DR (broadcaster)

DR (broadcaster)
Type Public-service radio and television broadcaster
Country  Denmark
Availability National
Owner The Kingdom of Denmark
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 www.dr.dk
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.[2] Founded in 1925 as a public-service organization, it is today Denmark's oldest and largest electronic media enterprise. The then Danmarks Radio was one of the 23 broadcasting organizations which 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 runs four nationwide FM radio stations,[3] as well as a total of 9 DAB stations[4] (including the 4 on FM). All stations can be listened to on web and mobile radio.



DR was founded on 1 April 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 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] Color television test broadcasts were started in March 1967, with the first large-scale color broadcasting occurring for the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France.[8] Danmarks Radio officially ended "test" transmissions of color television on April 1, 1970, although it wasn't until 1978 that their last black-and-white television program (TV Avisen) switched to color.[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 7 June 2007, DR added an all-day news channel, DR Update.

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

  • DR K, an intercultural channel
  • DR HD, select programs from the other channels transmitted as HD
  • DR Ramasjang, a children's channel.



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 August 2011 DR has 10 channels, 1 only on FM (Regional radio P4) 3 on both FM and DAB and 6 on DAB. All radio stations can be listented to on DR web radio:

  • P1 – "Thought-provoking radio": factual programming, reports, discussion and debate on public affairs, society and the community, plus in-depth news.
  • P2 – "Music and cultural radio": classical music, opera, jazz, radio drama, and coverage of other artistic performances and events.
  • P3 – Hit radio, with popular entertainment shows and hourly three-minute news bulletins. P3 also covers major sporting events.
  • 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 and web radio, while only a national version, P4 Danmark, is broadcast on DAB.
  • P5 – on DAB.
  • P6BEAT – on DAB
  • P7MIX – on DAB
  • P8JAZZ – on DAB
  • MAMA – on DAB

The first trials of DAB were carried out in 1995,[11] with eight channels officially launching in October 2002.[12] 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.[13]


DR was Denmark's first television channel. It began broadcasting on 2 October 1951. Since the introduction of DR2 on 30 August 1996 it has been known as DR1[citation needed].

DR2 is the third national subscription-free TV channel in Denmark (it followed the establishment of TV 2 and its sister channel)[citation needed]. It was known in its earliest years as den hemmelige kanal ("the secret channel") because it could not be seen nationwide at its launch — a situation much ridiculed by its competitors[citation needed]. Its early programme content was also fairly narrow[citation needed]. In recent times, however, it has become one of the strongest brands in Danish television and on several occasions gained more viewers than TV 3[citation needed]. DR2's traditional specialisms are cultural programmes, satirical comedy, in-depth news programmes, documentaries, and a weekly temalørdag (Theme Saturday) strand examining diverse aspects of one chosen subject in a series of linked programmes[citation needed].

DR operates a dedicated news channel, DR Update, from June 2007.[12] On 1 November 2009, DR will launch three new channels:[14]

  • DR Ramasjang – a children's channel that will air programming targeted 3 to 10 year olds from 6am to 8pm.
  • DR K – a culture and history channel that will span across several topics, e.g. "art, culture, history, music, design, architecture, fashion". It will only air from 4pm to midnight.
  • DR HD – Denmark's first free-to-air high-definition channel that will air successful shows from the other DR-channels in true HD only, no upscaling.

DR provides live streaming of DR1 and DR2, as well as news broadcasts from DR Update, and on-demand streaming of many individual programmes, to internet users in Denmark.[citation needed]

Ensuring non-biased reporting

The Danish People's Party, a nationalistic political party, has criticized DR for being biased against the party in its political news coverage, attributing this partly to the party-political nature of appointments to the DR Board of Directors[citation needed]. In response, DR set up a "watchdog committee" intended to detect and report upon any anti-party bias[citation needed]. This criticism is only part of a decade-long constant opposition to alleged left-wing bias at DR. Very important was Aktive Lyttere og Seere, a watchdog group started in 1976 by the politician Erhard Jacobsen, who enjoyed a high level of public support. Erhard Jacobsen was at that time a member of Centrum-Demokraterne, a party he founded himself three years earlier.

