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Deutsche Welle

This article is about the German international broadcaster. For the unrelated German radio company of the 1920s and 30s, see Deutsche Welle GmbH. For information about the musical genre, see Neue Deutsche Welle.

Deutsche Welle
Type International public broadcaster
Country Germany
Founded 3 May 1953
Headquarters Berlin/Bonn, Germany
Broadcast area
National and international
Owner ARD
Launch date
3 May 1953
Affiliation World Radio Network
Official website
File:Deutsche Welle.jpg
The Deutsche Welle building in Bonn

Deutsche Welle (Template:IPA-de;"German Wave" in German) or DW is Germany's international broadcaster. The service is aimed audiences outside Germany. It broadcasts news and information on shortwave, Internet and satellite radio in 30 languages (DW (Radio)). It has a satellite television service (DW (TV)), which is available in four languages, an online news site, as well as its own center for international media development, DW Akademie. Deutsche Welle is similar to international broadcasters such as the BBC World Service, France 24, Voice of America, Radio Canada International, Radio Free Europe and Radio France Internationale.

Deutsche Welle has been broadcasting since 1953. Until 2003 it was based in Cologne; then it relocated to a new building, the "Schürmann-Bau", in Bonn's former government office area. Television broadcasts are produced in Berlin. Deutsche Welle's website is produced in both Berlin and Bonn.


Deutsche Welle first shortwave broadcast took place on 3 May 1953 with an address by the then West German President, Theodor Heuss. On 11 June 1953 the public broadcasters in the ARD signed an agreement to share responsibility for Deutsche Welle. At first it was controlled by Nordwestdeutscher Rundfunk (NWDR). In 1955, when this split into the separate Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) and Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR) networks, WDR assumed responsibility for Deutsche Welle programming. In 1960 Deutsche Welle became an independent public body after a court ruled that broadcasting from Germany was part of the federal government's foreign-affairs function. On 7 June 1962 DW joined ARD as a national broadcasting station.


Broadcast languages

Language Began Ceased
German 1953[1]
English 1954[1]
Arabic 1959[2]
Persian 1962[3]
Czech 2000[4]
Slovak 2000[4]
Hungarian 2000[4]
Serbo-Croatian 1992[5]
Swahili 1963[3]
Indonesian (Malay)
Modern Greek 1964[3]
Italian 1998[6]
Chinese 1965[7]
Japanese 1969[7] 2000[4]
Pashto 1970[8]
Serbian 1992[5]
Bosnian 1997[6]
Ukrainian 2000[4]
Danish  ? 1998[6]
Norwegian  ?
Dutch  ?
Belarusian 2005[9] before 2011

German reunification

With German reunification in 1990, Radio Berlin International (RBI) of East Germany ceased to exist. Some of the staff of RBI joined Deutsche Welle and it inherited some broadcasting apparatus, including the transmitting facilities at Nauen as well as RBI's frequencies.

DW (TV) began as RIAS-TV, a television station launched by the West Berlin broadcaster RIAS (Radio in the American Sector / Rundfunk im Amerikanischen Sektor) in August 1988. The fall of the Berlin Wall the following year and German reunification in 1990 meant that RIAS-TV was to be closed down. On 1 April 1992 Deutsche Welle inherited the RIAS-TV broadcast facilities, using them to start a German- and English-language television channel broadcast via satellite, DW (TV), adding a short Spanish broadcast segment the following year. In 1995 it began 24-hour operation (12 hours German, 10 hours English, two hours Spanish). At that time DW (TV) introduced a new news studio and a new logo.

Deutsche Welle took over some of the former independent radio broadcasting service Deutschlandfunk's foreign-language programming in 1993, when Deutschlandfunk was absorbed into the new Deutschlandradio.

In addition to radio and television programming, DW sponsored some published material. For example the South-Asia Department published German Heritage: A Series Written for the South Asia Programme in 1967 and in 1984 published African Writers on the Air. Both publications were transcripts of DW programming.

