers and since then has only been called Radio RPR. Radio Schleswig-Holstein (R.SH) then took up its program on July 1, 1986 as the first nationwide private radio station with a 24-hour program.

In 2017 there were 20 nationwide, 58 nationwide and 197 local or regional private radio stations. The KEK media database provides information on ownership structures . The advocacy serve VAUNET - Association of Private Media and the Federal Association of Free Radios (BFR).

Legal bases

According to Section 20 (1 ) of the Interstate Broadcasting Agreement (RStV), private broadcasters require approval from the relevant state media authority , whereby the program category full program or specialty program must be specified. Radio programs exclusively on the Internet ( Internet radio ) do not require approval according to Section 20b RStV. Section 21 of the RStV sets out the principles for admission, according to which the broadcaster must provide all information and submit all documents that are required to examine the application for admission to the state media authority. According to Section 25 (1), the content of private broadcasting essentially expresses the diversity of opinions. The significant political, ideological and social forces and groups must have their say in the full programs; Minority views must be taken into account.


Formally, there has always been only private broadcasting in Switzerland; However, the SRG (private law association) held a monopoly until the broadcast test regulations of 1982 . Radio 24 , which had previously broadcast from Italy as a peripheral radio, was one of the first stations approved after that. In 2014 there were 42 licensed private radio providers: 21 commercial without a fee, 12 commercial with a fee and 9 complementary (non-commercial); in addition, 72 registered commercial providers without a public service contract. Medium wave usage and the density of channels are higher in Switzerland than in Germany.

The legal basis is the Federal Act on Radio and Television (RTVG) of 2006 and the Radio and Television Ordinance (RTVV) of 2007. Interest groups are the Association of Swiss Private Radios (VSP) and the Union of Non- Commercial Local Radios (UNIKOM).


Following the adoption of the Regional Radio Act (RRG) 1993 began in 1995 with Antenne Steiermark of private radio in Austria . Since 2001 it has been regulated in the Private Radio Act. The Association of Austrian Private Broadcasters (VÖP) and the Association of Free Radios Austria (VFRÖ) represent interests .


In 1976, the monopoly of the Rai fell in Italy by judgment of the Italian Constitutional Court . Already in 1976 the Free South Tyrolean Wave (FSW) was the first German-speaking private broadcaster in South Tyrol . From 1979, Radio Bavaria International (RBI), later renamed Radio M1 , was the first station to broadcast a program specifically in the direction of southern Bavaria, where at that time no private radio could be heard. Radio Brenner and Radio C were added in the following years . With the development of private radio in Germany, the interest from broadcasters from South Tyrol decreased again at the end of the 1980s.


On March 15, 1933, Radio Luxembourg started as the first private radio station in Europe. After the liberation of Luxembourg in September 1944, the station was the official mouthpiece of the Allied headquarters. Because of the ban on commercial radio in countries such as the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and the Federal Republic of Germany, this program broadcast from Luxembourg until the 1980s, with programs in several languages. The English broadcasts began in 1933 and were largely contested by the advertising industry , which had its own production facilities and presenters to present its products extensively.

The liberalization of radio frequencies began in Luxembourg in 1992. New stations were added to the radio station RTL Radio Lëtzebuerg , of which the station Eldoradio , the Portuguese-speaking Radio Latina as well as the free and alternative radio ARA and Radio Aktiv are the most successful. In addition, since 1993 there has been a public radio station with a cultural program mandate for the first time with radio 100.7 .

The most popular radio station in Luxembourg is RTL Radio Letzebuerg with an audience rate of 65% of all Luxembourgers over 12 years of age. 'De Journal' in particular, at 7:30 am, 12:30 pm and 6:30 pm, with national and international news, is very popular.

The German-language radio station RTL Radio 93.3 and 97.0 , which can be received terrestrially via VHF 93.3 MHz and 97.0 MHz with a regional program for the entire greater Saar-Lor-Lux region, is particularly well known beyond the borders of Luxembourg . The oldie broadcaster RTL Radio has no regional reference and can be received throughout Germany via satellite and cable as well as an internet stream. Up until December 31, 2015, RTL programs could be received nationwide from the Marnach broadcaster from 6:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. via medium wave 1440 kHz . The station broadcast in the evenings and a. Broadcasts from mission organizations in the last few years of operation of China Radio International .

In 2002 there was one international, two national, four regional and around 20 local radio stations in Luxembourg.


