DR (broadcaster)

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Type Public-service radio and television broadcaster
Country Denmark
Availability National
Owner Danish government
Key people
Maria Rørbye Rønn, Director General
Gitte Rabøl, Media Director
Martin Præstegaard, D.o. Economy
Launch date
1925 (founded)
1927 (nationwide radio)
1951 (television)
Former names
Radioordningen (1925–1926)
Statsradiofonien (1926–1959)
Danmarks Radio (1959–1996)
Official website
DR-Byen, DR's new headquarters in Copenhagen

DR (from the earlier Danmarks Radio, which was the organization's name until 1996), officially rendered into English as the Danish Broadcasting Corporation,[1] is Denmark's national broadcasting corporation. Founded in 1925 as a public-service organization, it is today Denmark's oldest and largest electronic media enterprise. Danmarks Radio was one of the 23 broadcasting organizations that founded the European Broadcasting Union in 1950.

DR is funded by the levying of a broadcast receiving licence fee, payable in Denmark by all owners of radios, television sets, and, in recent years, computers and other devices capable of receiving DR's video content, whether or not they use DR's services.

DR operates four nationwide FM radio stations[2] (P1 and P2 now share one FM network)[3] as well as a total of eight DAB channels[4] (including the 4 on FM). All stations can be listened to on the web and via mobile radio.


Old logo of DR used until 2013, still used as secondary logo.

DR was founded on April 1, 1925 under the name of Radioordningen, changed to Statsradiofonien in 1926, and Danmarks Radio in 1959.[5] The abbreviated form DR has been used in official documents since 2000.[6]

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,[7] as well as Swedish radio in 1944–1945.[5]

Statsradiofonien's second radio station, Program 2 (P2), was added in 1951, followed by P3 in 1963. Experimental television broadcasts started in 1949, with regular programming from 1951 and daily programmes from 1954.[5] 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.[8] 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.[8]

Danmarks Radio's monopoly on national television lasted until 1988, when TV 2 started broadcasting.

DR added a second television channel, DR2, in August 1996.[9]

On June 7, 2007, DR added an all-day news channel, DR Update, which closed in March 2013.

At the Danish changeover to over-the-air digital signals on November 1, 2009, DR added three new channels to their lineup[10]

  • DR K, an intercultural, documentary and "odd-film" channel.
  • DR HD, HD-transmissions, once a week co-broadcasts "film of the week" with DR1.
  • DR Ramasjang, a children's channel.

In 2013, DR introduced a new logo in which the words "DR" is featured in a white sans-serif font on a black background. This is however used only on some of DR's radio and television stations such as the radio station DR P3 as well as the newly introduced TV channels DR3 (launched January 28, 2013 and replaced DR HD) and DR Ultra (launched March 4, 2013 and replaced DR Update).

Today all six channels are broadcast terrestrially via the digital DVB-T system with encoded MPEG4 compression. Overspill into northern Germany and south-western Sweden occurs.

Rosenkjær Prize[edit]

Since 1963, DR had awarded the Rosenkjær Prize (Danish Radio "lectures prize") to a prominent scientist or cultural figure who has shown the ability to make a difficult subject available to the public in lecture 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 price is (2008) of DKK 25,000, as of 2009 raised to DKK 40,000[11]



Main article: DR Radio
Map showing P4's 11 regions.
Danmarks Radio on Bornholm, in Rønne.

DR operates four national radio channels, broadcast on FM, as well as DAB and web radio. In 2011 DR began to relaunch all their radio stations. As of March 2015 DR has 8 channels, 4 on both FM and DAB and 8 on DAB. All radio stations can be listened to on DR web radio:

  • 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 11 regional versions, mixing popular music with national and local news. P4 also provides a Traffic Message Channel service of travel news. It is broadcast on FM, web radio and DAB+.
  • DR P5 – Focuses on older music from the 1950s and 1960s mixed in with some newer music on DAB.
  • DR P6 Beat – In depth focus on underground and popular music scene on DAB
  • DR P7 Mix – Popular hits along with extended marathons related to particular themes on DAB
  • DR P8 Jazz – on DAB

The first trials of DAB were carried out in 1995,[12] with eight channels officially launching in October 2002.[13] The DAB lineup has changed over the years, and as of August 2011, DR broadcasts 7 different DAB channels, including the four channels also broadcast on FM.[14]


