Deutsche Welle

Deutsche Welle
Deutsche Welle
Type International public broadcaster
Country Germany
Founded 3 May 1953
Headquarters Berlin/Bonn, Germany
Broadcast area National and international
Owner ARD
Launch date 3 May 1953
Official website
The Deutsche Welle building in Bonn

Deutsche Welle (German pronunciation: [ˈdɔʏtʃə ˈvɛlə], with a [v] sound) or DW, is Germany's international broadcaster. The service is aimed at the overseas market. It broadcasts news and information on shortwave, Internet and satellite radio on 98.7 DZFE in 30 languages (DW Radio). It has a satellite television service (DW-TV), that is available in four languages, and there is also an online news site. Deutsche Welle, which in English means "German Wave", is similar to international broadcasters such as the BBC World Service, Radio Canada International, Radio Free Europe and Radio France Internationale.

Deutsche Welle has broadcast regularly since 1953. Until 2003 it was based in Cologne, when it relocated to a new building, the "Schürmann-Bau", in Bonn's former government office area. The television broadcasts are produced in Berlin. Deutsche Welle's World Wide Web site is produced in both Berlin and Bonn.



Deutsche Welle was inaugurated on 3 May 1953, with an address by German President Theodor Heuss as its first shortwave broadcast. On 11 June 1953, the public broadcasters in the ARD signed an agreement to share responsibility for Deutsche Welle. At first, it was controlled by Nordwestdeutscher Rundfunk (NWDR). In 1955, when this split into the separate Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) and Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR) networks, WDR assumed responsibility for Deutsche Welle programming. In 1960, Deutsche Welle became an independent public body after a court ruled that broadcasting from Germany was part of the federal government's foreign-affairs function. On 7 June 1962, it joined the ARD as a national broadcasting station.

Expansion of supported languages

Some language services have been discontinued, both due to financial cuts and an allegedly decreasing demand. In 1998, Danish, Norwegian, Dutch and Italian radio services were discontinued. 1999 was the last year for language services in Japanese, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish, Czech and Hungarian.

German reunification

With German reunification in 1990, Radio Berlin International (RBI) of East Germany ceased to exist. Some of the staff and personnel of RBI joined Deutsche Welle, and it inherited some broadcasting apparatus, including the transmitting facilities at Nauen as well as RBI's frequencies.

DW-TV began as RIAS-TV, a television station launched by the West Berlin broadcaster RIAS (Radio in the American Sector / Rundfunk im Amerikanischen Sektor) in August 1988. The fall of the Berlin Wall the following year and German reunification in 1990 meant that RIAS-TV was to be closed down. On 1 April 1992, Deutsche Welle inherited the RIAS-TV broadcast facilities, using them to start a German and English language television channel broadcast via satellite, DW-TV, adding a short Spanish broadcast segment the following year. In 1995, it began 24-hour operation (12 hours German, 10 hours English, 2 hours Spanish). At that time, DW TV introduced a new news studio and a new logo.

Deutsche Welle took over some of the former independent radio broadcasting service Deutschlandfunk's foreign language programming in 1993, when Deutschlandfunk was absorbed into the new Deutschlandradio.

In addition to radio and television programming, DW sponsored some published material. For example, the South Asia Department published German Heritage: A Series Written for the South Asia Programme in 1967 and in 1984, published African Writers on the Air. Both publications were transcript of DW programming.

World Wide Web presence

In late 1994, Deutsche Welle was the first public broadcaster in Germany with a World Wide Web presence, which at the time was (, although for its first two years the site listed little more than contact addresses. This later evolved into the current 30-language Web site.

For its 10th anniversary celebration in 2004, DW-World provided a Klingon language version of its website under

The Internet news site offers daily exclusive coverage in seven core languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, German, Spanish, Portuguese for Brazil and Russian) as well as a mixture of news and information in 23 other languages corresponding to Deutsche Welle's radio programs. Persian became DW-WORLD.DE's eighth focus language in 2007.

German and European news are DW-WORLD.DE's central focus, but the site also offers background information regarding Germany and German language courses.

Recent events

In 2001, Deutsche Welle (in conjunction with ARD and ZDF) founded the German TV subscription TV channel for North American viewers. The project was shut down after four years due to low subscriber numbers. It has since been replaced by the DW-TV channel (also a subscription service).

Unlike most other international broadcasters, DW-TV doesn't charge terrestrial stations for use of its programming, and as a result its News Journal and other programs are rebroadcast on numerous public broadcasting stations in several countries, including United States, Australia, and New Zealand. In the Philippines, it is shown nationwide on Net-25 and GEM TV.

Deutsche Welle is still suffering from financial and personnel cuts. Its budget was decreased by about €75 million over five years and of the 2,200 employees it had in 1994, 1,200 remain. Further cuts are still expected.

In 2003, the German government passed a new "Deutsche Welle Law", which defined DW as a three-media organization—making the Deutsche Welle website an equal partner with DW-TV and DW-RADIO. The website is available in 30 languages, but focuses on German, English, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese for Brazil, Chinese and Arabic. Persian became the eighth focus language in 2007.