World Wide Web presence

In September 1994 Deutsche Welle was the first public broadcaster in Germany with a World Wide Web presence, initially, hosted by the GMD Information Technology Research Center. For its first two years the site listed little more than contact addresses, although DW's News Journal was broadcast in RealAudio from Real's server beginning in 1995, and the Süddeutsche Zeitung's initial web presence, which included news articles from the newspaper, shared the site. In around 1998 it evolved into a news website under the URL; in 2001 the URL later changed to and switched to in 2012. Deutsche Welle purchased the URL, which previously belonged to DiamondWare, in 2013; DW had attempted to claim ownership of the address in 2000, without success.

For its 10th-anniversary celebration in 2004 DW provided a Klingon language version of its website.

The Internet news site offers daily exclusive coverage in seven core languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, German, Spanish, Portuguese for Brazil and Russian) as well as a mixture of news and information in 23 other languages corresponding to Deutsche Welle's radio programmes. Persian became the site's eighth focus language in 2007.

German and European news are DW's central focus, but the site also offers background information regarding Germany and German language courses.

Recent events

In 2001 Deutsche Welle (in conjunction with ARD and ZDF) founded the German TV subscription TV channel for North American viewers. The project was shut down after four years owing to low subscriber numbers. It has since been replaced by the DW-TV channel (also a subscription service).

Unlike most other international broadcasters, DW-TV doesn't charge terrestrial stations for use of its programming, and as a result its News Journal and other programmes are rebroadcast on numerous public broadcasting stations in several countries, including United States, Australia and New Zealand. In the Philippines it is shown nationwide on Net 25.

Deutsche Welle is still suffering from financial and staffing cuts. Its budget was reduced by about €75 million over five years and of the 2,200 employees it had in 1994 only 1,200 remain. Further cuts are still expected.

In 2003 the German government passed a new "Deutsche Welle Law", which defined DW as a tri-media organization, making the Deutsche Welle website an equal partner with DW-TV and DW Radio. The website is available in 30 languages, but focuses on German, English, Spanish, Russian, Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese and Arabic. Persian became the eighth focus language in 2007.

In March 2009 DW-TV expanded its television services in Asia with two new channels, namely DW-TV Asia and DW-TV Asia+. DW-TV Asia (DW-TV Asien in German) contains 16 hours of German programming and 8 hours in English whilst DW-TV Asia+ contains 18 hours of English programmes plus 6 hours of German programmes.[10]

In August 2009 DW-TV's carriage in the United Kingdom on Sky channel 794 ceased, although the channel continues to be available via other European satellites receivable in the UK.[11]

In 2011, DW announced a major reduction of service including the closure of most of its FM services in the Balkans (except for Romani) but that it would expand its network of FM partners in Africa. The radio production for Hausa, Kiswahili, French and Portuguese for Africa were optimized for FM broadcasts and DW also produce a regional radio magazine daily in English, to be rebroadcast by partners in Africa.

Audio content in Arabic is distributed online, via mobile or rebroadcast by partners.

DW announced it would focus on FM partnerships for Bengali, Urdu, Dari/Pashtu and Indonesian for South Asia, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

On 1 November 2011, DW discontinued shortwave broadcasts in German, Russian, Persian and Indonesian and ended its English service outside of Africa. Chinese programming was reduced from 120 minutes to 60 minutes a week. As of November 2011, DW only broadcast radio programming via shortwave in: Amharic, Chinese, Dari, English and French for Africa, Hausa, Kiswahili, Pashtu, Portuguese for Africa and Urdu.[12]

Shortwave relay stations

Domestic shortwave relay stations

Transmitter sites

The Jülich radio transmitter site began operation in 1956 with eleven 100 kW Telefunken transmitters.

The Wertachtal site was authorized in 1972 and began service with four 500 kW transmitters. By 1989 there were 15 transmitters, four of which relayed the Voice of America.

The Nauen transmitter site was inherited from Radio Berlin International. RBI's Russian-made three 500 kW and one 100 kW transmitters were replaced by four Telefunken 500 kW transmitters and four rotatable antennas. Today Deutsche Welle no longer uses any of the transmitters based in Germany.