In the broadcasting sector, there are separate public broadcasters for each of the three language communities: VRT (Vlaamse Radio- en Televisieomroep) for Flanders, RTBF (Radio Télévision Belge Francophone) for Wallonia and BRF (Belgian Broadcasting) for the German-speaking community. In addition to the public broadcasters, Brussels Radio Contact launched its radio program in French at the beginning of the 1980s and in November 1995 also in German. Since 1981 in the German-speaking community also with Radio Benelux (BNL) a private local station. At that time, however, this was only allowed to broadcast with 100 watts, in mono and without advertising from the High Fens . Radio Benelux became Radio Fantasy Raeren (RFR) in 1984 and is now known as Fantasy Dance FM . Other German-language stations followed, including Henri Radio from Henri-Chapelle and Radio Distel from Eupen .

On October 19, 1998, 100'5 Das Hitradio went on air. Due to the high transmission power of 20 kW and the favorable location of the Raeren-Petergensfeld transmitter , this private transmitter can be received well in the Euregio Maas-Rhine and beyond.


The first French radio station was Radio Paris ("Radiola"), which went on the air in December 1922. In 1928 there were 13 private radio stations in France.


In Namibia, the first private radio stations went on air after a corresponding law was passed in 1993. Most broadcast in English, but there is also Hitradio Namibia in German (since 2012), Kosmos 94.1 on Afrikaans and Omulunga Radio on Oshivambo .


As a mass medium, private radio has to inform, educate, socialize and entertain its listeners. Private radio stations work in a strongly target-group-oriented manner (advertising-relevant target group) and can specialize in a certain audience. Here is the format radio predominant. It has a program that should be unmistakable because of its recognition factor through musical orientation, moderation, program color and program structure. Private radio programs often have a tabloid character and tend towards tabloid news , with the music portion predominating at up to 75% . For most broadcasters, the information component in private radio has a service character. It mainly consists of short messages, weather, time, traffic and event information. A frequent program component in private radio is listener participation, with which the listeners of the program are to be bound to the broadcaster. The listeners of a broadcaster are usually included live through competitions that are attractive to the listener or other "join-in programs".

In Germany, the following music and program formats are used by private radio stations:

  1. Album-oriented rock (AOR): mostly melodic rock music
  2. Contemporary Hit Radio (CHR): Current hits and hits from the past
  3. Adult Contemporary (AC): Contemporary pop music for adults, mostly melodious
  4. Middle of the Road (MOR): "main stream" pop music
  5. Easy Listening (EL): Big band music, oldies, evergreens, hits, folk music

Nationwide, relatively few private radio stations broadcast radio programs. Most of the music broadcasters do not follow the MOR format ("main stream"), but specialize in black music ( Jam FM ), country music ( truck radio ), electronic music ( techno , house , trance ; radio Sunshine Live ) , folk music / hits ( Radio Melodie ), classical music (Radio Klassik) and RTL Radio , which was considered an oldies station until December 2002 , but now also broadcasts hits from the 80s, 90s and today.

Individual evidence

  1. Chapman Racksway, Communicating Politics Online , 2014, p. 33
  2. ^ Jim Willis, 100 Media Moments That Changed America , 2010, p. 55
  3. KDKA belonged to the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing concern
  4. ^ Konrad Dussel, Deutsche Rundfunkgeschichte , 2007, p. 44
  5. Robert Kühne, Perspektiven der Radionutzungsforschung , 2008, p. 13
  7. Klaus Meier, Journalism: UTB basics , 4th edition 2018, p. 157
  8. KEK media database
  9. ^ Ordinance on local radio tests (RVO) of June 7, 1982
  10. Report on the review of the definition and services of the SRG's public service, taking into account the private electronic media (2016), p. 121 f.
  11. Federal Act on Radio and Television (RTVG) of March 24, 2006
  12. Radio and Television Ordinance (RTVV) of March 9, 2007
  15. Federal Law Gazette No. 506/1993
  16. Sentenza n.202 del 28 July 1976
  18. The best-known example of these commercials, which characterize the current program, was The League of Ovaltineys (for Ovaltine), broadcast every Sunday at 5.30 p.m. from 1934, and with war interruptions until the 1950s. See the Wikipedia article on Ovaltine .
  19. Problems with the radio reception? In: Retrieved December 25, 2018 .
  20. ^ Namibian Communications Commission Act, 1992
  21. see also CRAN : Broadcasting Licensees
  22. Robert Sturm / Jürgen Zirbik, the radio station. A guide for private radio , 1996, p. 189 f.
  23. Miriam Wahl / Jakob Thibaut / Rebecca Frey / Michael Münzing, Private Radio , 2007, p. 14
  24. Robert Sturm / Jürgen Zirbik, the radio station. A guide for private radio , 1996, p. 201 f.

See also

Portal: Radio  - Overview of Wikipedia content on radio