|Type||Broadcast radio, television and online|
|Headquarters||Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany|
Westdeutscher Rundfunk Köln (West German Broadcasting Cologne; WDR, pronounced [veːdeːˈʔɛʁ] (listen)) is a German public-broadcasting institution based in the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia with its main office in Cologne. WDR is a constituent member of the consortium of German public-broadcasting institutions, ARD. As well as contributing to the output of the national television channel Das Erste, WDR produces the regional television service WDR Fernsehen (formerly known as WDF and West3) and six regional radio networks.
The Westdeutsche Funkstunde AG (WEFAG) was established on 15 September 1924.
There was a substantial purge of left wing staff following the Nazi seizure of power in 1933. This included Ernst Hardt, Hans Stein and Walter Stern.
WDR was created in 1955, when Nordwestdeutscher Rundfunk (NWDR) was split into Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) – covering Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein, and Hamburg – and Westdeutscher Rundfunk, responsible for North Rhine-Westphalia. WDR began broadcasting on two radio networks (one produced jointly with NDR) on 1 January 1956. WDR constitutes the most prominent example of regional broadcasting in Germany.
WDR is in part funded by the limited sale of on-air commercial advertising time; however, its principal source of income is the revenue derived from viewer and listener licence fees. As of 2023 the monthly fee due from each household for radio and television reception was €18.36. These fees are collected not directly by WDR but by a joint agency of ARD (and its member institutions), ZDF, and Deutschlandradio.
WDR began its regional television service, Westdeutsches Fernsehen (WDF), on 17 December 1965. On 27 August 1967, when West Germany broadcast its first color TV program, WDF used a live broadcast originating from a Bosch outside broadcast van to start broadcasting in color. In 1988, the channel was renamed West 3; since 1994, it has been known as WDR Fernsehen.
While the programmes are mainly run from their Cologne headquarters, they also have a number of sub-regional studios contributing to a regular broadcast called Lokalzeit with the opt-outs "aus Aachen" (Aachen), "OWL" (Bielefeld), "aus Bonn" (Bonn), "aus Dortmund" (Dortmund), "aus Düsseldorf" (Düsseldorf), "aus Duisburg" (Duisburg), "Ruhr" (Essen), "aus Köln" (Cologne and Bonn), "Münsterland" (Münster), "Südwestfalen" (Siegen) and "Bergisches Land" (Wuppertal) for each respective region. WDR has its current affairs and regional politics studios in Düsseldorf.
It has served as the production entity for shows on Das Erste, such as Verbotene Liebe ('Forbidden Love'), which, over the years, has introduced many young actors to the German audience, such as Andreas Stenschke, Jo Weil, Luca Zamperoni and Kay Böger. The Sportschau is produced for ARD in Cologne, and WDR contributes to ARD Digital, 3sat and arte.
A long-running talk show on wheels was Hallo Ü-Wagen, running from 1974 to 2010, begun by Carmen Thomas. WDR's main radio channels are available on FM and digital (DAB+), as well as via cable and satellite: