DR (broadcaster)

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Danish Broadcasting Corporation
Danmarks Radio
Publicly funded, Public-service broadcaster
IndustryMass media
Founded1 April 1925; 93 years ago (1925-04-01)
HeadquartersDR Byen, ,
Area served
Kingdom of Denmark
Key people
Maria Rørbye Rønn
Michael Christiansen
DR Byen, DR's headquarters in Copenhagen

DR (Danmarks Radio),[1][2] officially Danish Broadcasting Corporation in English,[3] is a Danish public-service radio and television broadcasting company.[4] Founded in 1925 as a public-service organization, it is Denmark's oldest and largest electronic media enterprise. DR is a founding member of the European Broadcasting Union.

DR is funded by a media licence which is charged to all Danish households with television sets, computers, smartphones and other devices with internet access.

Today, DR operates six television channels, all of which are distributed free-to-air via a nationwide DVB-T network.[5] DR also operates eight radio channels. All are available nationally on DAB+ radio and online, with the four original stations also available on FM radio.[6]


Old DR logo used from 1996 until 2013.

DR was founded on April 1, 1925 under the name of Radioordningen, which was changed to Statsradiofonien in 1926, to Danmarks Radio in 1959,[7] and to DR in 1996.[8]

During the German occupation of Denmark in World War II, radio broadcasts were censored – under particularly harsh conditions from August 1943 – leading many Danes to turn to Danish-language broadcasts from the BBC or the illegal press,[9] as well as Swedish radio in 1944–1945.[7]

Statsradiofonien's second FM radio station, Program 2 (P2), was added in 1951, followed by P3 in 1963.

Experimental television broadcasts started in 1949, with regular programming beginning on October 2, 1951 with the launch of Denmark's first television channel. Daily programming began in 1954.[7] Colour television test broadcasts were started in March 1967, with the first large-scale colour broadcasting occurring for the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France.[10] Danmarks Radio officially ended "test" transmissions of colour television on April 1, 1970, although it wasn't until 1978 that their last black-and-white television program (TV Avisen) switched to colour.[10]

On exactly 16 May 1983 at 14:00 CEST, DR launched its first teletext information service, which is still available on all DR channels.[11]

Danmarks Radio's monopoly on national television lasted until 1988, when TV 2 started broadcasting.[12] 8 years later DR launched their second television channel, DR2 on August 30, 1996.[13] It was sometimes called den hemmelige kanal ("the secret channel") in its early years because it could not be seen nationwide at its launch.

The first trials of DAB were carried out in 1995,[14] with eight channels officially launching in October 2002.[15]

On June 7, 2007, DR launched an online-only news channel DR Update.[16] It was later added as a traditional channel. At the Danish changeover to over-the-air digital signals on November 1, 2009, DR added three new channels to their lineup[17]

  • DR K - an intercultural, documentary and "odd-film" channel.
  • DR HD – Denmark's first free-to-air high-definition channel intended to air successful shows from the other DR channels in true HD only, with no upscaling.
  • DR Ramasjang, a children's channel.

In 2013 a new logo in which the letters "DR" featured in a white sans-serif font on a black background was introduced, and the line-up of television channels was changed once again. A new channel targeting young people, DR3 replaced DR HD. Another channel for children, DR Ultra replaced DR Update. The closure of DR Update was the start of a revamping of DR 2 as a channel for news and society.

A nationwide switch from DAB to the newer DAB+ format took place on 1 October 2017.[18] All of DR's stations plus the privately owned, public service channel - Radio24Syv, moved to the second national DAB+ multiplex (DAB-blok 2).


The principal means of funding DR is through the media licence, costing 2.492 DKK per year per household since 2017.[19] Traditionally, radio and television owners were obliged to pay the licence, though the increased availability of online streaming led to the television licence being replaced by the media licence on January 1, 2007. The media licence is mandatory for all owners of television sets, as well as computers, smartphones or other devices with internet access.[20]

In 2007 approximately 180,000 households did not pay media licence.[21]

Revenue also comes from commercial activities such as concerts and events in the Koncerthuset, from book, CD, and DVD sales, and from overseas sales of its catalogue of programmes.