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, did not document any persistent political bias, neither to the left nor to the right.[15] Rather, news coverage of political actors and parties is largely similar to the news coverage on DR's competitor TV 2. The study concludes that political news coverage on both broadcasters was guided by journalistic professional criteria of newsworthiness of political actors and political issues, not 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 policy favoring Christian values, since he felt that Muslims would feel excluded.[16][17]

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors of DR comprises of eleven members appointed for a four year period. Three members, including the Chairman, are appointed by the Minister of Culture, six by Parliament, while the employees of DR elect two members. The Board has overall responsibility for DR programs and for the hiring of DRs chief executive, Director General and the remaining management positions.

Relocation of DR and funding crisis

The former headquarter 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[18][19]. The new building, called DR Byen (the DR city), covers an area of approximately 133,000 m²[20]. The complex, which was formally opened with a gala concert on 17 January 2009, contains a new concert building with room for more than 2,200 people, including 1,800 in the largest concert hall[21]. 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[22].

The project has become much more expensive than planned, forcing DR to make drastic budget cuts[23]. 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[24][25]. 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[26].

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[27][28][29]. 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, the main component of which was the authorization of the sale of DR's concert hall into private ownership[citation needed].


DR is funded primarily by means of its broadcast receiver licence, collected biannually by DR Licens.[30] 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 1 January 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.[31]

In 2009 the licence has been set to 2,220 DKK (approximately 257 GBP) for a year per household.[32] In 2007 4.7 billion DKK (544,888,793.64 GBP) 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.[33] A person not paying licence is called a "sortseer" or licence dodger in English[34] in DR's campaigns. DR has been criticized for forcing people to pay for a product they have not ordered which is illegal according to the law about certain consumer agreements (Lov om visse forbrugeraftaler) §8 which makes it illegal to charge for a service a person has not ordered.

Danish TV Broadcasting hours (DR1)

  • 1951-1966 10 hours a week (5 programs)
  • 1966-1982 13 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

DR1 was the first channel in Denmark to start broadcasting 24 hours.

