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Infobox radio tower icon
Station logo
Radio station ( public service )
Program type Cultural radio
reception terrestrial ( VHF , DAB + ), via satellite ( DVB-S ), as an Internet live stream and in most cable networks (VHF, DVB-C )
Reception area North Rhine-WestphaliaNorth Rhine-Westphalia North Rhine-Westphalia
Start of transmission 1962; Full program since March 30, 1964
Broadcaster West German Broadcasting Cologne
Intendant Tom Buhrow
Program director Karl Karst
List of radio stations

WDR 3 is the radio culture wave of West German Broadcasting in North Rhine-Westphalia .


During the Christmas holidays 1954/55, and one and two years later (until 1956/57), WDR and NDR (then still NWDR) broadcast WDR 3 and NDR 3 based on the BBC's third program for the first time ; the programs, like those of the BBC, were aimed at an “upscale” audience, which, according to the director at the time, Hanns Hartmann , should be prepared to participate, to think along with it and to empathize with it . After test runs for a full program in 1962, the WDR broadcast “WDR 3” five days a week from January 1, 1963. From March 30, 1964, the 3rd radio program broadcast daily. In contrast to today's program mandate, the focus in the first decades was on education. Political word , cultural word , classical music and other program elements such as radio plays were subordinate to this educational concept.

From 1973 the program was gradually redesigned to become today's music-influenced cultural program. a. Large-scale music broadcasts created. In 1987 the program Klassik-Forum was broadcast in the morning, in which the editors themselves are in the studio and present the music they have selected in detail. In contrast to the rest of the daily program, entire works with running times of up to an hour are regularly found here.

Since the reform in 2001, an increasingly clear positioning of WDR 3 as an accompanying program with magazine character can be seen . This applies in particular to the program from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Karl Karst has headed the program since 1999 .

In addition to FM, WDR 3 can also be received nationwide via DAB + since September 1, 2014 .

Old logo until April 4, 2014


According to the WDR's self-portrayal, the radio program is committed to the “demanding word” and classical music . A lot of space is also given to modern approaches to music. After WDR 5 , WDR 3 is the broadcaster with the highest information density in the fields of politics and culture . The Journal magazine covers current events several times a day. In these eight-minute broadcasts, short messages, a commentary and several contributions are made. WDR 3's earlier, well-known word-of-mouth broadcasts included, among other things, the evening presented and the critical diary established in 1967 .

The advertising claim of the wave changed several times. From 1999 (possibly even earlier) to 2007 it was: “WDR 3. Das Kulturereignis”; in addition, more or less abstract symbol images that change over the years but are independent of target groups, such as that of a water surface. From 2008 the claim was “WDR 3. For the pleasure of hearing”, and the website and advertising brochures were visually aimed at the target group of “ best agers ” and pensioners. For a long time, the lead photo on the WDR 3 website featured a woman over 50 with earphones and an mp3 device, happily out in the open, in 2011 a white-haired man with headphones and a white notebook computer in an almost sterile, snow-white environment. Since 2012, the wave has been missing the advertising line.

WDR 3 opens its program scheme in loose succession and broadcasts an entire “radio day” on a specific topic, around September 21, 2013, 99 years after the beginning of the First World War : breathless, staggering, overheated. The eve of the First World War

Program reforms and controversy

Like all waves of ARD, WDR 3 went through numerous program reforms in the course of its history, which always provoked criticism. Up until the reform of 2004, the content of the wave grew, the number of new programs increased, and the proportion of words increased. This trend has been declining since 2004. Many “word islands” were abolished or migrated to WDR 5 in a modified form.

2001 reform

WDR advertised this reform as follows:

From March the new program of the radio cultural wave WDR 3 will be heard: a changed program structure, lots of new programs. WDR 3 open, WDR 3.pm or Resonanzen - the new broadcast titles already suggest: WDR 3 sets contemporary accents - and moves closer to the cultural and musical events of today. […] The changes at WDR 3 continue the line of the program reform of 1998. The aim is to strengthen the cultural commitment: "For me this is the consistent further development of a large, traditional cultural program that suits public broadcasting well," says Karl Karst, WDR 3's program director.