DR was Denmark's first television channel. It began broadcasting on October 2, 1951. Since the introduction of DR2 on August 30, 1996 it has been known as DR1[15] DR2 is the third national subscription-free TV channel in Denmark; it followed the establishment of TV 2 and its sister channel. Competitors derided it in its early years as den hemmelige kanal ("the secret channel") because it could not be seen nationwide at its launch. DR2's traditional specialties are cultural programmes, satirical comedy, in-depth news programmes, documentaries, and a weekly tema-lørdag Saturday thematic strand examining diverse aspects of one chosen subject in a series of linked programmes.[citation needed]

DR operated a dedicated news channel, DR Update, from June 2007 to March 2013.[13] On November 1, 2009, DR launched three new channels:[16]

  • DR Ramasjang – a children's channel to air programming targeting three- to ten-year-olds from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • DR K – a culture and history channel to span several topics, e.g. art, culture, history, music, design, architecture and fashion. It only aired from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m.
  • 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. This channel was later renamed to DR3, and was no longer HD-only.

Changes in 2011 and 2012[edit]

In late 2011 DR3 took the place of DR HD. Initially DR3 particularly targeted the age group from 15 to 35. Early in 2012 the news channel DR Update was closed, and DR 2 became the main channel for news and society. Due to falling viewership, however, this concept was soon changed. As with the main DR1 channel, DR2 now airs British detective series, as well as "classic" films (Søndagsklassikeren) on Sunday afternoons (except during the summer). The films are typically British or American ones – films that were well received in the year of their release – from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s; occasionally non-English-language films are aired. British comedy shows – such as Yes, Minister, Yes, Prime Minister and Dad's Army – have also aired. DR2 airs a quality modern movie at 8 p.m. every Friday, while DR3 usually airs modern American films and Jimmy Fallon's variety show.

Friday to Sunday DR3 airs several films, usually starting the first one in the afternoon. DR3 never airs news, and when showing "documentaries", they are of the trivial Top Shot, Mayday air disaster and Ice Road Truckers genre. DR1 is still the main channel, where most of DR's own productions are aired. Some of them have gained international release, like Forbrydelsen (remade in America as The Killing). As with DR3, several films are aired Fridays to Sundays. After 8 p.m. various Danish game shows offer ordinary people a chance to win a prize of up to 250,000 Danish kroner, currently equivalent to about ₤29,000, €33,500 or US$36,000. Few people win the largest prize, however. The fourth DR channel for adults is DR K. It's a bit unclear what the "K" actually stands for. It could be the Danish word for "Classical" , "Cultural" or even "Knowledge". The channel airs films from around the world, combining its offerings with historical or cultural documentaries, as well as opera, theatre and musicals.

Since 2012 DR has also aired two channels for children, DR-Ramasjang, for kids from five to seven years old, and DR Ultra, intended for children a little older.

List of DR television channels (2015)[edit]

  • DR1 (24h, HD, 720p), main news in the evening, Danish entertainment & series, various featured film, British criminal dramas (like Vera, Midsummer murders and DCI Banks but also from the previous century like Inspector Morse and others), nature documentaries, sport news including the weekly Football magazine. During later years have Australian series of various kind began the nighttime, Water Rats and Halifax f.p. are examples of Australian series. The exchange of various TV-series between Sweden and Denmark has also increased during later years. Sundays at 8 pm is the usual time for DR's own production of various TV series, though not during the summer.
  • DR2 (20h, SD), breaking news (rare), daytime news, Danish & British comedy, Modern "Quality movies", society documentaries, society debate, The Sunday Classic Movie like Where Eagles Dare, The Towering Inferno and Convoy and quite a lot of Westerns. And also a few British criminal dramas like Waking the Dead and Luther.Also Fridays 8 pm is a standard time for new quality featured film, sometimes from Hollywood but also French and other European film. (nights 2 am – 6 am rerunning of news and debates)
  • DR3 (24h, HD, 720p), Usually American featured film from this century, teenage topics, documentaries like Ice Road Truckers, Mayday – air disaster, River Monsters and Top Shot. Fridays and Saturday evenings always contain three or four films (of which though some may have been recently aired before)
  • DR K (24h, SD), Culture, historical documentaries (including technological progress), worldwide featured quality film from the 1960s and onwards (often prize winners, iconic movies, or otherways notable films whithin all genres). Some examples from 2016 – Deliverance, Don't Look Now, The Constant Gardner and La segunda muerte ("The second death", an Argentinian high quality horror film). The channel also aires entire Operas, Musicals and Theatre. Cultural debate (all topics), cultural quizzes etc. At 10.September 2016 did DR K air the entire Last Night of the Proms live. This program has old roots in entire Scandinavia, but earlier as a non-live summary.
  • DR Ramasjang (until 8 pm, SD), for the youngest children
  • DR Ultra (until 9 pm, SD), for kids older than 7–8 years old

Sport live is not purchased, but free events like the FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro are aired together with their main rivals, the equally national owned, semi public service network TV2 network (which airs five national channels and one regional channel. No advertises are aired within films and other programmes, with exception of "natural breakes", like half-time of a football match).

