Sputnik (radio station)

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Sputnik or MDR Sputnik is a youth-oriented German radio station, and is part of Leipzig-based public broadcaster MDR. The station, which plays primarily the typical variety of Pop and Rock music, is the successor to the East German youth station DT64, founded in 1964. It was given its present name on May 1, 1993, following German reunification in 1990; the new name, inspired by the Soviet Sputnik satellite, was the suggestion of former Saxon prime minister Kurt Biedenkopf.

While DT64 was broadcast throughout former East Germany, Sputnik is available on FM only in one of the five federal states which replaced the GDR and thus only in one of the three federal states that belong to MDR coverage area (Saxony-Anhalt); it is available throughout Europe via the Astra satellite on 19.2° east in DVB-S standard as well as in most German cable networks on DVB-C and in the MDR area (Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia) via FM in most of the cable networks and via DAB+.

DT64 lost all FM frequencies in the 1st half of 1992. In 4 new federal states these frequencies were given to private radio stations, in Berlin and Brandenburg a new public youth radio station (Rock Radio B, later Fritz) started on the frequencies DT64 used until this time. DT64 had to switch to AM in summer 1992, AM transmission lasted for one year. During this time the station got its new name MDR Sputnik. Between 1993 and 1997 MDR Sputnik was available only via Astra satellite analog audio subcarriers and a special German digital Radio System DSR, receivable via Cable and satellite. In 1997 the FM coverage in Saxony-Anhalt was built up. During this time the program lost most of the journalistic content, most of the word content disappeared. At the end of this process there was nothing that could one remind of DT64.

After a relaunch as high quality youth program under the new station manager Eric Markuse in December 2006 English news were broadcast the whole afternoon, between 1.30 P.M. and 6.30 P.M. and Sputnik got back a great variety of journalistic content as well as a well diversified music program with a significant amount of independent music.

In summer 2010 the MDR cut the budget again, English news and most of the journalistic content ceased, the station manager Eric Markuse left MDR Sputnik. Today (2014) Sputnik is a standard music program again.

Sputnik also operates an internet radio station, Sputnik.de, which has channels for Electronic Music, melancholic music, R&B, dance, rock music, a stream broadcasting the alternative evening programme Popkult the whole day.

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