After school in Syke, Beckmann studied German, film and theatre in Cologne. In 1980, he began to work for the broadcaster WDR (in programs such as Aktuelle Stunde). As a sports journalist, he worked for Premiere from 1990 to 1992. He next went to SAT1, again as a sportscaster (in programs such as ran and ranissimo). Since 1998 Beckmann works for ARD (in programs such as Sportschau and has his own talkshow Beckmann). He retired on the 6th of May 2017.
Beckmann and his family live in Hamburg. He is married with two children.