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.
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.
The two corporations had intended to merge in 1990, but the merger was pushed back by the reunification process.
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 SWR but by the GEZ that is a common organisation of ARD, its members, ZDF and Deutschlandfunk.
Studios and offices
SWR operates studios in the following cities:
- in Baden-Württemberg: Baden-Baden, Stuttgart, Freiburg im Breisgau, Heilbronn, Karlsruhe, Mannheim, Tübingen and Ulm
- in Rhineland-Palatinate: Kaiserslautern, Koblenz, Mainz and Trier
Regional offices of the SWR are located in:
- in Baden-Württemberg: Friedrichshafen, Lörrach, Offenburg and Villingen-Schwenningen
- in Rhineland-Palatinate: Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, Betzdorf, Idar-Oberstein and Landau, as well as a recently opened office in Worms. Plans exist for new offices in Traben-Trabach and Gerolstein.
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.
- Das Erste "Erstes Deutsches Fernsehen" (German Television One) – Collaborative program for the ARD. SWR's portion is 16.95 percent. SWR also contributes to ARD digital, delivered over cable and satellite networks.
- SWR Fernsehen ("Unser Drittes") – ["SWR television – Our Third"] – The channel three network for Baden-Württemberg and the Rhineland-Palatinate. The programming is transmitted in two different versions, one for Baden-Württemberg and one for the Rhineland-Palatinate. The Saarländischer Rundfunk (SR, Saarland Broadcasting) retransmits over 70 percent of these programs under the banner "SR Fernsehen" ("SR Television).
- 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).
- SWR1 (Eins gehört gehört – SWR1): plays international pop and rock music from 1960–1990, European pop music, German pop and a limited number of contemporary hits to a target audience of adults aged 30–55, in two regional versions:
- SWR1 Baden-Württemberg
- SWR1 Rheinland-Pfalz
- SWR2 (Lust auf Kultur): speech-based radio, including features, radio plays, and readings, plus classical music and jazz.
- SWR3 (Mehr Hits – mehr Kicks – einfach SWR3): plays pop and contemporary music to a target audience of 14- to 39-year-olds.
- SWR4 (Da sind wir daheim): plays German hits and "oldies" in two regional versions, each with local and sub-local opt-outs at specified times daily:
- SWR4 Baden-Württemberg
- Baden Radio (Karlsruhe)
- Bodensee Radio (Friedrichshafen)
- Franken Radio (Heilbronn)
- Kurpfalz Radio (Mannheim)
- Radio Stuttgart (Stuttgart)
- Radio Südbaden (Freiburg)
- Radio Tübingen (Tübingen)
- Schwaben Radio (Ulm)
- SWR4 Rheinland-Pfalz
- SWR4 Baden-Württemberg
- DASDING (Live – laut – lässig): youth-oriented programming.
- SWRinfo (Wir haben die News – jetzt!): news, topical talk, and coverage of current affairs.
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:
- SWF 1 and SDR 1 became SWR1 Baden-Württemberg and SWR1 Rheinland-Pfalz: regional programmes for their respective states (Länder)
- S 2 Kultur became SWR2
- SWF3 and SDR 3 became the pop station SWR3
- S 4 Baden-Württemberg became SWR4 Baden-Württemberg
- SWF 4 Rheinland-Pfalz became SWR4 Rheinland-Pfalz
- DASDING was unchanged and continued broadcasting
- The television channel Südwest 3 became Südwest BW and Südwest RP, and today transmits as Südwest Fernsehen
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.
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):
- Bertram Bittel – Engineering and Production (Baden-Baden)
- Peter Boudgoust – Administration (Stuttgart)
- Dr. Hermann Eicher – Legal Department (Mainz)
- Bernhard Hermann – Radio (Baden-Baden)
- Bernhard Nellessen – Television (Baden-Baden)
- Dr. Uwe Rosenbaum – Regional Programming for Rhineland-Palatinate (Mainz)
- Dr. Willi Steul – Regional Programming for Baden-Württemberg (Stuttgart)
- Fernsehturm Stuttgart (Stuttgart TV Tower – a large TV/radio transmission tower in a steel-reinforced concrete structure, also containing a tower restaurant – currently unused – and viewing deck)
- Rheinsender at Wolfsheim for FM
- Fernsehturm Heidelberg (Heidelberg TV Tower – a large TV/radio transmission tower in a steel-reinforced concrete structure, containing a viewing deck).
