DR (broadcaster)

Last updated

Danish Broadcasting Corporation
Danmarks Radio
TypePublicly funded public-service broadcaster
Industry Mass media
Founded1 April 1925;96 years ago (1925-04-01)
Headquarters DR Byen, ,
Area served
Kingdom of Denmark
Key people
Maria Rørbye Rønn  [ da ]
Marianne Bedsted
Website dr.dk

DR (pronounced  [ˈte̝ˀˌɛɐ̯] ), officially the Danish Broadcasting Corporation in English, [1] is a Danish public-service radio and television broadcasting company. [2] Founded in 1925 as a public-service organization, it is Denmark's oldest and largest electronic media enterprise. DR is a founding member of the European Broadcasting Union.


DR is funded by a media licence which is charged to all Danish households and companies with television sets, computers, smartphones and other devices with internet access.

Today, DR operates three television channels, all of which are distributed free-to-air via a nationwide DVB-T2 network. [3] DR also operates seven radio channels. All are available nationally on DAB+ radio and online, with the four original stations also available on FM radio. [4]


DR was founded on 1 April 1925 under the name of Radioordningen, which was changed to Statsradiofonien in 1926, then to Danmarks Radio in 1959, [5] and to DR in 1996. [6]

During the German occupation of Denmark in World War II, radio broadcasts were censored – under particularly harsh conditions from August 1943 – leading many Danes to turn to Danish-language broadcasts from the BBC or the illegal press, [7] as well as Swedish radio in 1944–1945. [5]

Statsradiofonien's second FM radio station, Program 2 (P2), was added in 1951, followed by P3 in 1963.

Experimental television broadcasts started in 1949, with regular programming beginning on 2 October 1951 with the launch of Denmark's first television channel. Daily programming began in 1954. [5] Colour television test broadcasts were started in March 1967, with the first large-scale colour broadcasting occurring for the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France. [8] Danmarks Radio officially ended its "test" transmissions of colour television on 1 April 1970, although it wasn't until 1978 that the organisation's last black-and-white television programme (TV Avisen—The News) went over to colour. [8]

At 14.00 local time on 16 May 1983 DR launched its first teletext information service, which is still available on all DR channels. [9]

Danmarks Radio's monopoly on national television lasted until 1988, when TV 2 started broadcasting. [10] 8 years later DR launched their second television channel, DR2, on 30 August 1996. [11] It was sometimes called den hemmelige kanal ("the secret channel") in its early years because it could not be seen nationwide at its launch.

The first trials of DAB were carried out in 1995, [12] with eight channels officially launching in October 2002. [13]

On 7 June 2007 DR launched an online-only news channel DR Update. [14] It was later added as a traditional channel. With the switch to over-the-air digital signals on 1 November 2009, DR added three new channels to its lineup [15]

In 2013 a new logo in which the letters "DR" featured in a white sans-serif font on a black background was introduced, and the line-up of television channels was changed once again. A new channel targeting young people, DR3 replaced DR HD. Another channel for children, DR Ultra replaced DR Update. The closure of DR Update was the start of a revamping of DR 2 as a channel for news and society.

A nationwide switch from DAB to the newer DAB+ format took place on 1 October 2017. [16] All of DR's stations plus the privately owned, public service channel - Radio24Syv, moved to the second national DAB+ multiplex (DAB-blok 2).

Logo history


The principal means of funding DR is through the media licence, costing 2,492 DKK per year per household since 2017. [17] Traditionally it was the owners of radio and television receiving sets who were obliged to pay the licence fee. The increased availability of online streaming, however, led to the replacement on 1 January 2007 of the television licence by a more widely payable "media licence". This licence is mandatory not just for those with television sets but also for all those who own a computer, smartphone, or any other device enabling access to the internet. [18]

In 2007 approximately 180,000 households did not pay media licence. [19]

Additional revenue comes from such commercial activities as the mounting of DR-organized concerts and other events in the Koncerthuset, the sale of books, CDs, and DVDs, as well as overseas sales from the catalogue of DR-made programmes.

