|Type||Television and radio network|
|Availability||Austria; parts of Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Liechtenstein, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland)|
|Headquarters||ORF-Zentrum, Würzburggasse 30, 1196 Küniglberg, Vienna|
|Roland Weißmann (Director General)|
|1 August 1955|
|Ravag (Radio Verkehrs AG|
Österreichischer Rundfunk ('Austrian Broadcasting Corporation'; ORF) is an Austrian national public broadcaster. Funded from a combination of television licence fee revenue and limited on-air advertising, ORF is the dominant player in the Austrian broadcast media. Austria was the last country in continental Europe after Albania to allow nationwide private television broadcasting, although commercial TV channels from neighbouring Germany have been present in Austria on pay-TV and via terrestrial overspill since the 1980s.
The first unregulated test transmissions in Austria began on 1 April 1923 by Radio Hekaphon, run by the radio pioneer and enthusiast Oskar Czeija ( de ; 1887–1958), who applied for a radio licence in 1921; first in his telephone factory in the Brigittenau district of Vienna, later in the nearby TGM technical college. On 2 September, it aired a first broadcast address by Austrian President Michael Hainisch (1858–1940). One year later, a powerful transmitter, designed by the German Telefunken company, was installed on the roof of the former War Ministry building in Ringstraße in central Vienna.
It was, however, the public Radio-Verkehrs-Aktiengesellschaft ('Radio Communication Company Ltd', RAVAG), a joint-venture of the Austrian Federal Government, the City of Vienna and several bank companies, which, in February 1924, was awarded the concession to begin broadcasting, with Czeja as its director-general. Regular transmissions began on 1 October 1924 from provisional studios inside the War Ministry building that were to become known as Radio Wien (Welle 530). By the end of October 1924 it already had 30,000 listeners, and by January 1925 100,000. Relay transmitters, established across the country by 1934, ensured that all Austrians could listen to Radio Wien at a monthly fee of two schillings.
Radio programmes aimed at an educated audience, featuring classical music, literature and lectures. The first outside broadcasts aired in 1925, transmitted from the Vienna State Opera and the Salzburg Festival. On the other hand, news broadcasts only played a minor part out of deference to the Austrian press and the 'neutralism' policy of the federal government (the July Revolt of 1927 was not even mentioned). Nevertheless, also regular sportscasts began 1928 and in 1930 the Austrian legislative election was comprehensively covered. At that time, RAVAG registered about 500,000 listeners, having become a mass medium.
In the course of the abolition of the First Austrian Republic and the implementation of the Austrofascist Ständestaat by Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuß in 1934, the RAVAG studios were embattled during the Austrian Civil War in February, as well as by the protagonists of the Nazi July Putsch, when several insurgents entered the studio and had Dollfuß's resignation announced (he actually was killed in his occupied Chancellery office). Dollfuß's successor Kurt Schuschnigg (1897–1977) had the demolished broadcasting centre replaced by the new Radiokulturhaus building (present-day Funkhaus Wien) near the Theresianum academy in Wieden, Vienna, designed by Clemens Holzmeister (1886–1983) and erected from 1935 to 1939. The Austrian government widely used RAVAG broadcasts for propaganda activities, defying massive cross-border Nazi propaganda broadcasts aired from German transmitters in the Munich region, but also promoted the live transmission of mass celebrations.
With the Austrian Anschluss to Nazi Germany and the invasion of Wehrmacht troops in 1938, RAVAG was dissolved and replaced by Reichssender Wien subordinate to the national Reichs-Rundfunk-Gesellschaft network (Großdeutscher Rundfunk from 1939) in Berlin, were also the programmes were produced. One of the last RAVAG transmissions was Schuschnigg's farewell address on 11 March 1938 ('God Save Austria'). Only hours later, live broadcasts featured the cheering devotees of his Nazi successor Arthur Seyss-Inquart (1892–1946), the triumphant entry of Adolf Hitler in Linz the next day, and his speech on Heldenplatz in Vienna. In 1939, the former RAVAG transmission facilities were taken over by the German Reichspost .
In World War II, listening to Feindsender ('enemy radio stations') became a capital offence, however, such stations such as the Swiss Radio Beromünster as well as the German-language programmes of the BBC, Voice of America (VOA) and Vatican Radio, were widely used information sources. Reichssender Wien transmissions were important for strategic bombing alerts. The Funkhaus broadcasting centre itself was damaged by Allied bombs in January and February 1945, followed by the Red Army Vienna Offensive. Reichssender Wien last aired 6 April, before retiring Schutzstaffel troops blew up the Bisamberg transmitter.
