Private broadcasting

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Private broadcasting is private radio or private television organized by a company organized under private law . The opposite is public broadcasting . In countries with both broadcast systems, it is usually seen as the second pillar of the dual broadcast system .


Broadcasting was initially understood worldwide as a public task. Radio and television 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 broadcasting emerged relatively early in the USA, it was not until the 1980s in Europe that broadcasting was left to private carriers. Particularly with regard to the conflict of interests between the cultural and information mandate of the public broadcasters and the economic interests of the private broadcasters, one often speaks of the negatively connoted commercialization of broadcasting.

History in the USA

Private radio

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 name as commercial radio or television arose.

Private television

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which was founded on June 19, 1934, granted NBC and CBS Corporation in New York parallel on July 1, 1941, the first broadcast licenses for commercial television. As early as the afternoon of July 1, 1941, the NBC station WNBT (now: WNBC) sent its first watch advertising. In 1949 there were 69 privately organized television stations in the USA; in 1959 there were already 566. The first private Canadian TV station CKSO in Greater Sudbury started in October 1953.

Public radio and television

The American Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) as a publicly financed radio was only created on November 3rd, 1969 and was supposed to unite all public stations into a national network; 349 stations were included. They are financed by the CPB ( Corporation for Public Broadcasting ), but the largest part comes from private sources, namely donations from television viewers and sponsorship . It was supposed to offer "niche programs" that the commercial stations did not find profitable. The best known is Sesame Street . The National Public Radio was only on 24 February 1970 800 affiliated stations, financed by companies and foundations.

Legal issues

There are state authorities around the world that grant approval to both public and private broadcasters. These authorities act as the supervisory authority that regulates broadcasting. In Germany, the state media authorities take on this task. The broadcast license granted is tied to a large number of conditions.

In Germany, for example, in order to operate private television, media law requires authorization from the relevant regional media agency (e.g. Section 4 (1) of the State Media Act of North Rhine-Westphalia; LMG NRW), the authorization requirements of which are set out in Sections 5 and 6 of this law are regulated. The organizer must decide on one of the program categories, i.e. in particular full program or specialty program (Section 3 (2) No. 2 LMG NRW). The main difference between public television and private television is formally that the respective state media law applies exclusively to private broadcasting (Section 1 (3) LMG NRW). The supervision of public broadcasting, however, is regulated by state law; The Minister-President of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia exercises legal supervision over the WDR in accordance with Section 54 (1) of the WDR Law. Unlike the federal German public broadcasting corporations, providers under private law are not subject to any statutory programming mandate . There are also serious economic differences. Since the private broadcasters are not entitled to a share of the license fee, they are mainly dependent on advertising income and / or income from customer subscriptions. The advertising times are not unlimited here either, but they are much more extensive than with public broadcasting.


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.

Private radio

The oldest private radio broadcaster in Germany is Europe 1 , founded on April 1st, 1955 , which owes its existence to the special statute of the Saarland in the 1950s. He broadcasts a French-language program from Felsberg-Berus on the long wave frequency of 183 kHz. In contrast to the other private radio stations in Germany that have been added since the 1980s, Europe 1 operates its own transmission system.

The first private radio station on VHF or within a cable area ( Ludwigshafen / Vorderpfalz ) was Radio Weinstrasse , which started broadcasting in the Vorderpfalz on January 1, 1984 as part of the cable pilot project Ludwigshafen in the cable communication establishment (AKK) on 104.35 MHz . RADIO 4 in Ludwigshafen (Rhineland-Palatinate) was the first state-wide private radio station to go on air on April 30, 1986. The station was initially an organizer association of Radio RPR , Pro Radio4 , Linksrheinischer Rundfunk and RADIO'85 , later Radio RPR integrated the other 3 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 second national private radio station with a full 24-hour program. In 2009 there were 19 national, 55 national and 158 local or regional private stations.

Private television

The first private television broadcaster in Germany was Sat.1 , which went on air on January 1, 1984 and originally belonged to Leo Kirch / Axel Springer . The next day, January 2, 1984, RTL plus from Luxembourg started broadcasting. After these pioneering private TV channels with full programming, other private TV channels were founded, some of which deal with special-interest programs such as news ( n-tv , November 1992; originally VOX , January 1993; or N24 January 2000) or music ( VIVA Germany , December 1993). specialized. The nationwide commercial TV stations belong to two media groups , namely either the RTL Group ( Bertelsmann ) with RTL Television , RTL II , Super RTL , VOX and n-tv or ProSiebenSat.1 Media with ProSieben , Sat.1 and Kabel1 . In 2006 there were 50 advertising-financed regional television stations and 37 regional providers who fill a window of at least 30 minutes in nationwide full programs. Regardless of this, try payment or subscription models such as B. Sky Germany or certain specialty channels, sales television ( HSE24 , QVC ) or Call-In (formerly 9Live ) to develop other sources of income. Non- commercial broadcasting (NKR) does not exist economically motivated . Numerous private broadcasting companies in Germany are members of the Verband Privater Rundfunk und Telemedien e. V. (VPRT) organized.


In Switzerland there are 37 commercial private and 8 free radio stations, 95% of which are received via cable due to topography. Medium wave usage and the density of channels are higher in Switzerland than in Germany.


On April 1, 1998, private radio went on broadcast nationwide in Austria, 16 stations began broadcasting. Austria Television (ATV) began in January 2000. Private broadcasters are represented by the Association of Austrian Private Broadcasters (VÖP), the independent broadcasters are organized in the Association of Free Radios Austria (VFRÖ) and Association Community Television Austria (VCFÖ).


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.

See also


Web links

Wiktionary: private broadcasters  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

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. 12 minutes per hour; the restriction of at least 20 minutes of programming between the commercials no longer applies with the 13th Amendment to the Interstate Broadcasting Treaty.
  5. ^ Konrad Dussel, Deutsche Rundfunkgeschichte , 2007, p. 44
  6. Robert Kühne, Perspektiven der Radionutzungsforschung , 2008, p. 13
  7. a b Klaus Meier, Journalistik: UTB basics , 2013, p. 155 f.