In March 2009, DW-TV is expanding its television services in Asia with two new channels namely DW-TV Asia and DW-TV Asia+. DW-TW Asia (DW-TV Asien in German) contains 16 hours of German programming and 8 hours in English while DW-TV Asia+ on the other hand contains 18 hours of English programs plus 6 hours in German programs.[1]

In August 2009, DW-TV's carriage in the United Kingdom on Sky channel 794 ceased, although the channel continues to be available via other European satellites receivable in the UK.[2]

Shortwave relay stations

Domestic shortwave relay stations

Transmitter sites

The Jülich radio transmitter site began operation in 1956, with eleven 100 kW Telefunken transmitters.

The Wertachtal site was authorized in 1972 and began service with four 500 kW transmitters. By 1989, there were 15 transmitters, four of which relayed the Voice of America.

The Nauen transmitter site was inherited from Radio Berlin International. RBI's Russian-made three 500 kW and one 100 kW transmitters were replaced by four Telefunken 500 kW transmitters and four rotatable antennas.

External shortwave relay stations

  • Trincomalee, Sri Lanka
    • 3 × 250 kW shortwave transmitters
    • 1 × 400 kW mediumwave transmitter
    • 20 antennas (to be verified)
  • Kigali, Rwanda: A relay station in Kigali, Rwanda, provides coverage for Africa, but the site was destroyed during genocide and civil war in 1994.
    • 4 × 250 kW shortwave transmitters
  • Sines, Portugal
    • 3 × 250 kW shortwave transmitters

A relay station in Malta had three SW and one 600 kW- MW transmitter and gave partial coverage of the Americas, Southern Asia, and the Far East.[3] It was established in the early 1970s in exchange for a grant of nearly 1 million GBP. The station closed in January 1996.

Deutsche Welle shares a transmitting station in the Caribbean with the BBC, and has a relay-exchange with the CBC that allows DW to use two 250 kW transmitters in Sackville.[4]

Relay stations leasing transmitter time to DW

DW leases time on the following relay stations

DW TV Europe
Deutsche Welle Television.svg
Launched August 1988
Owned by ARD
Picture format 16:9 (576i, SDTV)
Slogan "At the Heart of Europe" (English)
"Aus der Mitte Europas" (German)
Country Germany
Language German
Broadcast area Europe
Middle East
North Africa
Website [1]
Hot Bird 8 (Europe, Middle East, North Africa) 11604 H 27500-5/6
DW Platform Channel 228
Naxoo Channel 159 (Sweden)
UPC Poland Channel 814
Internet television
Livestation Watch (Free, 502 Kbit/s, German and English on same channel]
DW TV Africa
Language German
Broadcast area Africa
Middle East
Atlantic Bird 3 (Africa, Europe, Middle East) 3727 R 29950-7/8
DStv (South Africa) Channel 446
DW TV Arabic
Broadcast area Middle East
North Africa
AsiaTeleSat (Asia, Middle East, Australia
DW TV Asia
Language German
Broadcast area Asia
AsiaSat 3S (Asia-Pacific) 3760 H 26000-7/8
DishHD (Taiwan) Channel 6655
HKBN bbTV (Hong Kong) Channel 751
Cablelink (Philippines) Channel 68
SkyCable (Philippines) Channel 72
Global Destiny Cable (Philippines) Channel 87
StarHub TV (Singapore) Channel 153
mio TV (Singapore) Channel 57
UniFi (Malaysia) Channel 121
Hypp.TV (Malaysia) Channel 2005
CHT MOD (Taiwan) Channel 114
DW TV Asia+
Language English
Broadcast area Asia
AsiaSat 3S (Asia-Pacific) 4071 H 14240-3/4
Insat 4B (India) 11490 V 27500-3/4
Agila 2 (Southeast Asia) 12544 V 21429-5/6
Koreasat 5 (Korea & Southeast Asia) 12470 V 25600-5/6
Dream Satellite TV (Philippines) Channel 32
Royal Cable (Philippines) Channel 56
Parasat Cable TV (Philippines) Channel 202
CHT MOD (Taiwan) Channel 120
DW TV Latin America
Slogan "Desde el Corazón de Europa" (Spanish)
Language English
Broadcast area Americas
Intelsat 9 (America) 3840 H 27690-7/8
Telefónica TV Digital (Brazil) Channel 450
Nossa TV (Brazil) Channel
Sky Brasil (Brazil) Channel 110
Via Embratel (Brazil) Channel 134
GVT (Brazil) Channel 146
Telefónica TV Digital (Chile, Colombia) Channel 438
SKY Mexico (Mexico) Channel 279
DirecTV Latin America Channel 770
Cable Mágico Satelital (South America) Channel 438
DW TV North America
Language English
Broadcast area North America
AMC 1 (North America) 3740 V 29270-7/8
Bell TV (Canada) Channel 709
DISH Network (USA) Channel 725
Rogers Cable (Canada) Channel 195
Shaw Cable (Canada) Channel 194
Comcast (USA) Channel 315
(San Francisco Bay Area)
Time Warner (USA) Channel 553
TELUS TV (Canada) Channel 550
FiOS TV (USA) Channel 1787