Over a period of four years starting in 2019 through 2022 the media license will be replaced by general taxation, as announced on 16 March 2018 by a majority in the Danish Parliament consisting of Venstre, Conservatives, Liberal Alliance, and Danish People's Party.[22][23]

Notable television programmes[edit]

DR productions[edit]

Other shows[edit]


DR regional office in Rønne.
  • DR P1 – "Thought-provoking radio": factual programming, reports, discussion and debate on public affairs, society and the community, plus in-depth news.
  • DR P2 – "Music and cultural radio": classical music, opera, jazz, radio drama, and coverage of other artistic performances and events.
  • DR P3 – Hit radio, with popular entertainment shows and hourly three-minute news bulletins. P3 also covers major sporting events.
  • DR P4 – DR's most popular radio channel: a "modern public service station" broadcast in 10 regional versions, mixing popular music with national and local news. P4 also provides a Traffic Message Channel for delivering traffic and travel information.
  • DR P5 – Focuses on older music from the 1950s and 1960s mixed in with some newer music.
  • DR P6 Beat – In depth focus on underground and popular music scene.
  • DR P7 Mix – Popular hits along with extended marathons related to particular themes.
  • DR P8 Jazz – Jazz.
  • DR Langbølge - The 243 kHz longwave radio is used to cover nearby seas with news and weather broadcasts. The transmissions are only 4 times daily at 05:45, 08:45, 11:45 and 17:45 local time.[24]


  • DR1 (24h, 16:9 720p HD), main channel with flagship evening news, sport and weather programmes. Home of DR's own high-profiled drama productions. TV series, movies and documentaries.
  • DR2 (24h, 16:9 720p HD), breaking news, documentaries, debate, comedy and movies.
  • DR3 (24h,16:9 720p HD), innovative programming to a target audience of viewers between 15 and 39 years old.
  • DR K (24h, 16:9 720p HD), the channel airs films from around the world, combining its offerings with historical or cultural documentaries, as well as opera, theatre and musicals.
  • DR Ramasjang (until 8 pm, 16:9 576i SD), for children aged 3-6 years.
  • DR Ultra (until 9 pm, 16:9 576i SD), for children aged 7-12 years.

Geographical terrestrial coverage[edit]


All of Denmark is covered by digital terrestrial reception through a nationwide DVB-T and MPEG-4 network comprising six multiplexes (MUX). DR owns MUXes 1 and 2 in a joint-venture between DR and TV 2. MUXes 1 and 2 broadcast all six DR channels unencrypted. Given the low topography of the Danish mainland and islands, so-called signal overspill is inevitable if every part of the country is to receive coverage. Hence, all DRs' channels are available in northernmost Germany, and Scania the southernmost part of Sweden.


Every city in Greenland can receive DR1, DR2 and DR Ultra free-to-air via a public DVB-T network.

Faroe Islands

The company, Televarpið, a subsidiary of Faroese Telecom covers the Faroe Islands with a DVB-T network broadcasting DR1, DR2, DR3, DR Ramasjang and DR Ultra.[25]


DR's online presence includes a comprehensive news website and archive. It was launched as DR Online in 1996.[26] According to Kantar Gallup, dr.dk is Denmark's most visited site.[27]

Another large part of the site allows users to watch and listen to most Television and Radio output live and for some time after broadcast using the DR TV and DR Radio platforms.