Following the Wehrmacht defeat, independent Austrian RAVAG radio broadcasting resumed in Allied-occupied Austria 24 April 1945, when it announced the formation of a provisional Austrian state government led by Karl Renner (1870–1950). A new Radio Wien station was founded, broadcasting from Funkhaus Wien by a provisional transmitter on the rooftop, once again under Oskar Czeija, who nevertheless was ousted shortly afterwards on pressure by the Soviet military administration. As the Funkhaus was located in the Soviet occupation sector of Vienna, the Western Allies established their own radio stations like the Alpenland network on British-occupied territory, Radio Rot-Weiß-Rot on US-occupied territory, Sendegruppe West on French-occupied territory, as well as the American English-speaking 'Blue Danube' armed forces network (BDN; not to be confused with the later Blue Danube Radio) and the British Forces Network (BND), which became quite popular with younger Austrian listeners. The RAVAG/Radio Wien transmissions were limited to the Eastern Austrian Soviet occupation zone, and as the Cold War progressed was increasingly considered Communist propaganda broadcasting.
A number of other radio stations began broadcasting in the different occupation zones and radio become a popular medium among Austrians: in 1952 there were 1.5 million radio sets in Austrian homes. The Western Allies could operate their programmes nationwide from Vienna, with a significantly higher popularity rating than the outdated RAVAG transmissions. In 1955, the various regional stations were brought together as the Österreichisches Rundspruchwesen ('Austrian Broadcasting Entity') which later, in 1958, became the Österreichischer Rundfunk GmbH , forerunner of today's ORF.
The former Ö2 has been replaced by nine regional channels (one for each Bundesland, or federal state):
All of these radio channels are broadcast terrestrially on FM and via the digital service of the SES Astra satellites at 19.2° east.
All of ORF's domestic radio channels are also streamed over the internet. An extra 24-hour all-news channel is available exclusively via internet: this is Ö1 Inforadio which relays all of Ö1's news content and fills the 'gaps', during which Ö1 is transmitting music and cultural programmes, with additional news broadcasts.
A version of Ö1 is broadcast internationally via short wave (and satellite in Europe) as Ö1 International. Its schedule includes a small number of programmes in English and Spanish.
An additional service, Radio 1476, formerly broadcast on medium wave each evening from 18.00 until just after midnight. Its schedule was a mixture of items from Ö1, programmes for linguistic and cultural minorities, folk music, and special productions.
The ORF television channels are broadcast terrestrially and via the SES Astra 1H satellite at 19.2° east. Via satellite ORF 1 and ORF2 are encrypted, allowing only Austrian residents who pay the Austrian television licence (Gebühren Info Service (GIS)) to watch them. ORF2 Europe is unencrypted and receivable via satellite in Europe.
ORF is a supporter of the Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV (HbbTV) initiative that is promoting and establishing an open European standard for hybrid set-top boxes for the reception of broadcast TV and broadband multimedia applications with a single user interface. From 6 March 1995 ORF broadcasts 24 hours a day.
The ORF has one regional studio in each state, where each state produces its own radio and state television, which is broadcast over ORF2. The regional studio in Tyrol, also produces regional television and radio for the German-speaking population of South Tyrol, Italy. Even though each state has its own studio, most ORF productions are heavily focused on Vienna, since most shows are made there.
Many of Austria's best known TV stars work for ORF. According to surveys the most prominent television presenter in the country is former alpine skier Armin Assinger who is the host of the Millionen-Show, Austria's version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? . Mirjam Weichselbraun, a former MTV presenter is co-host of Dancing Stars , Austria's edition of Dancing With the Stars . The most popular comedy show on ORF is Wir sind Kaiser ('We Are Emperor') with comedian Robert Palfrader playing Emperor Robert Heinrich I, inviting celebrity guests to make fun of them. The best known news anchors are talk show host Ingrid Thurnher who was given seven Romy awards as most popular presenter; Armin Wolf who is best known for his hard-hitting interviews on the late evening news show ZiB 2 ; and Gabi Waldner , moderator of the weekly political magazine Report.
The ORF's first corporate logo, called the 'ORF eye', was designed by the Austrian illustrator and cartoonist Erich Sokol in 1968, who also served as ORF's chief graphics artist and later as art director from 1967 until 1992. The 'ORF eye' logo is often compared to the 'CBS Eye' logo used by the American commercial broadcaster CBS. In 1992, ORF commissioned the British graphic designer Neville Brody to design its current corporate logo, which was soon nicknamed the 'ORF bricks'. The 1968 'ORF eye' logo however continued to be used sporadically (for example on the title cards of Zeit im Bild) until it was completely phased out in 2011.
ARD is a joint organisation of Germany's regional public-service broadcasters. It was founded in 1950 in West Germany to represent the common interests of the new, decentralised, post-war broadcasting services – in particular the introduction of a joint television network.
Westdeutscher Rundfunk Köln is a German public-broadcasting institution based in the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia with its main office in Cologne. WDR is a constituent member of the consortium of German public-broadcasting institutions, ARD. As well as contributing to the output of the national television channel Das Erste, WDR produces the regional television service WDR Fernsehen and six regional radio networks.
