SRG SSR idée suisse

SRG SSR idée suisse

Infobox Network
network_name = SRG SSR idée suisse
country = Switzerland
network_type = Broadcast radio, television and online
available = National International
owner =
key_people = nowrap|Jean-Bernard Münch, President Claudio Generali, Vice-President Armin Walpen, Director-General
launch_date = 1931
founder =
motto =
past_names =
website =

SRG SSR idée suisse is the Swiss public broadcasting organisation, founded in 1931. SRG SSR is a non-profit organisation, funded mainly through radio and television licence fees (70%) and making the remaining income from advertising and sponsorship.

Due to Switzerland's system of direct democracy and the country's four official languages (German, French, Italian and Romansh), the Swiss public service broadcasting has a rather complicated organisation. The actual holders of the broadcast licenses that enable SRG SSR to operate are four regional associations: German "SRG idée suisse Deutschschweiz" (SRG.D), French "SSR idée suisse Romande" (RTSR), Italian "Società cooperativa per la radiotelevisione nella Svizzera italiana" (CORSI), and Romansh "Cuminanza rumantscha radio e televisiun" (CRR). These four associations, which to a large part are run by the listeners and viewers in each region, run SRG SSR as a joint central production and broadcasting company.


"SRG SSR idée suisse" is the business name of the association, while its official name is "Schweizerische Radio- und Fernsehgesellschaft" (SRG) in German, "Société suisse de radiodiffusion et télévision" (SSR) in French, "Società svizzera di radiotelevisione" (SSR) in Italian, and "Societad svizra da radio e televisiun" (SSR) in Romansh. In English the company is generally known as the "Swiss Broadcasting Corporation". The name "SRG SSR idée suisse" was adopted in 1999. "idée suisse" (French: "Swiss idea") refers to the public service mission of the organisation.


Europe's third public radio station started broadcasting from Lausanne in 1922, from the start based on a license fee system. 980 licenses were bought in 1923. Within a few years radio cooperatives working along the same principles had started throughout the country. In 1930 it was decided that radio was an important public service that should not be allowed to become a money maker for private interests, and that it needed to be structured on a federal basis.

In 1931 SRG/SSR was founded (see original names above), as a co-ordination organisation for the regional broadcast associations, and received the only license to broadcast from the Federal Council. The same year it was agreed that all news reports in the new medium had to be done by the Swiss news agency SDA, a decision that wasn't changed until 1971.

The first national transmitters were started in 1931 (Radio Sottens for French and Radio Beromünster for German) and 1933 (Radio Monte Ceneri for Italian). In 1938 Romansh is recognised as the country's fourth national language, and the Zurich studios start broadcasting Romansh programming in between the German.

During the Second World War, SRG/SSR filled an important function as a neutral, unbiased supplier of news, reaching far outside Switzerland's borders through shortwave transmissions. Radio Beromünster became known as the only free German-language radio station in Europe.

In 1950 SRG/SSR was one of 23 founding broadcasting organisations of the European Broadcasting Union.

In 1953 television test transmissions started in Zurich, one hour per evening, five days a week, immediately attracting 920 early TV license buyers.

In 1958 regular TV transmissions started in German (from Zurich) and French (from Geneva). For the Italian-speaking region, the programmes were re-transmitted with Italian subtitles. 50,000 TV licenses are bought the first year.

In 1960 the company was renamed "Schweizerische Radio- und Fernsehgesellschaft" (and the equivalent names in the other languages - see above) to reflect the addition of television services.

In 1964 the Federal Council allowed television advertising, as a means of keeping the license fees down.

In 1966 the three main languages were given a second radio channel, in order to counter the effects of the new commercial broadcasters abroad, whose strong signals were reaching the Swiss population. The same year a dedicated Romansh broadcasting unit in Chur was created, utilising broadcast time in the new German second channel.

In 1968 colour television was introduced, and the number of license payers passed one million.

In 1978 the radio channels started stereo transmissions.

In 1983 the Federal Council relaxed the Swiss media legislation to permit local private and commercial radio channels. SRG/SSR countered this threat by launching its third set of channels, aimed at a younger audience.

In 1991 SRG-SSR underwent wide-ranging restructuring. The enterprise organised itself as a private industry association, structured as a holding company under Swiss company law. The current name, SRG SSR idée suisse, was introduced.

In 1992 Radio Rumantsch was separated from the German radio broadcaster, that had housed the Romansh broadcasting activities since 1938, and in 1994 the Romansh TV activities were moved over as well, so the Romansh company renamed itself Radio e Televisiun Rumantscha.


SRG SSR is located in Berne. It is governed by a Board of Directors, which in turn is appointed by a central council, consisting of representatives from the four parent organisations.

The broadcasting is handled by seven business units:
* Schweizer Radio DRS (handles German radio)
* SF - Schweizer Fernsehen (handles German television)
* RSR - Radio Suisse Romande (handles French radio)
* TSR - Télévision Suisse Romande (handles French television)
* RTSI - Radiotelevisione svizzera di lingua italiana (handles Italian radio and television)
* RTR - Radio e Televisiun Rumantscha (handles Romansh radio and television)
* SRI - Swissinfo/Swiss Radio International (handles foreign service and web page creation)

In addition, there are six subsidiary companies which produce TV programmes, teletext pages, book TV commercials and do viewer market research.