- Transmitter Aalen for FM and TV
- Transmitter Waldenburg for FM and TV
- Transmitter Bad Mergentheim-Löffelstelzen for FM and TV
- Transmitter Ulm-Kuhberg for VHF
- Transmitter Freiburg-Lehen for FM and TV
- Transmitter Ulm-Ermingen for FM and TV
- Transmitter Hornisgrinde for FM and TV
- Transmitter Raichberg for FM and TV
- Transmitter Wannenberg for FM and TV
- Transmitter Blauen for FM and TV
- Transmitter Bad Marienberg for FM and TV
- Transmitter Fernsehturm St. Chrischona (Switzerland) for FM and TV
- Transmitter Feldberg im Schwarzwald for FM and TV
- Transmitter Weinbiet for FM and TV
- Transmitter Haardtkopf for FM and TV
- Transmitter Kettrichhof for FM and TV
- Transmitter Witthoh for FM and TV
- Transmitter Saarburg for FM and TV
- Transmitter Potzberg for FM and TV
- Transmitter Eifel for FM and TV
- Transmitter Waldburg for FM and TV
- Transmitter Dieblich-Naßheck(Koblenz) for FM and TV
- Transmitter Donnersberg for FM and TV
- Transmitter Linz am Rhein for FM and TV
- Transmitter Grünten im Allgäu for FM
Orchestras and Choruses
SWR operates the following musical organizations:
- "SWR Symphony Orchestra" in Baden-Baden and Freiburg – an orchestra with a rich tradition dating back to its establishment in 1946. Formerly the SWF Symphony Orchestra in Baden-Baden. Past chief conductors included Hans Rosbaud and Ernest Bour. The Orchestra is best known through the festivals ("Festspiele") in Donaueschingen.
- "SWR Radio Symphony Orchestra" in Stuttgart. Also originally organized in 1946, this was the former SDR Radio Symphony Orchestra. A former major chief conductor was Hans Müller-Kray. The Orchestra was best known through its festival appearances in Schwetzingen.
- "SWR Vocal Ensemble Stuttgart" – originally the "Southern Radio Chorus" Stuttgart, again dating from 1946.
- "SWR Radio Orchestra Kaiserslautern" – First organized in 1951, known for "light entertainment" and "light classic" music.
- "SWR Big Band" – originally the "Southern Radio Dance Orchestra", also organized in 1951, and was led for many years by Erwin Lehn.
- "SWR 3 Band" – a cover band in which several announcers of SWR3 play (e.g. Stefanie Tücking, Michael Spleth and Jan Garcia).
- "SWR 4 Band" – a cover band in which several music editors of SWR4 Baden-Würrtemberg [Radio Stuttgart] play (e.g. Wolfgang Gutmann, Rolf-Dieter Fröschlin, Helmut Link, Karlheinz Link and Peter Schönfeld).
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:
- ARD-Studio Algiers (Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia)
- ARD-Studio Buenos Aires (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay)
- ARD-Studio Geneva (covering the Geneva offices of the United Nations, as well as Switzerland and Liechtenstein)
- ARD-Studio Johannesburg (Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Swaziland)
- ARD-Studio Cairo (Egypt, Iraq, Yemen, Jordan, Qatar, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, United Arab Emirates)
- ARD-Studio Mexico City (Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Cuba, Martinique, Mexico, Montserrat, Nicaragua, Netherlands Antilles, Panama, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, Venezuela)
- ARD-Studio Strasbourg/Straßburg (covering the offices of the European Union and the European Council)
Subsidiaries of SWR
The following companies are subsidiaries of SWR-Holding GmbH:
- Südwest-Werbung GmbH – Advertising for radio and TV programs
- SWR Media GmbH – Licenses of SWR, including use of excerpts and sponsorships
- Südfunk Wirtschaftsbetriebe GmbH – Handles rent/leases for the "Parkhotel Stuttgart"
- Fernsehturm Betriebs GmbH – Responsible for the viewing deck and restaurant at the Fernsehturm Stuttgart
- Schwetzinger Festspiele GmbH – Responsible for the festival at Schwetzingen
- Maran-Film-GmbH – Film production company
- Bavaria Film GmbH – Film und TV production company
- Telepool GmbH – International management for productions of SWR and other public broadcasting services
- Der Audio Verlag GmbH – Production and management for audio recordings
- TR-Verlagsunion GmbH – Print publisher of various materials related to broadcasting
- Haus des Dokumentarfilms e. V. – Not-for-profit organization responsible for various documentaries
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