DR hosted the Eurovision Song Contest in 1964, 2001 and 2014.

Geographical terrestrial coverage[edit]

All of Denmark is covered for terrestrial reception through the DVB-T & MPEG4 digital protocol. All six channels are unencrypted. Given the low topography of the Danish mainland and islands, so-called overspill is inevitable if every part of the country is to receive coverage. Hence, all DR's channels are available also in northernmost Germany; around 10,000 people with Danish as their native language still live in the German part of the historical Slesvig province. With a common antenna, DR channels can be received as far south as the German City of Kiel. Another million Swedes can receive all of DR's channels. Like the Danish capital city of Copenhagen and its somewhat distant island of Bornholm, the well-populated western part of Scania is located inside DR's coverage area, and many southern Swedes – whose dialect is closer to standard Danish language than to the dialect spoken in northern Sweden – may watch DR1's weather forecast at DR1 DR appears to be aware of this, since they routinely provide temperatures for Scania on the forecasting maps. Swedes who may have difficulties in understanding spoken Danish can often easily learn to read the Danish subtitles.

DR also features Britcrime series (a Scandinavian word for all BBC, ITV and Channel Four criminal dramas, like Midsomer murders, Inspector Morse and others). The two most popular Danish channels, DR1 and TV2, are usually included in most southern and west-coast Swedish analogue cable TV networks. But to receive all of DR's channels, a common UHF-antenna is required. While this rules out the encrypted TV2, it is easy to combine an antenna – through an digital decoder, with or without a Viaaccess card slot – with an analogue cable network.[17]

Accusations of bias[edit]

For over a decade, the Danish People's Party, a nativist[18] and anti-immigrant political party,[19] 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.[20] 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.[21][22]

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 has moved all its activities from the Copenhagen region, including radio, TV and the various orchestras to a brand new complex in the northern part of Ørestad, also in Copenhagen.[23][24] The new building, called DR Byen (the DR city), covers an area of approximately 133,000 m2 (1,431,600 sq ft).[25] The complex, which was formally opened with a gala concert on January 17, 2009, contains a new concert building with room for more than 2,200 people, including 1,800 in the largest concert hall.[26] The concert hall also includes a large new organ by J. L. van den Heuvel Orgelbouw, which has already been completed in their workshops in Dordrecht, Netherlands.[27]

The project has become much more expensive than planned, forcing DR to make drastic budget cuts.[28] 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.[29][30] 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.[31]

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.[32][33][34] 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 Parliament, and a compromise was agreed to limit the impact of the deficit.


DR is funded primarily by means of its broadcast receiver licence, collected biannually by DR Licens.[35] Two different licences are available, the radio licence (radio only) and the media licence (all media, including radio), both collected on a per-household basis, regardless of actual use of the services. Traditionally, radio and television owners were obliged to pay the licence, though the increased availability of online streaming has 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, computers with broadband Internet access or TV tuners, as well as mobile phones etc. capable of receiving video signals; the broadband criterion is set as at least 256 kbit/s.[36]

In 2009 the licence has been set to 2,220 DKK (approximately GB£257) for a year per household.[37] In 2007 4.7 billion DKK (GB£544,888,793.64) was paid in licence. Statistics show that approximately 180,000 households do not pay media licence even when obligated to, and 10,000 households are paying radio licence rather than media licence.[38] A person not paying licence is called a "sortseer" or licence dodger in English[39] in DR's campaigns.

