Radio feature

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Portable recording devices like the Nagra E (1976) popularized the original sound in the feature.

The radio feature [ ˈfiːtʃə (ɹ) ] (also called radio feature or radio documentation ) is a non-fictional radio genre that, after 1945, established itself alongside radio plays in the cultural programs of radio in various European countries. A radio feature combines elements from radio play, documentation and reportage , among other things . At the end of the 1930s, it became popular in Great Britain through the BBC and was first perceived as an independent style element.


The feature cannot be strictly defined, because there are many varieties, from the original sound feature, which essentially consists of reports and interviews, to documentation based on archive material. In practice, it is a collective term for acoustic forms of expression for the transmission and deepening of information. The transitions to the radio play are fluid. In the case of a feature, the facts usually predominate, in the case of radio plays, fiction. However, many radio plays contain documentary elements and many features fictional elements. The feature stands in the area of ​​tension between information and its artistic design.


In 1937, the BBC introduced the Experimental Hour (experimental hour) with formally unbound programs that were distinguished by their documentary character. The success of the series gave the authors artistic freedom and gradually created a new form of presentation, for which the term "feature" became established in 1939. During the time of National Socialism , the reception of the BBC, like other foreign broadcasters, was forbidden in accordance with the ordinance on extraordinary broadcasting measures in Germany, as these were considered enemy broadcasters . After the end of the Second World War , the British occupation forces also brought the new type of broadcast to Germany.

In November 1945, Axel Eggebrecht posted a notice in Talks and Features Dpt. (Department for Conversations and Features) of the Nordwestdeutscher Rundfunk ( NWDR ) defines in ten points what authors and editors should know "About audio sequences (features)". Eggebrecht also wrote the first German-language radio feature What would be if ... A look back at the future of the world , which was first broadcast on March 9, 1947. Eggebrecht, Peter von Zahn , Ernst Schnabel, and Alfred Andersch are the main authors of the early feature in Germany.

In 1954, the SFB took over the Berlin NWDR studio. From the late 1960s, Peter Leonhard Braun developed the “written” feature into an “acoustic feature”; many of his works contained more original tones than narration. This was made possible by portable recording devices and particularly attractive by the emergence of stereophony .

While the word “feature” has been used in West German radio programs since 1945, the term “radio documentation” ( Georg Dannenberg ) was initially preferred on radio in the GDR . It was not until January 1963 that a separate feature department was founded in Berlin (East), which existed until the former GDR broadcasters were wound up in December 1991.

Today all nine broadcasting corporations of ARD and Deutschlandradio produce features.

Modes of production

The production of a radio feature takes place in two phases:

  • The author researches, conducts interviews and writes the manuscript. This process can take months, sometimes years.
  • The director invites actors into the studio and produces the show. A radio feature is typically completed in a week today.

The two roles - author and director - do not have to be separate. Authors such as Peter Leonhard Braun or Helmut Kopetzky successfully represented both functions at an early stage. With the advent of digital production possibilities with “ digital audio workstations ”, ie PCs with editing and mixing software, more and more authors can afford their own “studio”, and the tendency to merge the roles of author / director is increasing accordingly. In the majority of productions, however, the traditional separation makes sense if only because recording and writing a feature requires different skills than working with actors, noises and sound effects in a studio.

In January 2010 the Germany-wide series Das ARD-Radio-Feature started, based on the model of the radio crime scene . It is seen as a “restriction and upgrading at the same time”, since the pooling of broadcasting slots achieves a larger audience, but also loses broadcasting slots for new original broadcasts.

Legal differentiation from radio play

Although there is overlap, the classic feature is not a radio play, so not fiction. Therefore, as a rule, the art reservation ( Art. 5 Para. 3 S. 1 Basic Law ) does not apply to the feature . For a feature, facts have to be solidly researched for information purposes and not embedded out of context. There have been numerous injunctions against the broadcasters in the history of the radio feature , with varying outcomes. Usually the burden of proof falls back on the author. This situation has become particularly acute because many programs are now available on the Internet and are not "sent away" and forgotten as in the past. Fictitious elements in a feature are therefore marked as such during production.


See also


  • Alfred Andersch : Experiment with the feature. On the occasion of a new work by Ernst Schnabel. In: radio and television. Volume [1], Issue 1 (1953), pp. 94–97.
  • Tamara Auer-Krafka: The history of the development of the West German radio feature from the beginning to the present. Braumüller , Vienna 1980, ISBN 3-7003-0258-4 .
  • Axel Buchholz , Walther von La Roche (ed.): Radio journalism. A manual for training and practice in radio. 10th edition. Springer VS, Wiesbaden 2013, ISBN 978-3-658-01772-9 .
  • Patrick Conley: The partisan journalist. The history of the radio feature in the GDR. Metropol, Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-86331-050-9 .
  • Axel Eggebrecht : "About audio sequences (features)" . Notice in NWDR , November 1945. ( online version )
  • Knut Hickethier : The world as a listening space in time. The history of the “Feature” program form. In: epd Church and Radio , Volume [36], Issue 53 (July 7, 1984): pp. 4–7.
  • Holger Jackisch (Ed.): Original sound Germany: Radiofeature 1992–1997 ; a joint program by MDR, SFB and ORB, 300 pages, Concept-Verlag-Gesellschaft Leipzig 1997, ISBN 3-932822-01-3 .
  • Michael Lissek (Ed.): History and aesthetics of radio features: “Something is there, unmistakably stubborn, which lies beyond the meaning of words ...” Contributions to the first Rendsburg Feature Symposium 2010. Norderstedt 2012, ISBN 978-3-8482 -0385-7 .
  • Axel Reitel : Beautiful youth. Young people in contradiction to the GDR. Five features . Köster-Verlag, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-89574-627-7 .
  • Udo Zindel , Wolfgang Rein (ed.): The radio feature . Including CD with audio samples. 2nd edition, UVK , Konstanz 2007, ISBN 978-3-89669-499-7 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Basiswissen Radion Feature , loaded on October 8, 2018
  2. ↑ In 1953 the writer Alfred Andersch, as head of the evening studio in the Hessischer Rundfunk, tried the following definition: The feature was "assembly art par excellence". The former head of the feature department at ORF, Peter Klein , describes the feature as "artistically designed documentation". Peter Leonhard Braun , the innovator of radio features in the 1970s, calls it the "art form of information" and Walter Filz , head of the SWR's features department, says that feature is "documentation with added acoustic value".
  3. ^ The NWDR was the common predecessor organization of the later WDR and NDR
  4. The SFB later became part of the RBB .
  5. ( ARD-Radio-Feature ), Feature ( Deutschlandradio Kultur ), Das Feature ( Deutschlandfunk )
  6. The idea for the ARD radio feature came from the WDR feature editor Gisela Corves.
  7. Klaus Raab: Cybercrime: Upgraded to a limited extent . In: Frankfurter Rundschau . January 26, 2010 ( [accessed on March 26, 2018]).
  8. See Ekkehard Kühn in Buchholz / von La Roche: Radio-Journalismus , Econ, Berlin 2009, ISBN 3-471-78040-8
  9. See also documentation
  10. Website for the book Radio-Journalismus with further information