Among other things, the literary-critical program Am Abendpunkte (Monday - Friday 23.05-23:30) fell victim to the reform . All that remained of her was the Gutenbergs Welt section, which was broadcast on Wednesday and was supervised and moderated by Lothar Fend, and was postponed to Sunday 12.05-13.00.

2004 reform

A program reform on January 1, 2004 greatly expanded the two cultural magazine programs Mosaik and Resonanzen without, however, increasing the number of contributions, i.e. information. The aim of the program reform was to interest younger listeners (aged 30 and over) in the program by offering an even broader range of music. It was therefore decided to “split” the program into two parts: from 6:00 am to 3:00 pm, the wave only broadcast classical music, after 3:00 pm the musical spectrum opened up towards jazz and easy listening . The WDR itself justified the reform with an expansion of the cultural offer and a differentiation from other WDR waves:

With the new offers, WDR 3 is a clear alternative to the information [meaning WDR 2] and service-oriented [meaning WDR 5] programs of other programs, without the listeners interested in culture having to forego core political information.

Reform 2008

The next program reform in 2008 was discussed even more controversially in public. In particular, was provided in further reducing the word share of the program, which the reformers to charges of Dudelfunk earned -Begünstigung. On September 1, 2008, this reform came into force in a slightly revised version, in which, among other things, the monothematic music passages in the afternoon became a magazine with classical music. The political commentary program Tageszeichen , an abbreviated successor to the legendary Critical Diary , fell victim to the reform .

Reform 2012

Another planned program reform should take effect in March 2012, but met with even fiercer resistance, most recently in the form of an online signature list that was signed by almost 19,000 people by the end of May 2012. The signatories of "Die Radioretter - Initiative für Kultur im Rundfunk" complained in an open letter to the director Monika Piel ...

"... the removal of 32 minutes of daily political reporting in the 'Journal', the disappearance of a weekly feature space for music and literature, the transformation of the current weekday cultural magazine" Resonanzen "into a repetition program and the end of the Sunday international magazine" Resonanzen Worldwide " - to name just a few of the 'little things' announced as organizational reform. "

and accused the reformers, especially the radio director, to have "lost sight of the proportionality of the means":

“The savings on WDR 3 radio would be a piece of cake compared to the huge sums spent on professional football on television. Or that the fee-financed self-discovery process costs expensive moderators in the evening program. "

The WDR postponed the reform to May 2012. Radio director Schmitz rejected the criticism in an open letter:

"WDR is and will remain the ARD station with the most broadcast slots for features and radio plays."

He attributed the majority of the signatories to the protest note:

"In my opinion, there is some evidence that many statements and demands are inspired by an understanding of cultural radio that was modern in the 1970s."

At a meeting of the Broadcasting Council of the WDR on March 2, 2012, the reform was on the agenda, although it is not the Broadcasting Council but the director who ultimately has to decide. The chairman of the WDR Broadcasting Council, Ruth Hieronymi ( CDU ), demanded at this meeting:

"Possible changes must do justice to the unique selling point of WDR 3 as a music-influenced, demanding cultural program."

In its meeting on May 30, 2012, the WDR Broadcasting Council finally approved the program reform that had been improved following the protests. On the one hand, the program will be expanded to include a current culture magazine on Sunday. The website will also be expanded. On the other hand, “a few programs are given up or shortened”. The daily cultural commentaries and a weekly radio essay as well as the journal in the evening on the most important current events of the day were retained. A “permanent 'future workshop'” should provide permanent space for experiments in the program. A one-hour music feature is broadcast on public holidays. Ten slots per year are provided for this.

On October 7th, 2012 the new Sunday culture magazine WDR 3. Kultur am Sonntag started .

