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Südwestrundfunk (SWR)
TypeBroadcast radio, television and online
Headquarters Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Launch date
1 October 1998(20 years ago) (1998-10-01)
Official website
Replaced SDR and SWF

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 (after WDR) 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.

Public broadcasting includes radio, television and other electronic media outlets whose primary mission is public service. In much of the world, funding comes from the government, especially via annual fees charged on receivers. In the United States, public broadcasters may receive some funding from both federal and state sources, but generally most financial support comes from underwriting by foundations and businesses ranging from small shops to corporations, along with audience contributions via pledge drives. The great majority are operated as private not-for-profit corporations.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, and the Alps to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

Baden-Württemberg State in Germany

Baden-Württemberg is a state in southwest Germany, east of the Rhine, which forms the border with France. It is Germany’s third-largest state, with an area of 35,751 km2 (13,804 sq mi) and 11 million inhabitants. Baden-Württemberg is a parliamentary republic and partly sovereign, federated state which was formed in 1952 by a merger of the states of Württemberg-Baden, Baden and Württemberg-Hohenzollern. The largest city in Baden-Württemberg is the state capital of Stuttgart, followed by Karlsruhe and Mannheim. Other cities are Freiburg im Breisgau, Heidelberg, Heilbronn, Pforzheim, Reutlingen and Ulm.



Program guide of Suddeutsche Rundfunk AG (SURAG) Stuttgart (18 September 1924) Suddeutscher Rundfunk 1924.jpg
Program guide of Süddeutsche Rundfunk AG (SÜRAG) Stuttgart (18 September 1924)

SWR was established in 1998 through the merger of Süddeutscher Rundfunk (SDR, Southern German Broadcasting), formerly headquartered in Stuttgart, and Südwestfunk (SWF, South West Radio), formerly headquartered in Baden-Baden. The existence of two public broadcasting corporations in southwest Germany was a legacy of the Allied occupation of Germany after the Second World War. The French Military Government established SWF as the sole public broadcaster in their occupation zone. This area was later divided into the states of South Baden, Württemberg-Hohenzollern and Rhineland-Palatinate. The American Military Government established SDR in Württemberg-Baden. When Baden, Württemberg-Hohenzollern and Württemberg-Baden merged to form Baden-Württemberg in 1952, the corporations were not merged, although SDR and SWF operated several joint services.

States of Germany First-level administrative subdivisions of the Federal Republic of Germany

Germany is a federal republic consisting of sixteen states. Since today's Germany was formed from an earlier collection of several states, it has a federal constitution, and the constituent states retain a measure of sovereignty. With an emphasis on geographical conditions, Berlin and Hamburg are frequently called Stadtstaaten (city-states), as is the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, which in fact includes the cities of Bremen and Bremerhaven. The remaining 13 states are called Flächenländer.

South Baden Part of Baden-Württemberg

South Baden, formed in December 1945 from the southern half of the former Republic of Baden, was a subdivision of the French occupation zone of post-World War II Germany. The state was later renamed to Baden and became a founding state of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1949. In 1952, Baden became part of the modern German state of Baden-Württemberg.

Rhineland-Palatinate State in Germany

Rhineland-Palatinate is a state of Germany.

The two corporations had intended to merge in 1990, but the merger was pushed back by the reunification process.

German reunification process in 1990 in which East and West Germany once again became one country

The German reunification was the process in 1990 in which the German Democratic Republic became part of the Federal Republic of Germany to form the reunited nation of Germany, and when Berlin reunited into a single city, as provided by its then Grundgesetz (constitution) Article 23. The end of the unification process is officially referred to as German unity, celebrated on 3 October. Following German reunification, Berlin was once again designated as the capital of united Germany.


Licensing fees required for radio and TV sets are €17.50 per month, as of 1 April 2015. These fees are not collected directly by the SWR but by the Beitragsservice von ARD, ZDF und Deutschlandradio that is a common organisation of ARD, its members, ZDF and Deutschlandradio.

Television licence official permission required in many countries for the reception of television broadcasts

A television licence or broadcast receiving licence is a payment required in many countries for the reception of television broadcasts, or the possession of a television set where some broadcasts are funded in full or in part by the licence fee paid. The fee is sometimes also required to own a radio or receive radio broadcasts. A TV licence is therefore effectively a hypothecated tax for the purpose of funding public broadcasting, thus allowing public broadcasters to transmit television programmes without, or with only supplemental, funding from radio and television advertisements. However, in some cases the balance between public funding and advertisements is the opposite – the Polish TVP broadcaster receives more funds from advertisements than from its TV tax.