Terrestrially, the different language channels are only broadcast in their own regions, but they are all available in every cable network in the country, as well as through DTH satellite. And as 97% of the Swiss households have access to either cable or DTH, this means that all the radio and TV channels are available to most listeners and viewers, wherever they live in Switzerland.

German language broadcasting


"Schweizer Radio DRS" has its offices in Zürich and Basel, and was in early 2006 broadcasting five radio channels:
*"DRS 1" started in 1931. News, entertainment, mixed music
*"DRS 2" started in 1966. Cultural, high-brow and classical music
*"DRS 3" started in 1983. International pop and rock music
*"DRS 4 News" started in 2007. Only-news station.
*"DRS Musikwälle" started in the 1980s. Mainly German easy-listening "Schlagermusik"
*"Virus", youth-oriented internet music channel, started in 1999


"Schweizer Fernsehen" (SF) started in 1958 and was named "SF DRS" (abbreviation of: Schweizer Fernsehen der deutschen und rätoromanischen Schweiz, "Swiss television of German and Romansh Switzerland") until 2005. Based in Berne and Zurich. Today it broadcasts three TV channels:
*"SF 1" started in 1958
*"SF zwei" started in 1997
*"SF info" started in 2001. A dedicated repeat channel.

French language broadcasting


"Radio Suisse Romande" (RSR) is based in Lausanne and was in early 2006 broadcasting four radio channels:
*"La Première" started in 1931 (but not under that name, of course)
*"Espace 2" started in 1966
*"Couleur 3" started in 1983
*"Option Musique" started in 1994


"Télévision Suisse Romande" (TSR) is based in Geneva and as of 2006 broadcasts two TV channels:
*"TSR 1" started in 1954
*"TSR 2" started in 1997

Italian language broadcasting

"Radiotelevisione Svizzera di lingua Italiana" (RTSI) is based in Lugano and was in early 2006 broadcasting three radio channels and two TV channels. It is quite popular in neighboring northern Italy.


*"Rete Uno" started in 1933
*"Rete Duo" started in 1966
*"Rete Tre" started in 1988


*"TSI 1" started in 1961
*"TSI 2" started in 1997

Romansh language broadcasting

"Radio e Televisiun Rumantscha" (RTR) is mainly a radio broadcaster, with one channel, based in Chur, Graubünden. There is currently no separate Romansh TV channel, due to the small number of Romansh speakers, but TVR, the TV department within RTR, produces a daily news programme in Romansh, which is broadcast by SF 1 with German subtitles for its regular viewers and then repeated by SF info and TSI 2. They also do a weekly children's programme and a weekly cultural programme, which are both broadcast by SF1 on Sundays. The cultural programme is then repeated by TSR 2, TSI 2 and TSI 1 during the week.


*"Radio Rumantsch" started in 1966


*"TVR" started in 1975

RI - Swissinfo/Swiss Radio International

SRI originally only stood for "Swiss Radio International", which was the company's international broadcasting arm, aimed at ex-pats and people interested in Switzerland. In October 2004 SRI ceased broadcasting on short-wave and satellite, and instead concentrated its efforts on its "Swissinfo" [ 'multimedia internet platform'] , which is now taking most of the SRI resources. The Swissinfo website is produced in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Chinese & Japanese.

However, SRI is still an international broadcaster, as "Swiss Satellite Radio" is run under the SRI umbrella. "Swiss Satellite Radio", based in Berne, started in the 1980's and consists of three trilingual radio channels for different types of music, available on satellite and the internet, as well as terrestrially in Switzerland:
* [ Radio Swiss Pop]
* [ Radio Swiss Classic]
* [ Radio Swiss Jazz]



* "World Radio Switzerland" (WRS, formerly World Radio Geneva or WRG) is a (and the only) English-language radio station in Switzerland, broadcasting by the Radio Suisse Romande from the city of Geneva.


* "HD suisse" is the first HDTV channel of SRG SSR idée suisse. Programming comes from the four language networks of SRG SSR.

External links

* [ SRG SSR idée suisse: Swiss Broadcasting Corporation] - official site (de, fr, it, rm, en)
* [ Schweizer Radio DRS] - the German radio broadcaster
* [ SF Schweizer Fernsehen] - the German TV broadcaster
* [ Radio Suisse Romande RSR] - the French radio broadcaster
* [ Télévision Suisse Romande TSR] - the French TV broadcaster
* [ Radiotelevisione svizzera di lingua italiana RTSI] - the Italian broadcaster
* [ Radio e Televisiun Rumantscha RTR] - the Romansh broadcaster
* [ swissinfo - Swiss news and information platform about Switzerland, business, culture, sport, weather] - the Swissinfo website
* [ The VivaSwissinfo website] by disgruntled Swissinfo employees
* [ SRG idée suisse Deutschschweiz] - the German parent organisation
* [ SSR idée suisse Romande] - the French parent organisation
* [ CORSI] - the Italian parent organisation
* [ CRR] - the Romansh parent organisation
* [ radio suisse]

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