Reichs-Rundfunk-Gesellschaft

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Reichs-Rundfunk-Gesellschaft mbh (RRG)
Type Radio network;
Television station
Country Weimar Republic;
Nazi Germany
Availability National and international
Owner Deutsche Reichspost;
Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda (from 1933)
Key people
Hans Bredow,
Eugen Hadamovsky
Launch date
15 May 1925
Dissolved 1951-1961 (liquidation)
Replaced by ARD (1950 to now);
Rundfunk der DDR (1952-91)

The Reichs-Rundfunk-Gesellschaft (RRG), translated as the Reich Broadcasting Corporation, was a national network of German regional public broadcasting companies active from 1925 until 1945. RRG's broadcasts were receivable in all parts of the country and were used extensively for Nazi propaganda after 1933.

Historical recordings of RRG broadcasts are today held by the German Broadcasting Archive.

Foundation[edit]

The company was established in Berlin on 1 May 1925 as an umbrella organisation by nine regional broadcasters covering various states of the Weimar Republic. From 1926, a majority share was held by the state-owned Deutsche Reichspost authority, represented by RF engineer and Reichspostministerium official Hans Bredow as chairman in the rank of a Reichs-Rundfunk-Kommissar.

An official broadcast receiving licence was required for the reception of radio broadcasts at a monthly fee of 2 Reichsmark.

Original structure[edit]

Programming was originally provided by the following regional broadcasting companies:

An additional nationwide programme known as the Deutschlandsender was broadcast on longwave from the Königs Wusterhausen radio transmitter of Deutsche Welle GmbH (a separate company which was, however, 70% owned by the Reichs-Rundfunk-Gesellschaft).

Regular television programmes were transmitted from Berlin by the Fernsehsender Paul Nipkow.

Headquarters[edit]

The Haus des Rundfunks in Berlin
Main article: Haus des Rundfunks

On 22 January 1931 the Haus des Rundfunks ("House of Broadcasting"), on Masurenallee in Berlin-Westend, was inaugurated as the official seat of the Reichs-Rundfunk-Gesellschaft. Designed in 1929 by the architect Hans Poelzig (1869-1936), it was the world's first self-contained broadcasting centre and included a large concert hall.

The triangular-shaped building also housed the broadcaster Deutsche Welle GmbH and, from 1935 until its relocation in 1937, the Fernsehsender Paul Nipkow television station.

Nationalization[edit]

Adolf Hitler making his address to the nation at a Funk-Stunde microphone, following his appointment as Reich Chancellor in 1933

In 1932 the German government under Chancellor Franz von Papen made several attempts to gain control over the broadcasting companies and enforced the regular reading of official statements. The management board had to admit a representative delegated by the Minister of the Interior, Wilhelm von Gayl.

In the course of the Gleichschaltung process after the Machtergreifung in 1933 the RRG was nationalized by the Nazi government and was used extensively by the Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda under Joseph Goebbels. On 30 January 1933, while the new Minister of the Interior Wilhelm Frick enforced the live broadcast of the torchlight parades, the RRG chairman Hans Bredow resigned and was replaced by Eugen Hadamovsky. Several former managers were arrested and imprisoned. With effect from 1 April 1934 the regional broadcasting companies were incorporated as Reichssender.

Upon the affiliation of the Saar territory in 1935, the regional broadcaster was incorporated as Reichssender Saarbrücken (see Saarländischer Rundfunk). Likewise, after the Austrian Anschluss in 1938, the former Radio Verkehrs AG at Vienna became the Reichssender Wien. On 1 January 1939 the RRG was renamed Großdeutscher Rundfunk.

After the Invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939 upon the staged Gleiwitz incident, the former RRG became a vital instrument of wartime propaganda, especially by the daily Wehrmachtsbericht and the popular request show Wunschkonzert für die Wehrmacht (see Wunschkonzert). From 9 July 1940 onwards all Reichssender aired the same uniform nationwide program, which ended with the occupation of the Haus des Rundfunks by the Red Army during the Battle of Berlin on 2 May 1945.

Technical achievements[edit]

RRG engineers were responsible for important advances in sound-recording technology.

Walter Weber, while working for Hans Joachim von Braunmühl at the RRG, made many improvements in the field of magnetic tape sound recording. The most widely significant was the discovery of high frequency bias. This provided a major improvement in the fidelity of recordings.[1] Ironically, others made the same discovery of HF bias before and after, but it was Weber's work that became widely used.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Walter Weber's Technical Innovation at the Reichs-Rundfunk-Gesellschaft