External shortwave relay stations

  • Trincomalee, Sri Lanka, sold to Sri Lanka Broadcasting Cooperation
    • 3 × 250 kW shortwave transmitters
    • 1 × 400 kW mediumwave transmitter
    • 20 antennas (to be verified)
  • Kigali, Rwanda: A relay station in Kigali, Rwanda, provides coverage for Africa. DW's only remaining relay station as of 2012,.[13] This relay station would be closed late March 2015.
    • 4 × 250 kW shortwave transmitters
  • Sines, Portugal closed on 30t October 2011 (will be dismantled in a few months)
    • 3 × 250 kW shortwave transmitters

DW used a relay station in Malta had three SW and one 600 kW-MW transmitter and gave partial coverage of the Americas, Southern Asia and the Far East.[14] It was established in the early 1970s in exchange for a grant of almost 1 million GBP. The station closed in January 1996.

Formerly, DW shared a transmitting station in the Caribbean with the BBC and had a relay-exchange with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that allowed DW to use two 250 kW transmitters in Sackville, New Brunswick until that facility closed in 2012.[15]

Relay stations leasing transmitter time to DW

In 2013, DW leased time on the following relay stations:[16]

General Directors

  • 12 October 1960 – 29 February 1968: Hans Otto Wesemann
  • 1 March 1968 – 29 February 1980: Walter Steigner
  • 1 March 1980 – 8 December 1980: Conrad Ahlers
  • 19 December 1980 – 30 June 1981: Heinz Fellhauer (interim)
  • 1 July 1981 – 30 June 1987: Klaus Schütz
  • 1 July 1987 – 30 June 1989: Heinz Fellhauer
  • 1 July 1989 – 31 March 2001: Dieter Weirich
  • 1 April 2001 – 30 September 2001: Reinhard Hartstein (interim as deputy intendant)
  • 1 October 2001 – 30 September 2013: Erik Bettermann
  • 1 October 2013 – present: Peter Limbourg

DW services

  • DW (Radio): shortwave, cable TV, satellite and digital radio (DRM) broadcasting in 29 languages, with a 24-hour service in German and English
  • DW (TV): satellite television broadcasting mainly in German, English, Arabic and Spanish.
  • DW.DE: 30-language website

DW Akademie

DW Akademie is Deutsche Welle's international center for media development, media consulting and journalism training. It offers trainings and consulting services to partners around the world. It works with broadcasting stations, media organizations, and universities especially in developing- and transition countries to reinforce free and independent media. The work is funded mainly by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development.[17]

DW Akademie's journalism traineeship is an 18-month program for young journalists that provides editorial training in the three areas in which Deutsche Welle produces content: radio, television and online. It is aimed at aspiring journalists from Germany as well as from regions to which Deutsche Welle broadcasts.[18]

The Master's Program "International Media Studies" offered in cooperation with the University of Bonn and the University Bonn-Rhein-Sieg of Applied Sciences is based at DW Akademie. The four-semester program combines the disciplines media development, media regulation, and communications. The seminars are held in English and German and the degree is aimed at media representatives from developing and transition countries.

The managing director of DW Akademie is Gerda Meuer, who has worked as a journalist for different media outlets and as a correspondent for Inter Press Service, a news agency focused on development issues.[19]

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ a b "1950-1954". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  2. ^ "1955-1959". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c "1960-1964". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "2000 - 2005". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  5. ^ a b "1990-1994". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c "1995-1999". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  7. ^ a b "1965-1969". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  8. ^ "1970-1974". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  9. ^ "Broadcasting Democracy to Belarus". Belarus Digest. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  10. ^ Two New Dedicated Channels Provide Gateway to Europe: Two DW-TV channel launched in Asia Deutsche Welle.
  11. ^ "No more DW-TV on Sky/Astra". Boards. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  12. ^ "Changes in radio broadcasts starting this summer". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  13. ^ "Transmitting from the hilltops of Kigali". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  14. ^ Wood 2000: 51.
  15. ^ Wood 2000: 51–52.
  16. ^ Deutsche Welle Short Wave.
  17. ^ "Who we are". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  18. ^ "Traineeship Program". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 22 November 2014. 
  19. ^ "About us". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  • McPhail, Thomas L. Global Communication: Theories, Stakeholders, and Trends. 2006, Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 1-4051-3427-5.
  • Wallis, Roger, and Stanley J. Baran. The Known World of Broadcast News: International News and the Electronic Media. 1990, Routledge. ISBN 0-415-03604-6.

External links


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