Sender Free Berlin

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Sender Free Berlin
Station logo
General information
Seat: West Berlin
Resolution: April 23, 2003
Successor: RBB
Radio Bremen Norddeutscher Rundfunk Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk Bayerischer Rundfunk Südwestrundfunk Saarländischer Rundfunk Hessischer Rundfunk Westdeutscher Rundfunk KölnARD Karte.svg
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The Sender Free Berlin ( SFB ) was from its foundation on November 12, 1953 (start of broadcasting: June 1, 1954) to April 30, 2003 as a state broadcaster of the State of Berlin, an institution under public law .

With effect from May 1, 2003 , the SFB merged with the Ostdeutscher Rundfunk Brandenburg (ORB) to form the new Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB). Like the RBB now, the SFB and ORB were also members of the working group of public broadcasters in the Federal Republic of Germany ( ARD ).

With its name in the style of the Cold War , the station raised the claim to a Berlin “free” from communism and socialism and its responsibility for the entire city. In opposition, there was in East Berlin the public broadcast of the GDR .



On October 29, 1923, a radio program was broadcast in Berlin for the first time under the name “Radio Hour Berlin” . On March 18, 1924, the company was renamed " Funk-Hour Berlin ". After the Nazi takeover of power in 1933, radio was nationalized and, as the Reichsender Berlin, it became part of the later Großdeutschen Rundfunk . The Reichsender Berlin fell silent on April 24, 1945. The Reichssender Hamburg then reported on Hitler's death , and only the Reichsender Flensburg reported about the unconditional surrender of the Wehrmacht in May 1945 .

Immediately after the Second World War , the Berlin radio was founded in the House of Broadcasting by the Soviet occupying power . As the East-West conflict soon became apparent, both the US and the British occupying powers began to develop alternative radio programs for the Berlin population to the Berlin radio, which was understood as a communist propaganda instrument. While the Americans, in accordance with their own federalist tradition, set up an independent transmitter in each of the regions of their zone of occupation ( Radio Munich , Radio Frankfurt , Radio Stuttgart , Radio Bremen ) and thus founded the RIAS in Berlin , the British initially set up an outdoor studio in Berlin Uniform broadcaster NWDR (until Sep. 1945: “Radio Hamburg”). Both stations initially each broadcast a German radio program. The Berlin studio of the NWDR was set up in the building at Heidelberger Platz 3, as the house of the radio was used by the Berlin radio. The Vox house , which was already used for radio broadcasts in the 1920s and is located in the British sector, was still badly damaged.

In 1948 the NWDR was handed over to German hands and became an institution under public law for the federal states of Hamburg , Lower Saxony , Schleswig-Holstein , North Rhine-Westphalia and West Berlin . The RIAS remained in American hands.

From 1950 the NWDR broadcast two other regional radio programs in addition to its previous program on VHF , which were referred to as NDR 2 and WDR 2 after the establishment was separated. In the same year the NWDR was a founding member of the ARD . In 1952, the NWDR was largely responsible for the restart of television in Germany .

After the popular uprising in the GDR on June 17, 1953 and the allegations against the RIAS, which is under US sovereignty, of having behaved too cautiously, calls in the western part of Berlin for their own independent radio station became louder and louder.

Spin-off from NWDR, foundation of the SFB

Funkhaus Masurenallee 1955: The Berlin radio of the GDR had not yet moved out, the SFB broadcast from Heidelberger Platz.

On November 12, 1953, the law on the establishment of a radio station, Sender Free Berlin, came into force, on the basis of which an independent radio station was founded for West Berlin on June 1, 1954. With this, the state of Berlin left the broadcasting area of ​​the NWDR , and the latter handed over the radio building at Heidelberger Platz in Wilmersdorf to the new Berlin transmitter . When it started broadcasting on June 1, 1954, the SFB broadcast two radio programs, SFB 1 and SFB 2 . The new establishment joined the ARD in September 1954. In the same year, the joint TV program of the ARD started in Germany, for which the SFB organized an independent regional program for Berlin from 1958 .

After the Berliner Rundfunk moved to the newly built Nalepastraße radio house in the Soviet sector, the SFB was able to take over the radio house . The previous building on Heidelberger Platz now houses the Springer publishing house .

SFB television center

On October 1, 1962, the SFB started together with the NDR what was initially called the Third Program , a radio program with sophisticated music and word-of-mouth programs. From June 1, 1973, this program broadcast guest worker programs for the first time and from April 1, 1979 it was called SFB 3 - at times also in cooperation with WDR 3 - the classic and cultural wave of the SFB.

On January 4, 1965, the third television program North German Television , later Nord 3 or N3 of the NDR, started, in which, in addition to the SFB, Radio Bremen also participated. The program was soon expanded to a full program and can now also be received via satellite in almost all of Europe. These included, for example, the well-known political magazine Kontraste , which was broadcast for the first time by the SFB on January 18, 1968, and which in the first few years focused on the development of the Eastern Bloc. In 1970 the SFB inaugurated its newly built television center .

From 1977 the SFB was in charge of the development and introduction of Teletext / VT (international name: Teletext) for ARD and ZDF . At the radio exhibitions in 1977 and 1979, ARD and ZDF formed joint editorial teams under SFB management to broadcast a teletext service. In 1980, teletext was introduced as a regular service. The seat of the ARD / ZDF teletext headquarters was the SFB until 2000. Then ARD and ZDF separated and have been sending their own VT offers ever since. For the SFB, teletext on television was the most important innovation in its history, alongside stereophony on radio. It was the only time that a joint editorial team for ARD and ZDF was located at the SFB (from 1980 to 2000).

From 1978 the SFB also broadcast its program from Lower Saxony, namely during the day on medium wave 630 kHz from Dannenberg-Pisselberg .

