Fritz Raff: The most French of the German broadcasting stations

Saarland lies between Germany and France – for a long time the bone of contention and now the connecting link between both EU core states. Due to Saarland’s geographic location and historical development, the (Saar­­län­­di­­sche Rundfunk) SR Saarland radio broadcasting station has taken on a special position as mediator between Germany and France in the Federal Republic of Germany as well as also in the german TV-channel ARD. The SR rightly counts as the most French of the German television channels and as a leading force for the French-Ger­­man friendship, which grew out of the times of Adenauer and de Gaulle. For decades, the SR has recognized itself as an essential bridge bet­­ween the two countries.

As important as the large, international perspective is, the cooperation with France begins in the day-to-day neighbourhood.
The SR lives this principle mainly through the training of political, economic and community events and developments across the border, but also through the fact that French music is presented in the programmes, French attitude is made transparent, differences and similarities are revealed – through the journalistic view across the border and, not to last, also through the promotion of the considerate and friendly exchange of opinions of the broadcasting creators of the SaarLorLux region.


The central element of the promotion of good neighbourship is the organization of the German-French Journalists Prize, which is awarded each year in Paris or Berlin under the patronage of the foreign ministers. Since 1983, this re­­nowned prize awards radio, television and on­­line print contributions from both countries. In the meanwhile, many potent part­­­­ners from both countries have joined forces – lately, for Saarland’s neighbouring Department de la Moselle.

The purpose of the prize is to contribute towards a medially better and differentiated mutual understanding be­­tween Germany and France. Be­­sides this, the intendant of the SR governs the chair­­manship of the German-French Ra­­dio Commission.
This brings together the programme directors of the German and French radio programmes. In addition to this, the SR also takes care of the business management as well as all the German activities surrounding the commission. The commission is concerned with the programme and technical developments. Yet the mem­­­­bers are also in equal agreement of a joint coordination with respect to the EU. Since the early 50s, the SR also naturally reports on the Grande Boucle; with its entry into the ARD, it took over the overall control within the station association for this event. In 1960, television reporting also came along. Since 1998, the stages are re­g­­ularly broadcast live in the ARD. The broadcast is imbedded in reports to the theme. Also the large online ARD presence for the Tour de France comes from Saar­­brücken.


Added to this, are lively cooperations, such as for example the media partner­­ship between SR and Les Eurockéennes de Belfort. Since 2005, the SR has been the exclusive German media partner of this annual open-air rock festival in France. This enormous festival attracts 100,000 visitors in three days to the Franche-Comté and presents 70 popular bands and shows from the electronic and alternative pop scenes.
The SR youth craze 103.7 UnserDing organizes the band competition Re­­péra­­ges Eurock­éennes alternatively with the radiostation Atlantic in Freiburg for the entire region, in which many German bands participate. The winner performs at the festival together with all the big stars.

Yet the view over France does not only play a large role at grand events such as the Tour de France or the Euro­­ckéennes. The good neighbourly relationship is lived in day-to-day life in Saarland and above all reflects itself in the numerous contributions to the German-French topics in current stations of SR television, in Saartext, on SR-­­Online and furthermore in all of the SR radio stations. In this way, for example, programmes are broadcast on SR 2 KulturRadio like Ici et là and En Direct that dedicate themselves to French topics at all times.

The latest example of the French competence of SR: antenne saar, our French-­­German information programme on medium wave (MW 1179) and over DAB (Block 8B). In cooperation with Radio France In­­tern­a­­ti­­onale, SWR cont.ra and Phoenix, a complete French-German programme is of­­fered there.
The SR programme SaarLorLüx offers a view to think outside the own box and brings viewers closer to the day-to-day life of their neighbours. In 2006, the new ma­­­gazine across the borders, which con­­cerns itself with the main region Saar-Lor-Lux-Wallonien-Westpfalz, started its history. As usual, this large region is an abstract and distant picture for the average citizen. For this reason, interviewing people from all walks of life in the SaarLorLüx, stands in the forefront here; namely, those whose daily life takes place on both sides of the border.


For years, 103.7 UnserDing has supported a partnership with the French public-rights youth station Le Mouv’. Employee exchanges take place here regularly. Likewise, youth topics are introduced, which inform partners of the newest trends in the corresponding country.

On the internet, SR-Online depicts service contributions in the section Leben in Europa – So klappt’s auch beim Nach­­­­barn that portraits French and German boarder crosser in their reality.

Topics such as for example social in­­surance, car registration or the recognition of qualifications play a significant role here.
Since SAARTEXT, the SR video text, was introduced, French lottery num­­bers and ratings, among other things, are depicted there. SR 3 Saar­­land­­welle furthermore pre­­sents the Bal populaire at Saarbrücken Castle on the occasion of the French national holiday, which is organized by the French general-consulate of Saarbrücken state.

The absolute highlight – Bistrot Musique! Bistrot Musique is a unique to Germany, a first-time row of concerts at the Saar­­brü­­cken Halberg, which has enjoyed continuously growing success and rising popularity since 1996. Popular artists and young talent of the Frankophone music are presented in the series for the first time in Germany.

And not to forget, SR is a member of ARTE; its intendant is one of the three ARD representatives within the ARTE general meeting of members. SR regular­­ly produces contributions for the programme of the European cultural broad­­casting station.

The cooperation, which is marked by the traditional working crossing of borders, and French-German friendship, are also in times of a poor economy, constantly being further developed, because it is natural for SR to be the most French of the German broadcasting stations.

Raff18X13-07Fritz Raff has been the director-general of the Saarländischer Rundfunk since 1996. Prior to this, he worked as the administrative director of the broadcasting station as well as manager of the Süd­­westdeutscher Journalisten-Verband SWJV in Stuttgart. Between 1985 and 1990, the administrative head and journalist, born in Ludwigsburg in 1948, acted as mayor of the city of Mos­­bach in Baden-Württemberg.