(Northwest German Broadcasting
- NWDR) was the organization responsible for public broadcasting
in the German Länder
, Lower Saxony
and North Rhine-Westphalia
from 22 September 1945
until 31 December 1955
. Until 1954, it was also responsible for broadcasting in West Berlin
. NWDR was a founder member of the Consortium of public-law broadcasting institutions of the Federal Republic of Germany, the ARD
On 1 January 1956, NWDR was succeeded by Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) and Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR).
Broadcasting in the NWDR's region began in 1924 in Hamburg, when the Nordische Rundfunk Aktien-Gesellschaft
(NORAG) was created. The company began transmissions on 2 May
In 1933, the company became the Norddeutsche Rundfunk GmbH
and in 1934 it was incorporated, as the Reichssender Hamburg
, into the national broadcasting organization Großdeutscher Rundfunk
, controlled by Joseph Goebbels
's Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda
. A international broadcasting
radio program was aimed at the British Isles
. Its most famous broadcaster was "Lord Haw-Haw
" (William Joyce
, amongst others), broadcasting propaganda
intended to demoralise the British. The Reichssender Hamburg was the last short wave
station in Germany. The substation in Flensburg
, now Reichssender Flensburg
, broadcast the local cable radio
and had been on the air with the last OKW
news, the announcements of the headquarters of the German army.
Radio broadcasting was stopped at the end of World War II
and the occupation of Germany
In the British Zone of occupied Germany, the military authorities quickly established Radio Hamburg to provide information to the population of the area. On 4 May 1945, the programme started with "This is Radio Hamburg, a station of the Allied Military Government". The British Control Commission appointed Hugh Greene, on secondment from the BBC, to manage the creation of public service broadcasting in their Zone. On 22 September 1945, Radio Hamburg became Nordwestdeutscher Rundfunk, the single broadcasting organisation of the British Zone.
In 1948, the Control Commission transferred the NWDR to the control of the constituent Länder, where it became an "Anstalt des öffentlichen Rechts"
- a public corporation. The first German General Manager was Adolf Grimme, an SPD
At first, NWDR had just one radio station, later known as NWDR1. In 1950, it introduced a regional station for the north, NWDR Nord (later to become NDR2), and a regional station for the west, NWDR West (later WDR2).
That same year, NWDR became a founding member of the ARD. The NWDR also played a founding role in launching 625-line television in Germany, starting broadcasts on 25 December 1952.
NWDR had been given the responsibility for broadcasting in West Berlin, partially due to the main transmitter being located in the British Zone of the city. On 1 June 1954, Sender Freies Berlin (SFB) was established and took over public broadcasting in West Berlin.
In February 1955, the Länder of the NWDR's area decided to look again at the regulation of broadcasting. North Rhine-Westphalia decided to establish its own broadcaster, whilst Hamburg, Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein continued with the existing system. To this end, the NWDR was split into two broadcasters - Norddeutscher Rundfunk
(NDR) in the north and Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR) in North Rhine-Westphalia.
NDR continued to operate out of Hamburg, whilst the WDR was established in Cologne. The split was effective from 1 January 1956, although the station NWDR1 remained a joint operation with regional opt-outs.
The NWDR television service also remained a joint operation, from 1 April 1956 under the name Nord- und Westdeutscher Rundfunkverband (North and West German Broadcasting Federation - NWRV). The NDR and the WDR launched separate television services for their area in 1961.
In 1955, the NWDR had three radio stations:
- NWDR1 - a station for the whole NWDR area, broadcast over FM and mediumwave.
- NWDR2 (or NWDR North) - a regional station on FM for north Germany, broadcast from Hamburg.
- NWDR3 (or NWDR West) - a regional program on FM for North Rhine-Westphalia, broadcast from Cologne.
NWDR was also the most active participant in ARD Das Erste, the joint German public television service.