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100 Years Radio in Hamburg

100 Years Radio in Hamburg

The Nordische Rundfunk Aktiengesellschaft (Norag AG) launched its program in May 1924. This made Hamburg the 5th German metropolis to have a radio station. Media historian Dr. Hans-Ulrich Wagner spoke to NDR on the occasion of this anniversary.

Founded by grain and agricultural machinery dealers, Norag set up the technical infrastructure within a few months and provided a regular program of information and entertainment. In those days, this was not something to be taken for granted, Hans-Ulrich Wagner told the NDR. "Economically, it was a very tense time. In October 1923, there was hyperinflation. Investing in a new medium in such uncertain times, without knowing how successful it would be, was a risk."
Through clever advertising, Norag succeeded in drawing a lot of attention to the new media technology. Around 800 people with private receivers listened to the very first broadcast. The reports were particularly popular. "For the journalists, it was great to be able to capture the world with microphones and for the listeners, it was great to have the world delivered to their living rooms," says Hans-Ulrich Wagner.

In 1933, Norag, like all other media, fell under the control of the National Socialists and was misused for propaganda purposes. After the Second World War, the British occupying forces took over programming sovereignty and then helped to establish a public broadcaster - the Nordwestdeutscher Rundfunk [Northwest German Broadcasting Corporation], from which the NDR emerged in the mid-1950s.
You can watch the entire interview with Hans-Ulrich Wagner in the ARD media library
(Hamburg, 10 May 2024)


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