Over a period of four years starting in 2019 through 2022 the media licence will be replaced by general taxation, as announced on 16 March 2018 by a majority in the Danish Parliament consisting of Venstre, Conservatives, Liberal Alliance, and Danish People's Party. [20] [21]

Notable television programmes

DR productions

Other shows

DR organised 3 Eurovision Song Contests: Eurovision Song Contest 1964, Eurovision Song Contest 2001 and Eurovision Song Contest 2014.


DR regional office in Ronne. Danmarks Radio.JPG
DR regional office in Rønne.



Geographical terrestrial coverage


All of Denmark is covered by digital terrestrial reception through a nationwide DVB-T2 and MPEG-4 network comprising five multiplexes (MUX). DR owns MUX 1, which broadcast all DR channels unencrypted. Given the low topography of the Danish mainland and islands, so-called signal overspill is inevitable if every part of the country is to receive coverage. Hence, all DRs' channels are available in northernmost Germany, and Scania the southernmost part of Sweden.


Every city in Greenland can receive DR1, DR2 and DR Ramasjang free-to-air via a public DVB-T network.

Faroe Islands

The company, Televarpið, a subsidiary of Faroese Telecom covers the Faroe Islands with a DVB-T network broadcasting DR1, DR2, DR Ramasjang. [23]

Orchestras and Ensembles

Disbanded DR Orchestras

Rosenkjær Prize

Since 1963, DR has awarded the Rosenkjær Prize to a person who has proven an ability to make a difficult subject accessible to a wider audience in an understandable and vivid form. The prizewinner commits to hold a number of radio lectures. The prize is named after Jens Rosenkjær (1883–1976), Head of State Broadcasting 1937–53. The prize is now DKK 50,000, up from 25,000 in 2008, and 40,000 in 2009 [24]

Board of directors

DR's board of directors comprises 11 members appointed for a four-year period. Three members, including the chair, are appointed by the Minister of Culture, and six by Parliament, while the employees of DR elect two members. The board has overall responsibility for DR programs and for the hiring of DR's chief executive, the director general, and the remaining management positions. Their names are unknown.

Relocation of DR and funding crisis

The former headquarters of DR, Radiohuset on Rosenorns Alle Radiohuset.jpg
The former headquarters of DR, Radiohuset on Rosenørns Allé

DR moved in 2006-2007 all its activities from Radiohuset in Frederiksberg and TV-Byen in Søborg to a new complex in the Ørestad area of Copenhagen. [25] [26] The new building, called DR Byen (the DR city), covers an area of approximately 133,000 m2 (1,431,600 sq ft). [27]

The project became more expensive than planned, forcing DR to make drastic budget cuts. [28] In April 2007 it was announced that 300 employees would be laid off, meaning that most of the sports department would be closed down as well as most of the educational department, several programmes and the radio channel DR X. [29] [30] DR would also give up its rights to the Olympic Games and attempt to sell the rights to a number of other sports events including football. [31]

As the major recipient of license funds, DR operates under a public service contract with the government which it was unable to fulfil in the wake of the budget crisis related to the move. [32] [33] [34] The budget overspends caused a major scandal which saw senior management of DR replaced, and was followed by a heated political debate over whether the service should receive additional emergency funding[ citation needed ]. Various measures to mitigate the impact on the public service obligations of the institution were contemplated by the Danish Parliament, and a compromise was agreed to limit the impact of the deficit.

Accusations of bias

For over a decade, the Danish People's Party, a nativist [35] and anti-immigrant political party, [36] has criticised DR for alleged bias in its political news coverage, citing the process for appointment to DR's board of directors. In response, DR set up a "watchdog committee" intended to detect and report upon any bias. Members of the watchdog committee are unknown.

The first large-scale scientific content analysis of political news coverage on DR published by the Centre for Journalism at the University of Southern Denmark, studying election news coverage in the years 1994–2007, documented no persistent political bias towards either the left or the right. [37] News coverage of political actors and parties was found to be largely similar to the news coverage on DR's competitor TV 2. The study concluded that political news coverage on both broadcasters was guided by journalistic professional criteria as to the newsworthiness of political actors and political issues, not by partisan considerations.

In 2008, Mikael Rothstein, Jewish author and professor of religious history at the University of Copenhagen, was highly critical of DR when it issued a Christian values policy, declaring that Muslims would feel excluded. [38] [39]

See also

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