Country Listing

Austria Table of Contents


Radio and Television

As of late 1993, radio and television programming in Austria was provided exclusively by Austrian Radio and Television (Österreichischer Rundfunk--ORF). This state monopoly is expected to end in the mid-1990s because such monopolies are no longer seen by many European jurists as compatible with the free exchange of information and ideas. ORF was formed as a public corporation in 1945 and reorganized in 1967 for greater political and financial independence. In 1974 a constitutional law was passed giving ORF complete financial autonomy from the government and guaranteeing it freedom from attempts by the government or any state body to exert influence on programming. Additional laws passed in that year required ORF to present objective reporting, a variety of opinions, and balanced programming.

As of 1993, ORF had two television channels and three radio channels. FS 1 and FS 2, the two television channels, feature a wide variety of programs, including news, entertainment, education, and music. In 1988 the nine regional ORF studios began broadcasting local programs. Various groups attempted to make the case for allowing independent television in Austria, but, as of 1993, they had not persuaded the government to lift the monopoly enjoyed by ORF. During the 1980s, cable television became available, and by 1990 roughly 15 percent of Austrian homes received cable programming. One of the major cable programs, 3 Sat, is a joint venture of ORF, the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, and one of Germany's television networks.

ORF has four radio channels. The first channel, Österreich 1, features culturally oriented programs devoted to music, literature, science, and news. The second channel, Österreich Regional, carries programming produced by the nine regional ORF studios, with an emphasis on popular entertainment and local events. Österreich 3 is an entertainment channel, which also carries hourly news broadcasts. The fourth network, Blue Danube Radio, is also an entertainment channel but differs in that it broadcasts mainly in English. Its news programs are in German, English, and French.

Data as of December 1993