WDR computer club

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Television broadcast
Original title WDR computer club
Country of production Germany
original language German
Year (s) 1981-2003
West German Broadcasting Cologne
length 30-45 minutes
Episodes 400
Moderation from January 1983 to the last broadcast in 2003: Wolfgang Back († 2019) and Wolfgang Rudolph
First broadcast May 1, 1983 on West German television

The WDR Computer Club on Westdeutscher Rundfunk was one of the first German television programs to deal with the subjects of computers and technology in general. It was broadcast on numerous third-party programs on German television between 1981 and 2003.

Forerunners of the program were broadcast from 1981 under the title eff-eff . Since January 1983 the computer club has been moderated by Wolfgang Back and Wolfgang Rudolph . Another co-founder was Ulrich Rohde , who was also editor of the computer magazine mc . The name of the show is derived from a real computer club that was originally initiated at the same time, but was not pursued any further for legal reasons. The reason for this was probably the tendency towards commercial character of the project, which was not compatible with a public broadcaster.

The programs focused on entertainment and information. The audience could also participate. Curious DIY projects and handicrafts were also presented. In the early days, the focus was more on the home computer and BTX , later the IBM PC and other personal computers moved more into focus. Current specialist books were presented regularly.

Send formats

Until 1988 there was the Know How Computer Club with about 30 minutes of broadcasting time, then followed by 1996 the Computer Club with about 45 minutes of broadcasting time, followed by Computer Club Classic , Online , Praxis , Report with about 30 minutes of broadcasting time. A total of 400 issues were broadcast.

Some programs were also broadcast by trade fairs, including CeBIT in Hanover , HobbyTronic in Dortmund , the Frankfurt Book Fair , the Nuremberg Toy Fair , Photokina in Cologne and Systems in Munich .

Three special programs , the so-called computer nights , were broadcast live from the Heinz Nixdorf MuseumsForum in Paderborn . On 5th / 6th December 1998 the first computer night took place on the occasion of the 250th broadcast, the second followed on 11/12. December 1999, and the third took place on 3-4. November 2001 for the 20th anniversary of the computer club. These “computer nights” met with a nationwide response. A one-time experiment was performed on the first night in 1998. Two venues for a broadcast were installed in the Heinz Nixdorf MuseumsForum. In addition to the stage in the HNF, a unique lecture program was broadcast for one night in the auditorium (approx. 400 people) parallel to the normal computer night on the phoenix transmitter. As a viewer, for the first time you had the opportunity to switch back and forth between image and sound. You could see WDR and hear Phoenix - or vice versa. During the broadcast it was decided to stop this experiment because most receivers did not separate channel 1 and channel 2 properly.

In the second computer night, the announced record was successful. A world record should be set. A Linux cluster of over 450 computers linked together as a single network could then be fully functional in the early hours of the morning to complete a difficult and tedious rendering job in minutes. The special achievement was that the 450 Linux computers were privately owned. Enthusiasts came from distant parts of Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium to make the record possible and brought their machines over. The performance of the 450 computers that worked together and generated more heat than anticipated was forgotten. The installation began to self-destruct. But with the help of the Paderborn volunteer fire brigade , a complete outer pane could be removed during the record attempt, which then provided the necessary cooling for the PCs.

Wolfgang Rudolph has an amateur radio license , which occasionally led to the inclusion of radio topics in the concept. During a long night, for example, over 150 private radio stations connected via digital amateur radio could be registered as viewers. During a live broadcast from the Bocklemünder outdoor area of ​​the WDR, u. a. Amateur television signals from the long-range ATV converter DB0KO on the Deutsche Welle building in Cologne .

A small technical highlight at the end of the series was the use of a computation cluster from GMD to create a computer-generated studio that was calculated in real time and even adapted to the respective camera positions and zoom settings.

In the July broadcast of 1995, Konrad Zuse , one of the inventors of the computer, was featured as a prominent interview partner on his upcoming 85th birthday.

The January program of 1997 on the subject of 25 years of the microprocessor was devoted to looking back at the devices of the early days of computers. The know-how computer was also presented again with the help of Ulrich Rohde. Ted Hoff , the inventor of the microprocessor , was represented as a prominent interview partner in this program .

From August 1994 to July 1998 a CD called Computer-Club-Digital was also produced. It contained a video of the broadcast and the latest software. This new way of conveying information was also one of the program's innovations. In the beginning there were more than 20,000 interested parties who used this absolutely new form to obtain further information.

