(favorite freetime activity)
It was not very long ago that Germany, Austria and Switzerland only offered television and radio through
public broadcasting. When national radio broadcasting first began in Germany in 1924, Germany decided
to place total control under the state, initially through the German Postal Service. The idea was that
radio should be a non-profit instrument of public education as well as entertainment. In the United States
the broadcasting services were organized from the beginning under private commercial organizations,
because business interests immediately saw the advertising potential of broadcasting media.
Until the late 1980s there were no commercial TV or Radio stations in Germany! They did have some
But the commercials were broadcast in blocks between shows; no shows on the public stations
are interrupted with commercials in Germany. So viewers sometimes have to sit through 90-Minute TV-show
with no break.
It was not until 1987 that German television viewers had the option of viewing anything other than
the three public TV channels (ARD, ZDF and the "Third Program" regional channels). Radio was similarly
limited to three stations, even in large German cities. Austria and Switzerland were even more limited.
Today, almost anything is available through the Internet.
Most TV viewers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland watch TV via cable or satellite.
They can also watch a variety of private (commercial) German-language channels, including ntv (news),
RTL and ProSieben (both of which carry a lot of American series in German), plus premium movie channels
and pay-per-view. English-language channels are also available: CNN International, BBC, Sky, and some
other sports and news channels. 3Sat is a cable/satellite service with a mix of programming from the
Austrian, Swiss, and German public TV networks.
Still, the major public stations in Germany, ARD and ZDF, are the most popular and have the most original and
informative programming, by far.
Similar to the BBC model in Britain, Germans pay a "television and radio tax"
to help finance their public radio and television stations (die Öffentlich-Rechtlichen).
Previously, one only paid a tax if one owned a television or radio. Moving to the era of computers,
streaming video and the internet, in 2013 the German TV fee system changed to a per-household charge,
regardless of the number of computers, radios or TV sets in an apartment, place of business or house.
Übung 6-2c. Was ist im Fernsehen? Beantworten Sie die englische Fragen auf englisch. Beantworten Sie die deutschen Fragen auf deutsch.
- Which television station has the most shows from the USA? Which ones did you / do you like to watch?
- How does television scheduling in Germany differ from scheduling in the USA?
- Identify several shows according to genre (comedy series, news, talk show, sports, musik, etc.).
- Um wieviel Uhr ist Deutschland sucht den Superstar?
- In welchem Programm ist Deutschland such den Superstar? (im Ersten, im ZDF, im RTL, im SAT.1 [eins], im Pro Sieben)
- Die Nachrichten im Ersten heißen Tagesschau. Wieviele Minuten ist die Tagesschau um 12.00 Uhr? um 17.50? um 20.00 Uhr?
- Um wieviel Uhr beginnt ZDF SPORTextra? Um wieviel Uhr endet ZDF SPORTextra?
- Wie heißt der Zeichentrickfilm aus den USA? Um wieviel Uhr beginnt der Film?