A Look at the Media in Austria

Austria, unlike the United States, has a strong public broadcasting organization: the Österreichischer Rundfunk (ORF). Consisting of four channels, it takes up around 32.9% of the market in Austria. This large market share percentage is partly due to the fact Austria only allowed private broadcasting in 2003. The ORF has one regional studio in each state so our Understanding Austria class was able to take a tour of the one in Salzburg.

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The ORF regional studio in Salzburg.

Though a full studio, there is only one television show produced here, the Salzburg Heute (Salzburg Today). This has led many Austrians to see how the ORF operates as being inefficient.

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A screen that would usually stand behind the anchor during Salzburg Heute.

The ORF is currently in the middle of modernizing; we were lucky to see the old control panel and learn how it worked. A fun fact we learned was why there were a number of coins on the panel; in the past, you would have to pay to add special effects.

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The control panel for Salzburg Heute.

In order to be more integrated with the community, the ORF has a stage that can be rented for community events along with a recording studio anyone can use. If traditional Austrian artists wish to use it and can not afford the usual fees, the ORF will help subsidize them. This is also where the election debates are held.

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A portion of the ORF stage.

Finally, the ORF has a number of radio stations. The announcers must time everything out to fit with certain transmissions from Vienna.

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A radio announcer planning out the next segment.
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2 thoughts on “A Look at the Media in Austria

  1. I found this quite interesting, especially as Tyler and I were involved in the very early stages of the development of a local community radio station here in Duvall – Valley 103.1 (http://www.valley1031.org). The engineering staff at Valley 103.1 would drool over ORF’s old control panel, I’m sure. It’s nice that the community is able to use the ORF stage for private events. In Seattle there is a station that goes by the call letters KEXP-FM. They recently built a new studio complex at Seattle Center, and one of the nicest features for the public is that they included a huge community room with comfy sofas, a coffee bar, and a stage where they often host live-broadcast concerts. It’s an inviting place to hang out when I have an hour between the ballet and a play at Seattle Center (especially if it’s raining). I’m surprised to learn that Austria only began allowing private broadcasting in 2003. That’s very different from what we’re used to. Thanks for the behind-the-scenes peek at ORF.

    Liked by 1 person

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