Legal foundation 
BR is a broadcaster for the general public. Its functions are determined by a legal foundation, which creates the broadcaster's principles and its internal organization. These regulations are contained in the Bavarian Broadcasting Law (Bayerisches Rundfunkgesetz), originally passed in 1948, and updated in 1993. At that time, it was comprehensively amended to make it relevant current media and political needs. This broadcast law is supplemented by the so-called Broadcast State Contract (Rundfunkstaatsvertrag), a multilateral agreement between all 16 German Länder which regulates the relationship of public and private broadcast in the dual broadcast system and which contains fundamental regulations particularly for financing. Just as important for the work of Bavarian Broadcasting is the cooperation of the ARD consortium, consisting of nine other regional broadcasting corporates as well as Deutsche Welle. The broadcasting service is further backed by the relevant European legal bases as well as the media service convention, which contain regulations for the on-line offerings of Bavarian Broadcasting.
Licensing fees required for radio and TV sets are €17.03 per month, as of 1 April 2005. For radio reception alone, the monthly fee is €5.52. These fees are not collected directly by the BR but by the GEZ that is a common organisation of ARD, its members, ZDF and Deutschlandfunk.
BR derives 84% of its income from licensing fees, up to 13% from other sources of income (e.g. product licensing and investments) and up to 3% from advertising. For expenditures, 60% are spent on TV programs, 28% for radio programs, 8% for engineering and technical maintenance, and 4% for management expenses.
Television series produced by BR 
BR produces several series that are well known throughout Bavaria, and some of these are re-broadcast throughout other parts of Germany. These include:
- Münchner Runde (political talkshow)
- Space Night
- Kunst und Krempel
- Unter unserem Himmel ("Under our Skies")
- Café Meineid
- Zur Freiheit ("To Freedom")
BR's TV channel, Bayerisches Fernsehen (Bavarian Television), as with all regional "Third Channel" broadcasters (along with public specialty channels such as arte, 3Sat, KI.KA, Phoenix and BR-alpha) carry no commercials. Advertising is also not permitted on ARD's "Das Erste" or on ZDF on Sundays, national holidays, or on any day after 8:00pm. On weekdays, only 20 minutes of advertising is permitted, split between breaks between programs. Program sponsoring is not considered to be advertising, and is not subject to these restrictions.
BR operates a main broadcasting facility in Munich as well as studios in Freimann and Unterföhring. There are also regional TV and radio studios in Nuremberg ("Studio Franconia"), Würzburg ("Regional Studio Franconia/River Main") and Regensburg ("Regional Studio East Bavaria").
BR provides programs to various TV and radio networks, some done in collaboration with other broadcasters, and others completely independently.
Television channels 
- Bayerisches Fernsehen — Regional TV channel for Bavaria.
- Das Erste - BR contributes programming to Germany's main network's (ARD) national channel.
- BR-alpha — educational programming
- Phoenix — collaborative network programming between the ARD and ZDF.
- KI.KA — Children's network from the ARD and ZDF.
- arte — Franco-German cultural network
- 3sat — Cultural network from the ARD, ZDF, ORF (Austrian Broadcasting), and SRG (Swiss Broadcasting).
Radio channels 
- Bayern 1 (Bavaria 1) — "light" music and information, with a target audience of adults over 35
- Bayern 2 (Bavaria 2) — spoken word, some music output (alternative music, jazz, folk)
- Bayern 3 (Bavaria 3) — Pop music, targeting a younger audience, traffic information
- BR-Klassik (Bavaria Classical) — Classical music
- B5 aktuell (B5 up-to-date) — News non-stop (news update every 15 minutes)
Three further channels are available only via digital satellite, digital radio or Internet streaming:
- Bayern plus —'Light' music and information for elderly people
- BR Verkehr (BR Traffic) — Latest traffic news read by a computer voice
- Puls — youth programming, focus on alternative music (also on AM transmtters)
Musical organizations 
BR administers three musical organizations:
- Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks (Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra), founded in 1949. Music directors have included Eugen Jochum, Rafael Kubelík, Sir Colin Davis and Lorin Maazel. Mariss Jansons has been serving in this post since 2003.
- Münchner Rundfunkorchester (Munich Radio Orchestra), founded in the 1920s, reorganized in 1952. The orchestra is known for its Sunday concerts, and youth/children's concerts. As of August 2005, the orchestra is threatened with dissolution in 2006. Marcello Viotti gave up his post as music director, but continued to conduct the orchestra. He died on 16 February 2005 as a result of a stroke suffered during a performance of "Manon."
- Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks (Bavarian Radio Choir), founded in 1946 as "Rundfunkchor München" (Munich Radio Choir). The choir has premiered works by Rafael Kubelík and Hans Pfitzner.
An ever increasing number of podcasts produced by BR are available. This includes podcasts by either Bayerisches Fernsehen and the radio stations.
Managing Directors of BR since 1945:
- Field Horine (Chief of Section, Radio Munich) — 1945–1947
- Edmund Schechter — 1947
- Rudolf von Scholtz — 1947–1956
- Franz Stadelmayer — 1956–1960
- Christian Wallenreiter — 1960–1972
- Reinhold Vöth — 1972–1990
- Prof. Dr. h.c. Albert Scharf — 1990–2002
- Dr. Thomas Gruber — 2002–2011
- Ulrich Wilhelm; since 2011
In the 1970s, Bayerischer Rundfunk was notorious for opting out of national ARD television broadcasts when certain broadcast programmes were deemed too controversial.
The best-known opt outs include:
- Sesamstraße (the German version of Sesame Street) was deemed "too fast and too American" by Bavarian broadcasting authorities when it started on German TV in 1973. However, the exclusion did not last long.
- Rosa von Praunheim's 1970 movie Nicht der Homosexuelle ist pervers, sondern die Situation in der er lebt (The homosexual is not perverted, but rather the world he lives in) was not broadcast through BR's transmitters, as the subject matter was deemed inapproriate for a Bavarian audience.
- Die Konsequenz - a Wolfgang Petersen made-for-TV movie about a homosexual love affair. Bayerischer Rundfunk boycotted the network premiere on ARD on November 8, 1977.
- The last opt-out took place in 1982 when the political cabaret (satire) programm Scheibenwischer criticized the construction of the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal. The program was performed on a Munich theatre stage (Kammerspiele) a few days after the broadcast.
Except for "Scheibenwischer" (these programs have never been re-broadcast in full), all opt-outs have since been shown on Bavaria's third channel, Bayrisches Fernsehen and today, Bayrischer Rundfunk no longer opts out of national broadcasts.
See also 
- Thurnes, Mario (14.02.2008). "35 Jahre deutsche Sesamstraße" (in German). suite101.de. Retrieved 2009-08-17.
- Eichler, Antje (2005). Protest im Radio: die Berichterstattung des Bayerischen Rundfunks über die Studentenbewegung 1967/1968. Frankfurt am Main; New York: Peter Lang. ISBN 3-631-52126-X.
- Bayerischer Rundfunk Homepage (German)