Directors General

  • 12 October 1960 – 29 February 1968: Hans Otto Wesemann
  • 1 March 1968 – 29 February 1980: Walter Steigner
  • 1 March 1980 – 8 December 1980: Conrad Ahlers
  • 19 December 1980 – 30 June 1981: Heinz Fellhauer (interim)
  • 1 July 1981 – 30 June 1987: Klaus Schütz
  • 1 July 1987 – 30 June 1989: Heinz Fellhauer
  • 1 July 1989 – 31 March 2001: Dieter Weirich
  • 1 April 2001 – 30 September 2001: Reinhard Hartstein (interim as deputy intendant)
  • 1 October 2001 – present: Erik Bettermann

Deutsche Welle services

  • DW Radio: shortwave, cable TV, satellite, and digital radio (DRM) broadcasting in 29 languages, with a 24-hour service in German and English
  • DW-TV: satellite television broadcasting mainly in German, English, Arabic and Spanish. French and Italian will be coming soon in 2009. Portuguese and Chinese will be aired on 2010.
  • DW-WORLD.DE: 30-language website


Deutsche Welle manages its own international training institute. A total of twenty trainees are trained each year to become future editors. Out of this ten trainees are chosen from Germany for the German programs; and the other ten from all over the world for ten different foreign language programs. The training lasts for a period of eighteen months. During this period, the trainees are trained for all the three areas of Deutsche Welle: Radio, TV and Online. In 2009 DW-Academy started Masters Program in collaboration with the University of Bonn. 25 students from all over the world can enroll themselves for the two year Masters Program. The DW-Academy is also active all over the world. It manages various programs in collaboration with international universities, for example, the IGNOU in India. The academy also holds a number of train the trainer programs.


  • DW-TV: At the Heart of Europe. (English)
  • DW-TV: Aus der Mitte Europas. (German)
  • DW-TV: Desde el Corazón de Europa. (Spanish)

DW-TV programmes


  • Global 3000 (Globalization Program)
  • Made In Germany (German Business Magazine)

Cars and sports

  • Bundesliga Kick Off! (The Soccer Magazine)
  • Drive It! (The Motor Magazine)
  • Kick off! Report (German version of Bundesliga Kick Off!)
  • Motor Mobil (Germany Auto Magazine)


  • Arts.21 (The Cultural Magazine)
  • Kultur.21 (German version of Arts.21)
  • Kino (The German Film Magazine/Das Deutsches Film Magazin)
  • Ideas for a Cooler World,[5][6] for Climate change mitigation

Documentaries and features

  • Faith Matters (The Church Program)
  • In Focus (Documentaries and Reports)
  • Im Focus (German version of In Focus)
  • Germany 60 Years (60 Years of Germany)
  • 60 x Deutschland (Germany version of Germany 60 Years)

Lifestyle and entertainment

  • Faith Matters (Religion)
  • Hin & Weg (German Travel Magazine, German version of Discover Germany)
  • Discover Germany (The TV Travel Guide)
  • Euromaxx (Lifestyle Europe/Leben und Kultur in Europa)
  • Germany Today (Window on Germany)
  • Deutschland Heute (German version of Germany Today)
  • In Good Shape (The Health Show)
  • popXport (The German Music Magazine)
  • Talking Germany (The German Way of Life)
  • Typisch Deutsch (Living in Germany)

News and politics

  • European Journal (The Magazine From Brussels)
  • Journal News (The News Program)
  • People & Politics (The Political Magazine)

Talk show

  • Quadriga (The International Talk Show)


  • Tomorrow Today (Science Journal)
  • Projekt Zukunft (German Science Magazine)

DW-TV channels

DW-TV operates seven channels:

  • DW-TV Europe: Broadcast in Europe (12 hours in German, 12 hours in English weekdays[7]).
  • DW-TV Arabia: Broadcast in the Middle East and North Africa (12 hours in English, 12 hours in Arabic or Arabic subtitles weekdays[7]).
  • DW-TV Latinoamerica: Broadcast in Latin America (14 hours in German, 8 hours in English, 2 hours in Spanish weekdays[7]).
  • DW-TV North America: Broadcast in the United States and Canada (14 hours in German, 10 hours in English weekdays[7]).
  • DW-TV Asien: Broadcast in Asia (16 hours in German, 8 hours in English weekdays[7]).
  • DW-TV Asia+: Broadcast in Asia (18 hours in English, 6 hours in German weekdays[7]).
  • DW-TV Africa: Broadcast in Africa (Identical to DW-TV Europe schedule[7]).

See also

Notes and references

  • McPhail, Thomas L. Global Communication: Theories, Stakeholders, and Trends. 2006, Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 1405134275.
  • Wallis, Roger, and Stanley J. Baran. The Known World of Broadcast News: International News and the Electronic Media. 1990, Routledge. ISBN 0415036046.

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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