Österreich 1 (Ö1) is an Austrian radio station: one of the four national channels operated by Austria's public broadcaster ORF. It focuses on classical music and opera, jazz, documentaries and features, news, radio plays and dramas, Kabarett, quiz shows, and discussions.
Südwestrundfunk (SWR;) Southwest Broadcasting) is a regional public broadcasting corporation serving the southwest of Germany, specifically the federal states of Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate. The corporation has main offices in three cities: Stuttgart, Baden-Baden and Mainz, with the director's office being in Stuttgart. It is a part of the ARD consortium. It broadcasts on two television channels and six radio channels, with its main television and radio office in Baden-Baden and regional offices in Stuttgart and Mainz. It is the second largest broadcasting organization in Germany. SWR, with a coverage of 55,600 km2, and an audience reach estimated to be 14.7 million. SWR employs 3,700 people in its various offices and facilities.
Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk is the public broadcaster for the federal states of Thuringia, Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt in Germany. Established in January 1991, its headquarters are in Leipzig, with regional studios in Dresden, Erfurt and Magdeburg. MDR is a member of the ARD consortium of public broadcasters in Germany.
Hitradio Ö3 is one of the nationwide radio stations of Austria's public broadcaster ORF. The format focuses on contemporary hit radio, specialising pop music and chart hits from the 1980s to the present. Ö3 has the biggest audience share by far of all Austrian radio stations.
Bayerischer Rundfunk is a public-service radio and television broadcaster, based in Munich, capital city of the Free State of Bavaria in Germany. BR is a member organization of the ARD consortium of public broadcasters in Germany.
Norddeutscher Rundfunk is a public radio and television broadcaster, based in Hamburg. In addition to the city-state of Hamburg, NDR broadcasts for the German states of Lower Saxony, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Schleswig-Holstein. NDR is a member of the ARD organisation.
Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg is an institution under public law for the German states of Berlin and Brandenburg, based in Berlin and Potsdam. RBB was established on 1 May 2003 through the merger of Sender Freies Berlin (SFB) and Ostdeutscher Rundfunk Brandenburg (ORB), based in Potsdam, and is a member of the Association of PSBs in the Federal Republic of Germany (ARD).
Saarländischer Rundfunk is a public radio and television broadcaster serving the German state of Saarland. With headquarters in the Halberg Broadcasting House in Saarbrücken, SR is a member of the ARD consortium of German public-broadcasting organizations.
Deutschlandsender, abbreviated DLS or DS, was one of the longest-established radio broadcasting stations in Germany. The name was used between 1926 and 1993 to denote a number of powerful stations designed to achieve all-Germany coverage.
Rundfunk der DDR was the collective designation for radio broadcasting organized by the State Broadcasting Committee in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) until German reunification in 1990.
ATV is the largest commercial television station in Austria, and was the first commercial station to be aired via transmitters after a long time when commercial broadcasts in Austria were only possible via satellite or cable and the national public broadcaster ORF held a monopoly of using the airwaves.
ORF 2 is an Austrian public television channel owned by ORF. It was launched on 11 September 1961 as a technical test programme. Today it is one of the four public TV channels in Austria.
ARD alpha is a German free-to-air television channel run by regional public-service broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk. Its programming consists of shows made by Bayerischer Rundfunk, as well as from ARD and Austrian broadcaster ORF. The channel was originally called BR-alpha, but was rebranded as ARD-alpha on 29 June 2014.
TW1 was an Austrian digital television channel, broadcasting programmes about news, culture, leisure, travel and weather. It was owned by the Austrian national broadcaster, Österreichischer Rundfunk (ORF). TW1 was replaced by the ORF III on 26 October 2011.
The Reichs-Rundfunk-Gesellschaft was a national network of German regional public radio and television broadcasting companies active from 1925 until 1945. RRG's broadcasts were receivable in all parts of Germany and were used extensively for Nazi propaganda after 1933.
Österreich 2 is the overall term used to refer the network of nine regional radio services provided by Austria's national public service broadcasting organization ORF.
The ORF regional studios are branch offices from ORF in each state of Austria. Since 1975 there is also a regional office in and since 2021 a broadcasting TV studio in Bolzano for the German-speaking population of South Tyrol, Italy.
The Eurovision Young Musicians 2010 was the fifteenth edition of the Eurovision Young Musicians, held at the Rathausplatz in Vienna, Austria on 14 May 2010. Organised by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and host broadcaster Österreichischer Rundfunk (ORF), musicians from seven countries participated in the televised final. This was the third time that the competition was held on an open-air stage and was the beginning of the annual Vienna Festival. Austria and broadcaster ORF previously hosted the contest in 1990, 1998, 2006 and 2008.