Projects and Innovations

Know-how computer (paper computer)

How one can program correctly without having an electronic computer at hand was demonstrated by the know-how computer , which was designed by Wolfgang Back and Ulrich Rohde and was intended as an educational aid . The “computer” worked on paper (paper computer), matches were used as information units. Only 5 commands were enough to represent all mathematical functions. More than 400,000 copies of this training computer on paper were sent out at the time, making it one of the most widely used computers. An implementation as a computer program is available on Wolfgang Back's homepage. In May 2013, Back announced that the know-how computer would be used in school lessons in Namibia with a circulation of 600,000 copies.

Photocell scanner

By placing a single reflective light-emitting diode in the pen of a plotter, it was used for a purpose other than that and expanded into a scanner. The scan results were technically acceptable at the time and enabled the experienced hobbyist to use an image scanning device that was otherwise prohibitively expensive for home use. In another implementation, a drum scanner was reproduced using a record player, a disused record and cardboard tubes.


Very early on, computer programs were broadcast in BASICODE format, initially as an audio signal that could be recorded on a standard cassette recorder on a compact cassette and then read in with the data set on the home computer .

No further moderation was possible during the transmission of this “hard-bit rock”. Since January 7, 1986, a new process called video data has been used to broadcast the software during the entire broadcast. A small section of the screen (below the blanking interval at the top of the screen) transferred the bytes as black and white boxes. The data volume was approx. 50 bytes / sec. In half an hour, almost 90 KB came together. Through further changes the transmission speed was increased over time to 200 bytes / sec (1988) and 10 kbit / sec (1993). The TV broadcaster ProSieben broadcast the payment service Channel Videodat from 1990 to 1994 at 15 kbit / sec. A so-called video data decoder or a TV card with appropriate software such as “Multidec” was required to receive the signal .


An early milestone was set with the installation of KOMCOM . KOMCOM was called KOM munikations COM puter and was practically one of the first mailboxes in Germany for private use. After more than three million calls since 1984, the computer was taken offline in 1995 after the Internet became affordable for the general public.

Display of a program package transmitted via BTX before unpacking


The computer club was also one of the largest providers of BTX software, voted the most popular BTX program by the public for years. At that time, telesoftware was still a real adventure: In the beginning, the programs were copied from the screen by hand. An automatic charging process was later developed.


The Lallus project was a circuit that is operated by telephone and can control and regulate a large number of devices very universally. Since all the commands and states sent were returned by the electronics, the circuit was given the name Lallus from "talking, babbling". The device became very popular and was copied by many viewers.

End of format

After 22 years and 400 programs, the Computer Club, one of the longest-serving television programs on the subject of computers in the world at that time, was discontinued in 2003, to the regret of regular audiences. Among other things, there were various online petitions to those responsible at WDR asking them to keep the broadcast. The last broadcast was broadcast on February 22, 2003 on WDR.

The moderators, who were mostly in the foreground, tried to continue working with their regular broadcaster after the end of the last broadcast with a new, less technology-intensive broadcast concept.

“I'm always asked why the WDR computer club was closed. To bring it to a point, I don't really know myself! […]
Ranga Yogeshwar asked me for an interview at the beginning of March, in which we of course also discussed the end of the WDR computer club in detail. We could not reach a consensus on the reasons for the discontinuation, but I was able to recognize the reasons of the WDR for the termination of this series.
Here are a few words about Ranga Yogeshwar. I never had the impression that he drove or promoted the end of the computer club. Rather, I could feel that Ranga Yogeshwar would have liked to see a computer club, albeit in a different form. I think all insults against Ranga Yogeshwar are wrong and I ask you to continue to refrain from them. [...]
He did not see a chance for a continuation of the WDR Computer Club program or a comparable follow-up program. "

- Comment on Wolfgang Rudolph's homepage on the discontinuation of the broadcast

Renaissance as a computer: club²

Audio broadcast

On July 24th, 2006 Wolfgang Rudolph and Wolfgang Back put the zero number of Computerclub 2 (CC2 for short) on the net. This is a 30-minute, professionally produced, freely available on the Internet audio broadcast ( podcast ) by the two moderators on the subjects of computers and technology. The pilot edition dealt with high-speed DSL and triple play , VPN , smartphones and UMTS as well as Firefox in version 2 .