The Beitragsservice von ARD, ZDF und Deutschlandradio, commonly referred to simply as Beitragsservice, with headquarters in Cologne is a non-incorporated joint organization of Germany's public broadcasting institutions ARD, ZDF and Deutschlandradio as well as their public-law affiliates. The Beitragsservice center is responsible for collecting television and radio license fees from private individuals, companies and institutions in Germany. Mandatory license fees are set in the Rundfunkfinanzierungsstaatsvertrag. Since 2013, every private household in Germany has been required to pay these fees, regardless of whether the household actually has the capability to receive the broadcasts themselves. Exceptions can be made for individuals with low income or health issues. Until 2013, the organization was known as GEZ, short for Gebühreneinzugszentrale der öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunkanstalten in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. The organization collaborates with German registration offices to enforce the collection of the fees.

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.

In 2016, the SWR received over 1,000,000,000 from these fees, out of nearly 8,000,000,000 collected in total that year. [1]

Euro European currency

The euro is the official currency of 19 of the 28 member states of the European Union. This group of states is known as the eurozone or euro area, and counts about 343 million citizens as of 2019. The euro is the second largest and second most traded currency in the foreign exchange market after the United States dollar. The euro is subdivided into 100 cents.

Studios and offices

Headquarters in Stuttgart Stuttgart SWR-Gebaude.JPG
Headquarters in Stuttgart
SWR buildings in Baden-Baden SWR Baden-Baden IMGP5286.JPG
SWR buildings in Baden-Baden

SWR operates studios in the following cities:

Baden-Baden Place in Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Baden-Baden is a spa town in the state of Baden-Württemberg, south-western Germany, at the north-western border of the Black Forest mountain range on the small river Oos, ten kilometres east of the Rhine, the border with France, and forty kilometres north-east of Strasbourg, France.

Stuttgart Place in Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Stuttgart is the capital and largest city of the German state of Baden-Württemberg. Stuttgart is located on the Neckar river in a fertile valley known locally as the "Stuttgart Cauldron." It lies an hour from the Swabian Jura and the Black Forest. Its urban area has a population of 609,219, making it the sixth largest city in Germany. 2.7 million people live in the city's administrative region and another 5.3 million people in its metropolitan area, making it the fourth largest metropolitan area in Germany. The city and metropolitan area are consistently ranked among the top 20 European metropolitan areas by GDP; Mercer listed Stuttgart as 21st on its 2015 list of cities by quality of living, innovation agency 2thinknow ranked the city 24th globally out of 442 cities and the Globalization and World Cities Research Network ranked the city as a Beta-status world city in their 2014 survey.

Freiburg im Breisgau Place in Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Freiburg im Breisgau is a city in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, with a population of about 220,000. In the south-west of the country, it straddles the Dreisam river, at the foot of the Schlossberg. Historically, the city has acted as the hub of the Breisgau region on the western edge of the Black Forest in the Upper Rhine Plain. A famous old German university town, and archiepiscopal seat, Freiburg was incorporated in the early twelfth century and developed into a major commercial, intellectual, and ecclesiastical center of the upper Rhine region. The city is known for its medieval minster and Renaissance university, as well as for its high standard of living and advanced environmental practices. The city is situated in the heart of the major Baden wine-growing region and serves as the primary tourist entry point to the scenic beauty of the Black Forest. According to meteorological statistics, the city is the sunniest and warmest in Germany, and held the all-time German temperature record of 40.2 °C (104.4 °F) from 2003 to 2015.

SWR regional offices are in:

In Baden-Württemberg there are also "Korrespondentenbüros" (roughly: "correspondence offices") for the SWR in Aalen, Albstadt-Ebingen, Biberach, Buchen, Konstanz, Mosbach, Pforzheim, Ravensburg, Schwäbisch Hall, Tauberbischofsheim and Waldshut-Tiengen.


SWR provides programs to various TV and radio networks, some done in collaboration with other broadcasters, and others completely independently.

Television channels

Radio channels

SWR operates six radio channels on FM and DAB, all of which are also streamed on the internet.