Causa Lemke-Matwey

On May 5, 2014, the WDR ended its collaboration with editor Christine Lemke-Matwey , who regularly moderated the classic forum program on WDR 3 . The WDR justified this action with "disloyalty" and referred to an article by Lemke-Matwey published in Die Zeit , in which she told the executives of the public broadcasters and the like. a. accused a “militant disinterest in high culture”, which is expressed in the gradual marginalization of culture and especially classical music in the offerings of the broadcasters. The WDR's reaction was commented on in the press as disproportionate.

Reform 2016

With the program reform coming into effect at the beginning of 2016, which will be carried out at the same time as changes to the WDR 5 program , the introduction of a fixed broadcasting slot for radio plays from Monday to Friday from 7 p.m. stands out. However, this against the background of a saving of 1.5 million euros in the production of both program waves. In press reports it was said that ten percent of the permanent positions would be lost by 2020; In relation to WDR 3, there are eight full-time employees.

Moderators (selection)

Web links

References and comments

  1. ^ [1] , [2] , [3] : ARD-Chronik des Deutschen Rundfunkarchivs
  2. a b c WDR-Zeitzeichen: The start of the radio program WDR3. (MP3; 6766 kB) (No longer available online.) Formerly in the original ; accessed on May 9, 2014 .  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link / podcast-ww.wdr.de  
  3. Program sub-pages on the WDR-3 website. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on August 1, 2001 ; accessed on May 10, 2014 .
  4. ^ Homepage WDR 3 , accessed on December 3, 2013
  5. wdr3.de, archived at archive.org ( Memento from November 9, 2000 in the Internet Archive ). The website of November 9th, 2000 showed the following topics in a picture gallery: concert hall, cultural park and technology.
  6. wdr3.de . The website of December 17, 2008 showed culture and not music information in the first place, for example about the women's festival, the House of History and the architecture of the Berlin Palace.
  7. ^ Radiotag on 100 years after 1913 ( memento from December 10, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) on the WDR website
  8. Self-presentation on wdr3.de ( Memento from June 28, 2001 in the Internet Archive ). Retrieved on March 18, 2012.
  9. Self-presentation on wdr3.de ( Memento from February 3, 2004 in the Internet Archive ). Retrieved March 18, 2012.
  10. On the criticism of the reform see u. a. [4] The time of February 28, 2008
  11. Instead of the daytime signal, the rather satirical program Politikum was created on the neighboring wave WDR 5 .
  12. a b ( page no longer available , search in web archives: Broadcasting Council decides on controversial WDR3 reform ) . In: Free Press (dapd). May 30, 2012. Retrieved May 31, 2012.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link / www.freipresse.de
  13. Lothar Fend et al.: Open letter (to director Monika Piel). "Die Radioretter" - Initiative Kultur im Rundfunk, February 2012, accessed on September 16, 2018 .
  14. Reactions to the campaign in the daily press, see below a .:
    Alexandra Zwick: Occupy WDR 3. In: Der Tagesspiegel . March 4, 2012, accessed September 16, 2018 . or Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung , March 4, 2012, features section, p. 1.
  15. Wolfgang Schmitz: Criticism of the planned WDR 3 reform: Open reply letter. (No longer available online.) In: WDR3.de. February 24, 2012, archived from the original on April 18, 2012 ; accessed on September 16, 2018 .
  16. Broadcasting Council discusses changes to WDR 3. (No longer available online.) In: WDR.de. Press release, March 2, 2012, archived from the original on March 8, 2012 ; accessed on September 16, 2018 .
  17. ^ WDR 3: Planned changes . WDR press release, May 30, 2012, accessed May 31, 2012.
  18. Andreas Kolb: Neue Musikzeitung: WDR 3 announces presenter Christine Lemke-Matwey the collaboration. In: nmz.de . May 8, 2014, accessed May 10, 2014 . Helmut Mauró : Süddeutsche Zeitung: Fack ju Mozart. In: Süddeutsche.de . July 16, 2014, accessed May 10, 2014 .
  19. Program reform at WDR3 and WDR5: ten percent of posts will be lost. In: meedia.de. Retrieved December 1, 2015 .