The great success - Back stated the number of downloads of the pilot edition at around 150,000 - led to the fact that CC2 was continued with a first regular episode on July 31. Since then, it has been published weekly on Mondays. At Christmas 2006 and 2007 as well as at Easter 2007 there were one-hour special programs. In 2007 there was another premiere: ComputerClub 2 produced a half-hour special every day of CeBIT from its own exhibition studio. This continued in 2008 and 2009. On December 28, 2009, on the occasion of the 200th edition of the podcast, a broadcast with a running time of 200 minutes followed.

In addition to the MP3 format, the program was initially available as a RealAudio stream and is now available for download in the Ogg - Vorbis format, in the 32 kbit / s and 128 kbit / s MP3 format. It also existed at times as a SHOUTcast stream. It is also possible to follow the broadcast in the browser window as so-called audio data. The in-house development of the CC2 makers allows visual information on the respective topics to be displayed synchronously.

Although the two presenters explicitly refer to Computerclub 2 as an audio cast , not a podcast , after a short time it received the audience award of the Podcast Award 2007. On March 31, 2009, the show received the European Podcast Award. Because of the outstanding reviews, the show was awarded an honorary prize called the European Excellence Podcast Award in Hamburg.

Video broadcast

On July 24, 2007, ComputerClub 2 was broadcast on NRW.TV for the first time as a television program. The broadcast was recorded in the studios of NRW.TV until May 2016. For the one-year birthday there was a special broadcast on the regional cable station. Worldwide, the broadcast can be followed as a live stream on the broadcaster's website or downloaded from the CC2 homepage. In the following years, more TV episodes of ComputerClub 2 were broadcast. You can now subscribe to these programs via YouTube and iTunes .

Between July 9, 2010 and April 5, 2013, the television broadcaster DrDish TV (now TecTime TV ) broadcast ComputerClub 2 from issue no. 44 via the Astra 1H satellite . On October 28, 2013, Wolfgang Rudolph announced his return to TecTime TV, but this collaboration has since ended.

Since issue 101, ComputerClub 2 has also been broadcast digitally terrestrially (DVB-T) on Television Zwickau (since February 1, 2017, TV Westsachsen , due to the expansion of the broadcasting area).

After an application for the opening of insolvency proceedings was submitted via NRW.tv in March 2016, the insolvency administrator announced the cessation of broadcasting on May 10, 2016. The last episode recorded on NRW.TV was number 186. Since then, the television broadcast can no longer be recorded on NRW.TV.

Since episode 187, the show has been produced in its own television studio. Around 21,000 euros in donations were collected for its establishment.

Separate ways

On December 13, 2016, Wolfgang Back announced that he would end the joint production with Wolfgang Rudolph. Since then, Wolfgang Rudolph has continued both the video broadcast and the audio broadcast under the sole responsibility of the CC2.tv name. Back appeared irregularly as a guest in Heinz Schmitz's YouTube videos. Schmitz has already been seen as a co-moderator in ComputerClub 2 on NRW.TV and as a guest in the WDR Computer Club. All previous and new episodes of CC2.tv are published on the official YouTube channel of ComputerClub 2 and can be downloaded from CC2.tv.


  • "... and in the end we keep a bit over!" (Typical closing motto for every program)
  • "... BÜB, thumbs up!" ( Goodbye to the audience associated with the corresponding gesture, the thumb symbolizes the bit mentioned above)
  • "... eBÜB" (the new version for: "Keep one bit left")

See also

Individual evidence

  1. http://www.cczwei.de/index.php?id=blog&blogid=962
  2. Wolfgang Rudolph - Archive ( Memento of the original from March 9, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , Entry from May 31, 2003 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.wolfgangrudolph.de
  3. CCZwei blog
  4. Andres Partner: Press Releases :: AndresPartner. In: www.andrespartner.de. Retrieved May 11, 2016 .
  5. Wolfgang Back: It had to be one time - and then on a 13th cczwei.de, 13th December 2016, accessed on 22nd January 2017 .
  6. Wolfgang Rudolph: cc2.tv. cczwei-forum.de, December 14, 2016, accessed on January 23, 2017 .
  7. Videos from HIZ. InVideo. In: YouTube . Heinz Schmitz, accessed on January 22, 2017 .
  8. ^ Declaration by Wolfgang Rudolph on the meaning of this quote in the CC-Zwei forum


  • Michael Voregger: Risen as a podcast. In: Cut , Vol. 10, No. 10 (October 2006), p. 32 f. ( online )

Web links