Since 1987, the station for children has broadcast earbears - radio stories for little people .

Development since 1989

On April 30, 1990, Radio 4U created its own youth wave.

On January 1, 1992, the SFB became the state broadcaster for the whole of Berlin, and the previous SFB 1 radio program became the Stadtradio 88 Eight program . In October of the same year, the SFB left the third television program North 3 (today: NDR television ) and from now on broadcast an independent Berlin television program under the name B1 , which was later renamed SFB1 .

On February 22, 1993, the SFB launched Radio B Zwei , its first radio program in cooperation with the ORB . The new program was a wave of information and service for Berlin and Brandenburg and was aimed at listeners aged 25 to 50. The previous SFB 2 program was integrated into this program.

Another cooperation between SFB and ORB was initiated with the Fritz youth radio . This station started broadcasting on March 1, 1993. It replaced the previous programs Rockradio B from the ORB and Radio 4 U from the SFB; the latter was discontinued at the turn of the year 1993.

On September 18, 1994, the SFB started the radio program SFB 4 Radio Multikulti , an international wave for foreign and German listeners. After a short trial run, another wave of cooperation between SFB and ORB started on August 28, 1995, the Inforadio , a news and information channel that broadcast around the clock.

The further expansion of radio cooperation between the ORB and the SFB led to the discontinuation of the Radio B Zwei (ORB / SFB) program, which began in 1993 , on August 26, 1997, and the Radio Brandenburg program, which the ORB started in 1992 . Radio Eins , a daily accompanying program for listeners aged 25 and over, went on air as the successor to both programs .

In the cultural field, the SFB entered into a collaboration with the North German Broadcasting Corporation (NDR) in addition to the ORB . From October 3, 1997 to 2000, Radio 3 was the joint classic and cultural wave of SFB, ORB and NDR. The previous SFB 3 program went into Radio 3 . After 2000, Radio 3 was continued by NDR and ORB until December 31, 2002 and then by ORB alone.

At the same time as Radio 3, another wave of cooperation between ORB and SFB Radio Kultur (initially * radiokultur , later written RADIOkultur ) started on October 3, 1997 under the leadership of the SFB, which took over the program parts of the former SFB 3. In addition to broad political coverage, this program offered classical music, new music, jazz and world music.

As early as 1995, the Info-Radio Berlin-Brandenburg of the ORB and the SFB started the Internet radio streaming service Info-Radio on Demand together with the Technical University of Berlin .

Sender merger to form the RBB

Last station logo from SFB1

On May 1, 2003, the SFB merged with the ORB to form Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB) with two offices in Potsdam-Babelsberg and Berlin-Charlottenburg .

SFB programs

Until the merger with the RBB, the SFB broadcast the following programs alone or in cooperation with other radio and television companies:

watch TV


  • SFB 1 (from June 1, 1954 to December 31, 1991) → from January 1, 1992, as "Berlin 88.8" → from September 1998 as " 88acht "
  • SFB 2 (from June 1, 1954 to February 21, 1993) → from February 22, 1992 to August 26, 1997, as "Radio B2" or " Radio B Zwei " (together with the ORB) → from August 27, 1997 as "Radio EINS" (together with the ORB)
  • SFB 3 (from April 1, 1979 to October 2, 1997, then merged into " Radio Kultur " (together with the ORB) and "Radio 3" (together with the ORB and NDR))
  • SFB 4 (until April 29, 1990) → from April 30, 1990 to December 31, 1992 as " Radio 4U " → from March 1, 1993 as " Fritz " (together with the ORB)
  • 88acht - city radio for Berlin
  • SFB4 MultiKulti (from September 18, 1994) → Radio Multikulti ("RADIOmultikulti") - international wave for foreign and German listeners from Berlin - since the beginning of 2009 no longer on air
  • Radio Eins - daily accompanying program for listeners from 25 years in cooperation with the ORB
  • Fritz - youth radio in cooperation with the ORB
  • Inforadio (“infoRADIO”) - wave of news and information in cooperation with the ORB
  • Radio Kultur ("RADIOkultur") - Kulturwelle in cooperation with the ORB
  • Radio 3 - classical and cultural wave (from October 3, 1997 to December 31, 2000 together with the ORB and the NDR)

Television broadcasts



The directors of the SFB from 1954 to 2003:


Well-known presenters of the SFB television were among others:

Well-known moderators in the SFB radio programs were among others:

See also

Other radio stations in West Berlin after 1945:

Radio stations in East Berlin after 1945:

Web links

Commons : Sender Free Berlin  - Collection of images, videos and audio files


Alexander Kulpok: SFB mon amour - The History of Sender Free Berlin 1954–2003 , Past Publishing , Berlin, 2019, ISBN 978-3-86408-245-0

Individual evidence

  1. NDR. Radio Hamburg: The first station after the Second World War , from: January 21, 2014; Retrieved on: March 3, 2017.
  2. District Office Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf.Retrieved on July 3, 2013.
  3. ^ Chronicle of the ARD | Radio 3 now without SFB. Retrieved July 21, 2020 .
  4. 03.03.1967: »SF-Beat« started. In: Chronicle of the ARD. Retrieved October 25, 2016 .
  5. Andreas Kurtz: No trace of old age: Henning Vosskamp is retiring - he made radio history with sf-Beat. In: Berliner Zeitung . March 25, 2008. Retrieved October 25, 2016 .
  6. Joachim Huber: “sf-beat” inventor Henning Vosskamp has died. In: Der Tagesspiegel . August 20, 2013, accessed October 25, 2016 .

Coordinates: 52 ° 30 '27.8 "  N , 13 ° 16'35.4"  E