Orchestras and Ensembles[edit]

Disbanded DR Orchestras

Rosenkjær Prize[edit]

Since 1963, DR has awarded the Rosenkjær Prize to a person who has proven an ability to make a difficult subject accessible to a wider audience in an understandable and vivid form. The prizewinner commits to hold a number of radio lectures. The prize is named after Jens Rosenkjær (1883–1976), Head of State Broadcasting 1937–53. The prize is now DKK 50,000, up from 25,000 in 2008, and 40,000 in 2009[28]

Board of directors[edit]

DR's board of directors comprises 11 members appointed for a four-year period. Three members, including the chair, are appointed by the Minister of Culture, and six by Parliament, while the employees of DR elect two members. The board has overall responsibility for DR programs and for the hiring of DR's chief executive, the director general, and the remaining management positions.

Relocation of DR and funding crisis[edit]

The former headquarters of DR, Radiohuset on Rosenørns Allé

DR moved in 2006-2007 all its activities from Radiohuset in Frederiksberg and TV-Byen in Søborg to a new complex in the Ørestad area of Copenhagen.[29][30] The new building, called DR Byen (the DR city), covers an area of approximately 133,000 m2 (1,431,600 sq ft).[31]

The project became more expensive than planned, forcing DR to make drastic budget cuts.[32] In April 2007 it was announced that 300 employees would be laid off, meaning that most of the sports department would be closed down as well as most of the educational department, several programmes and the radio channel DR X.[33][34] DR would also give up its rights to the Olympic Games and attempt to sell the rights to a number of other sports events including football.[35]

As the major recipient of license funds, DR operates under a public service contract with the government which it was unable to fulfil in the wake of the budget crisis related to the move.[36][37][38] The budget overspends caused a major scandal which saw senior management of DR replaced, and was followed by a heated political debate over whether the service should receive additional emergency funding[citation needed]. Various measures to mitigate the impact on the public service obligations of the institution were contemplated by the Danish Parliament, and a compromise was agreed to limit the impact of the deficit.

Accusations of bias[edit]

For over a decade, the Danish People's Party, a nativist[39] and anti-immigrant political party,[40] has criticized DR for alleged bias in its political news coverage, citing the process for appointment to DR's board of directors. In response, DR set up a "watchdog committee" intended to detect and report upon any bias.

The first large-scale scientific content analysis of political news coverage on DR published by the Centre for Journalism at the University of Southern Denmark, studying election news coverage in the years 1994–2007, documented no persistent political bias towards either the left or the right.[41] News coverage of political actors and parties was found to be largely similar to the news coverage on DR's competitor TV 2. The study concluded that political news coverage on both broadcasters was guided by journalistic professional criteria as to the newsworthiness of political actors and political issues, not by partisan considerations.