SWR was established on 1 January 1998 and the new corporation began broadcasting on 1 September 1998. Its predecessor organizations, SDR and SWF, were formally dissolved at 24.00 on 30 September 1998, SWR legally succeeding them with effect from 0.00 on 1 October 1998.

Channel mergers and changes with effect from 1 September 1998:

A radio news channel, SWR cont.ra, was added in July 2002. This was relaunched with a new programme format on 9 January 2012 as SWRinfo. It was relaunched again as SWR Aktuell on 6 February 2017


Since 1998, the managing director of SWR has been Prof. Peter Voss, who was previously the managing director of SWF. The managing director's office is located in Stuttgart. Seven other directors serve under him (locations of their offices in parentheses):

Transmitter locations

At present, there is a new TV tower at Waldenburg under construction, which should replacer in 2008 old TV tower Waldenburg.

Orchestras and Choruses

SWR operates the following musical organizations:

Responsibilities within the ARD

Within the ARD, SWR is responsible for the coordination of the joint network programming on the networks 3sat and arte as well as the main Internet site for the ARD, ARD.de. The offices for ARTE Deutschland TV GmbH are in Baden-Baden, and the offices for ARD.de are in Mainz.
SWR is also responsible for some of the foreign studios operated on behalf of the ARD:

Subsidiaries of SWR

The following companies are subsidiaries of SWR-Holding GmbH:

See also

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The Fernsehturm Heidelberg is a transmission tower for FM and DVB-T on the Königstuhl hill of Heidelberg at 49°24′16″N8°43′46″E. It was the property of the City of Heidelberg and sold to the SWR. Because of its exposed location on the crest of the hill the tower itself is only 82 meters high.

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History of Südwestrundfunk

The Southern part of Germany was split at the end of World War II into two occupation zones, an American and a French one. In Bavaria and in Württemberg-Baden, Radio München (Munich) and Radio Stuttgart went on air in 1945. In the next years, Radio München was transformed to a Bavarian broadcaster, and in Germany's South West, two public broadcasting corporations started and produced radio and (subsequent) television programs up to their merger in 1998:

Kettrichhof transmitter

Kettrichhof transmitter is a facility for FM- and TV-broadcasting at Kettrichhof, a village which is part of Lemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It is located at an elevation of 436 m (1,430 ft) a.s.l. The antenna support is a guyed mast of latticed steel with a square cross section which was built in 1985 and was originally 210 m (690 ft) tall. When new antennas were added in 2007, the height of the mast was increased to 236 m (774 ft). Reception of its signals is possible in an area spanning from the Eifel to Karlsruhe and Pforzheim and even in elevated locations on the Swabian Alb. On 4 December 2007, the TV transmitter was switched over to DVB-T, and DAB+ transmissions from Kettrichhof started on 9 September 2015.

SWR Fernsehen television station

SWR Fernsehen is a German regional television channel targeting the states of Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate. It is produced by Südwestrundfunk (SWR) and is one of eight regional "third channels" broadcast by the ARD members.

Benzweiler Place in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Benzweiler is an Ortsgemeinde – a municipality belonging to a Verbandsgemeinde, a kind of collective municipality – in the Rhein-Hunsrück-Kreis (district) in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It belongs to the Verbandsgemeinde of Rheinböllen, whose seat is in the like-named town. Benzweiler is a tourism municipality (Fremdenverkehrsgemeinde).

Oppertshausen Place in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

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Scharteberg mountain

The Scharteberg is a mountain, 691.4 metres (2,268 ft) high, near Kirchweiler in the district of Vulkaneifel and is one of the highest peaks in the Eifel region of Germany. On the summit is the Eifel Transmitter which belongs to SWR and is used for FM radio and television.

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Malu Dreyer German politician

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Hohe Derst mountain in Germany

The Hohe Derst is a hill, 561 metres above sea level, in the Palatine Forest of southwest Germany. It lies within the Wasgau region and is the highest point of the Mundat Forest.

2016 Rhineland-Palatinate state election

The 2016 Rhineland-Palatinate state election was held on 13 March 2016 to elect all 101 members to the Landtag of Rhineland-Palatinate. Seats are allotted by proportional representation with a 5% threshold. State elections were held on the same day in Baden-Württemberg and Saxony-Anhalt.


  1. "Jahresbericht 2016" (PDF) (in German). ARD ZDF Deutschlandradio Beitragsservice. June 2017. p. 33. Retrieved 3 May 2018.