Danish TV broadcasting hours (DR1)[edit]

  • 1951–1966: 10 hours a week (5 programs)
  • 1966–1982: 14 hours a day (35 programs a week)
  • 1982–1995: 18 hours a day (50 programs a week)
  • 1995–2000: 21 hours a day (60 programs a week)
  • 2000-today: 24 hours a day

See also[edit]


  1. ^ DR in brief – dr.dk/OmDR/About DR – Access date: April 18, 2012
  2. ^ [1] Archived February 7, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ "DR Press Release regarding P1 & P2 changes" (Press release). DR. 
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ a b c "Denmark – Culture – Mass Media". Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Archived from the original on January 10, 2007. Retrieved 2009-04-30. 
  6. ^ "LOV nr 1272 af 20/12/2000". retsinformation.dk (in Danish). The Civil Affairs Agency. Retrieved 2009-05-22. 
  7. ^ "Censur" (in Danish). www.befrielsen1945.dk. Retrieved 2009-04-30. 
  8. ^ a b 40 år med farve-tv fra DR
  9. ^ "DR2 mister to frontløbere" (in Danish). Information. Retrieved 2009-04-30. 
  10. ^ "Danish switchover completed". Broadband TV News. November 1, 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-16. ;
  11. ^ Rosenkjaer Prize
  12. ^ [3]
  13. ^ a b "DR i årene fra 2000 og frem til i dag" (in Danish). DR. Retrieved 2009-05-02. 
  14. ^ "Radio/DAB" (in Danish). DR. Retrieved 2009-05-02. 
  15. ^ Om DR (About DR), Danmarks Radio corporate website, Undated. Retrieved January 12, 2012.
  16. ^ "DRs nye kanaler får navnene DR Ramasjang, DR K og DR HD". DR. March 19, 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-26. 
  17. ^ Dækningskort (Coverage map). Note that Udendørs/tag-antenne means a common outdoor/roof antenna, while Indendørs/stue-antenne means an indoor room antenna. Newer indoor antennas, known as "active antennas," due to their 5-volt power, give a very amplified signal. Such antennas, if placed in a window and oriented towards the transmitter, are a major improvement on old indoor antennas. Digital signals are carried better than analogue ones over water. They also bounce around and hence can sometimes be received better from a lower position than a higher one for receiving DBV-T or DBV-T2 television signals.
  18. ^ Collins, Lauren. "Danish Postmodern Why are so many people fans of Scandinavian TV?". newyorker.com. Condé Nast. Retrieved January 29, 2016. 
  19. ^ Delman, Edward. "How Not to Welcome Refugees". The Atlantic. The Atlantic Monthly Group. Retrieved February 1, 2016. 
  20. ^ "Kunsten at holde balancen: Dækningen af folketingsvalgkampe i tv-nyhederne på DR1". Retrieved 2011-10-15. 
  21. ^ New edict forcing DR to convey Christianity
  22. ^ Danish Radio Embraces Christian Values, Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey
  23. ^ "New Radio and TV House". www.dr.dk. Retrieved 2009-09-10. 
  24. ^ "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. 
  25. ^ "DR Byen, Copenhagen, Denmark". www.e-architect.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-09-10. 
  26. ^ "DR Koncerthuset". www.visitcopenhagen.com. Retrieved 2009-09-10. 
  27. ^ "Copenhagen, Denmark". vandenheuvel-orgelbouw.nl. Retrieved 2009-09-10. 
  28. ^ "Magnificent. Expensive. Koncerthuset –". www.cphpost.dk. January 16, 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-10. 
  29. ^ "DR-spareplan rammer sport og underholdning" [DR savings plan hits sports and entertainment] (in Danish). April 24, 2007. Retrieved August 31, 2011. 
  30. ^ "DAB-lyttere får dansktoptoner døgnet rundt" [DAB listeners get dansktop music around the clock] (in Danish). October 23, 2007. Retrieved August 31, 2011. 
  31. ^ "Economy, technology and ideology decide the future of Nordic public service companies" (PDF). www.nordicom.gu.se. Retrieved 2009-09-10. 
  32. ^ "The Licence". www.dr.dk. Retrieved 2009-09-10. 
  33. ^ "The act on broadcasting". www.dr.dk. Retrieved 2009-09-10. 
  34. ^ "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. 
  35. ^ "Licence". DR. Retrieved 2009-05-03. 
  36. ^ "Spørgsmål og svar vedrørende medielicensen" (in Danish). Ministry of Culture. Retrieved 2009-05-03. 
  37. ^ [4] DR - Priser, Retrieved on 2008-11-13
  38. ^ [5] Business.dk, Retrieved on 2008-11-13
  39. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 7, 2009. Retrieved November 13, 2008.  MSN Encarta Dictionary, Retrieved on 2008-11-13. 2009-10-31.

External links[edit]