Österreich 2 (abbreviated to Ö2; previously known as Österreich-Regional, ÖR) is the name given to the regional radio service for Austria and South Tyrol, Italy, aired by the ORF public broadcasting corporation. It consists of nine stations serving the nine federal states respectively. All regional radio stations are also broadcast via satellite at 19.2° east.
The Ö2 radio stations are:
- Radio Wien, Vienna
- Radio Niederösterreich, Lower Austria
- Radio Oberösterreich, Upper Austria
- Radio Burgenland, Burgenland
- Radio Salzburg, Salzburg
- Radio Steiermark, Styria
- Radio Tirol, Tyrol, also available in the Italian province of South Tyrol
- Radio Vorarlberg, Vorarlberg
- Radio Kärnten, Carinthia
The nine regional stations broadcast a large amount of regional content and offer news, weather, traffic, regional reports and music, all produced in their own radion studio (one in each state).
In the last few years, the regional stations were transformed to format (Oldies) radio stations – their target audience being the group 35+, which makes them clear market leaders in reference to market share and coverage. The music played by these radio stations is mostly oldies, schlager and classic hits, although some regional radio stations, such as Radio Oberösterreich, also broadcast classical music, literature articles and free radio productions, similar to the nationwide Ö1 programme. One of the longest produced regional programmes was daily Autofahrer unterwegs, ("drivers en route") with 15,153 episodes produced between 1957 and 1999. Due to its popularity, this program was broadcast by all stations throughout Austria.
Up until the 1990s, many Ö2 programmes were dominated by folksy pop music (Volkstümliche Musik), often derogatory called "housewives' radio". Just before private radio stations were allowed to broadcast in Austria, initially confined to one particular state, the music choices in some Ö2 radio stations became more internationalized. In turn, the new regional private radio stations tried to gain marketshare by focusing on a contemporary hit radio format, rather competing with nationwide ORF Hitradio Ö3 than with the Ö2 stations. Since the publicly funded Ö2 radio stations have considerable financial resources and more staff, it is easy for them to hold their market share, not only in radio, but also in the journalistic sector.
With the exception of world news coverage, all regional radio stations produce their own content 24 hours a day, with a lot of regional content. Regional news (generally broadcast every half hour), detailed journals (Landesrundschau etc.), reports and service elements ensure high listener loyalty. Music programming is chosen through based on many criteria and is mostly made up of oldies, classic hits and even traditional Volksmusik. The balance between different genres varies between the stations; some concentrate on oldies, while others mainly play German schlager and folksy music. During the night, each radio station broadcasts its own non-stop music program, which is only interrupted for the news.
Up until the mid-1990s, all Ö2 radio stations had the same framing programme, which only got interrupted for a few hours for regional content. This collective radio was first called Österreich Regional but was changed during its later years to Österreich 2. To expand its programme, the regional studios contributed their own programs, such as Autofahrer unterwegs, Turnier auf der Schallaburg ("Tournament at the Schallaburg") and other formats. After the introduction of computers to radio broadcasting in the late 1990s, production costs were significantly reduced, which allowed the ORF to fully regionalize its radio. The name Österreich 2 was eliminated completely, as all regional radio stations now carry the name of their state.