See also

  • List of Danish television channels


  1. ^ http://www.dr.dk/OmDR/About+DR/20060622150803.htm
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ [2]
  4. ^ [3]
  5. ^ a b c "Denmark – Culture – Mass Media". Ministry of Foreign Affairs. http://www.um.dk/Publikationer/UM/English/Denmark/kap4/4-13-5.asp#4-13-5. Retrieved 2009-04-30. [dead link]
  6. ^ "LOV nr 1272 af 20/12/2000" (in Danish). retsinformation.dk. The Civil Affairs Agency. https://www.retsinformation.dk/Forms/R0710.aspx?id=11793. Retrieved 2009-05-22. 
  7. ^ "Censur" (in Danish). www.befrielsen1945.dk. http://www.befrielsen1945.dk/stikord/censur.html. Retrieved 2009-04-30. 
  8. ^ a b 40 år med farve-tv fra DR
  9. ^ "DR2 mister to frontløbere" (in Danish). Information. http://www.information.dk/145281. Retrieved 2009-04-30. 
  10. ^ "Danish switchover completed". Broadband TV News. 2009-11-01. http://www.broadbandtvnews.com/2009/11/01/danish-switch-over-completed/. Retrieved 2009-11-16. ;
  11. ^ [4]
  12. ^ a b "DR i årene fra 2000 og frem til i dag" (in Danish). DR. http://www.dr.dk/OmDR/Fakta+om+DR/Historie/20060504132635.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-02. 
  13. ^ "Radio/DAB" (in Danish). DR. http://www.dr.dk/dab/. Retrieved 2009-05-02. 
  14. ^ "DRs nye kanaler får navnene DR Ramasjang, DR K og DR HD". DR. 2009-03-19. http://www.dr.dk/OmDR/Nyt_fra_DR/Nyt_fra_DR/2009/03/19101312.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-26. 
  15. ^ [http://www.sdu.dk/~/media/Files/Om_SDU/Institutter/Statskundskab/Journalistik/Resume%20%20%20Kunsten%20at%20holde%20balancen.ashx "Kunsten at holde balancen: Dækningen af folketingsvalgkampe i tv-nyhederne på DR1 og TV2 1994-2007 by Erik Albæk, David Nicolas Hopmann & Claes de Vreese, University Press of Southern Denmark"]. http://www.sdu.dk/~/media/Files/Om_SDU/Institutter/Statskundskab/Journalistik/Resume%20%20%20Kunsten%20at%20holde%20balancen.ashx. Retrieved 2011-10-15. 
  16. ^ New edict forcing DR to convey Christianity
  17. ^ Danish Radio Embraces Christian Values, Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey
  18. ^ "New Radio and TV House". www.dr.dk. http://www.dr.dk/OmDR/About%20DR/20060622145149.htm. Retrieved 2009-09-10. 
  19. ^ "DR Byen - multimedia house for the Danish Broadcasting Corporation, Denmark". www.cowi.com. http://www.cowi.com/menu/projects/buildings/commercialbuildings/Pages/DRByenMultimediaHouseForTheDanishBroadcastingCorporationDenmark.aspx. Retrieved 2009-09-10. [dead link]
  20. ^ "DR Byen, Copenhagen, Denmark". www.e-architect.co.uk. http://www.e-architect.co.uk/copenhagen/dr_byen.htm. Retrieved 2009-09-10. 
  21. ^ "DR Koncerthuset". www.visitcopenhagen.com. http://www.visitcopenhagen.com/content/tourist/what_to_see_and_do/events/event_calendar/venue_info?VenueID=263. Retrieved 2009-09-10. 
  22. ^ "Copenhagen, Denmark". vandenheuvel-orgelbouw.nl. http://vandenheuvel-orgelbouw.nl/instruments/kopenhagen/Frameset_kopenhagen.htm. Retrieved 2009-09-10. 
  23. ^ "Magnificent. Expensive. Koncerthuset -". www.cphpost.dk. 2009-01-16. http://www.cphpost.dk/news/national/44462-showcase-concert-hall-finally-opens.html. Retrieved 2009-09-10. 
  24. ^ "DR-spareplan rammer sport og underholdning [DR savings plan hits sports and entertainment]" (in Danish). 24 April 2007. http://www.dr.dk/Nyheder/Indland/2007/04/24/073142.htm. Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
  25. ^ "DAB-lyttere får dansktoptoner døgnet rundt [DAB listeners get dansktop music around the clock]" (in Danish). 23 October 2007. http://www.dr.dk/OmDR/Nyt_fra_DR/Nyt_fra_DR/2007/10/23100400.htm. Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
  26. ^ "Economy, technology and ideology decide the future of Nordic public service companies". www.nordicom.gu.se. http://www.nordicom.gu.se/common/publ_pdf/80_min_NMP2-2007.pdf. Retrieved 2009-09-10. 
  27. ^ "The Licence". www.dr.dk. http://www.dr.dk/OmDR/About%20DR/20061123155622.htm. Retrieved 2009-09-10. 
  28. ^ "The act on broadcasting". www.dr.dk. http://www.dr.dk/OmDR/About%20DR/20060703142020.htm. Retrieved 2009-09-10. 
  29. ^ "Public service contract between DR and the Danish Minister for Culture for the period from 1 January 2007- 31 December 2010". www.dr.dk. http://www.dr.dk/NR/rdonlyres/44FFCA8C-B869-4EB9-AC70-E88D77EE8574/618897/Publicservicekontraktensembelkorrektion1.pdf. Retrieved 2009-09-10. 
  30. ^ "Licence". DR. http://www.dr.dk/OmDR/Licens/sprog/english.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-03. 
  31. ^ "Spørgsmål og svar vedrørende medielicensen" (in Danish). Ministry of Culture. http://www.kum.dk/sw53735.asp. Retrieved 2009-05-03. 
  32. ^ [5] DR - Priser, Retrieved on 2008-11-13
  33. ^ [6] Business.dk, Retrieved on 2008-11-13
  34. ^ [7] MSN Encarta Dictionary, Retrieved on 2008-11-13. Archived 2009-10-31.

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