In 2008, Mikael Rothstein, author and professor of religious history at the University of Copenhagen, was highly critical of DR when it issued a Christian values policy, declaring that Muslims would feel excluded.[42][43]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Danmarks Radios bestyrelse". Folketinget (in Danish). Retrieved 2018-06-03.
  2. ^ "DR - Danmarks Radio (LinkedIn)". LinkedIn. Archived from the original on 2011-02-11.
  3. ^ "About DR". DR. Retrieved 8 April 2017.
  4. ^ "DR". Kulturministeriet. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  5. ^ "THE DANISH DVB-T NETWORK". Digi-TV. Retrieved 8 April 2017.
  6. ^ "Oversigt over FM-nettets sendemaster og frekvenser". DR. Retrieved 8 April 2017.
  7. ^ a b c "Denmark – Culture – Mass Media". Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Archived from the original on January 10, 2007. Retrieved 2009-04-30.
  8. ^ "DANMARKS RADIO 1925-". Danmarkshistorien.dk. Aarhus Universitet. Retrieved 8 April 2017.
  9. ^ "Censur" (in Danish). www.befrielsen1945.dk. Retrieved 2009-04-30.
  10. ^ a b 40 år med farve-tv fra DR
  11. ^ "30 år på tekst-tv-tronen". DR. 14 May 2013. Retrieved 8 April 2017.
  12. ^ "TV2, 1988-". Danmarkshistorien. Retrieved 8 April 2017.
  13. ^ Om DR (About DR), Danmarks Radio corporate website, Undated. Retrieved January 12, 2012.
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 19, 2005. Retrieved November 15, 2008.
  15. ^ "DR i årene fra 2000 og frem til i dag" (in Danish). DR. Retrieved 2009-05-02.
  16. ^ "DR lancerer nyhedskanal til nettet: DR Update". DR. 21 May 2007. Retrieved 8 April 2017.
  17. ^ "Danish switchover completed". Broadband TV News. November 1, 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-16.;
  18. ^ "Overgangen til DAB+ udsat til 1. oktober 2017". Danske Medier. 18 May 2016. Retrieved 8 April 2017.
  19. ^ "Prisen for medielicens". DR. Retrieved 8 April 2017.
  20. ^ "Skal jeg betale medielicens?". DR. Retrieved 8 April 2017.
  21. ^ "Så mange betaler ikke licens". Berlingske Business. 16 October 2007. Retrieved 9 April 2017.
  22. ^ Borre, Martin (16 March 2018). "Officielt: Regeringen afskaffer licensen og skærer 20 procent i DR". Berlingske. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  23. ^ "Aftale om fokusering af DR og afskaffelse af medielicensen" (PDF). Regeringen. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  24. ^ "FM og langbølge (LB)". DR. Retrieved 8 April 2017.
  25. ^ "Televarpið". Televarpið. Retrieved 9 April 2017.
  26. ^ "Etableringen af DR Online, 1994-96". Niels Brügger. Retrieved 9 April 2017.
  27. ^ "Dansk online Index". Kantar Gallup. Retrieved 9 April 2017.[permanent dead link]
  28. ^ Rosenkjaer Prize
  29. ^ "New Radio and TV House". www.dr.dk. Retrieved 2009-09-10.
  30. ^ "DR Byen – multimedia house for the Danish Broadcasting Corporation, Denmark". www.cowi.com. Archived from the original on December 5, 2008. Retrieved 2009-09-10.
  31. ^ "DR Byen, Copenhagen, Denmark". www.e-architect.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-09-10.
  32. ^ "Magnificent. Expensive. Koncerthuset –". www.cphpost.dk. January 16, 2009. Archived from the original on June 5, 2011. Retrieved September 10, 2009.
  33. ^ "DR-spareplan rammer sport og underholdning" [DR savings plan hits sports and entertainment] (in Danish). April 24, 2007. Retrieved August 31, 2011.
  34. ^ "DAB-lyttere får dansktoptoner døgnet rundt" [DAB listeners get dansktop music around the clock] (in Danish). October 23, 2007. Retrieved August 31, 2011.
  35. ^ "Economy, technology and ideology decide the future of Nordic public service companies" (PDF). www.nordicom.gu.se. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 12, 2011. Retrieved September 10, 2009.
  36. ^ "The Licence". www.dr.dk. Retrieved 2009-09-10.
  37. ^ "The act on broadcasting". www.dr.dk. Retrieved 2009-09-10.
  38. ^ "Public service contract between DR and the Danish Minister for Culture for the period from 1 January 2007– 31 December 2010" (PDF). www.dr.dk. Retrieved 2009-09-10.
  39. ^ Collins, Lauren. "Danish Postmodern Why are so many people fans of Scandinavian TV?". newyorker.com. Condé Nast. Retrieved January 29, 2016.
  40. ^ Delman, Edward. "How Not to Welcome Refugees". The Atlantic. The Atlantic Monthly Group. Retrieved February 1, 2016.
  41. ^ "Kunsten at holde balancen: Dækningen af folketingsvalgkampe i tv-nyhederne på DR1". Retrieved 2011-10-15.
  42. ^ New edict forcing DR to convey Christianity[permanent dead link]
  43. ^ Danish Radio Embraces Christian Values, Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey

External links[edit]