Phoenix (German TV station)

Phoenix (German TV station)

Phoenix is a publicly-funded television station in Germany which is jointly held by the public broadcasting organizations ARD and ZDF. Its programming consists of documentaries, news broadcasts, special events coverage, and discussion programmes. Phoenix's headquarters are in the former West German capital, Bonn. Its directors are Markus Schächter (from ZDF) and Fritz Pleitgen (from ARD).


As a special service, there is a deaf-subtitled version of the Tagesschau, ARD's flagship news broadcast, and the premier news broadcast of ZDF, Heute-Journal, is available in German sign language.

The flagship news broadcast of Phoenix is the program "Der Tag" (The Day), which is aired from 11pm to 12 midnight. Because of this length, extended reports and interviews are guaranteed.On the show "Vor Ort" (On Scene), live coverages of political events, public lectures of important personalities, press conferences and assemblies of the Bundestag and Bundesrat are shown.

In daily talk shows (like "Phoenix Runde - Phoenix Roundtable with Gaby Dietzen or Anke Plättner, "Unter den Linden" with Christoff Minhoff or Hartmann von der Tann), most current topics are discussed with experts or politicians.

As a benchmark in coverage a "Meet the Press"-like show, "Internationaler Frühschoppen" is broadcast Sunday at 12 noon when the ARD's "Presseclub" is not broadcast.

The series "Historische Debatten" (Historical Debates) and "Historische Ereignisse" (Historical Events) of the journalist Helmut Illert show important topics of the development of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Phoenix is comparable to the American channel C-SPAN or BBC Parliament, because it also covers the government.


The creation of Phoenix is credited to the former chancellor, Helmut Kohl, because he wanted a "European Parliamentary Channel". But because of criticism of public channels (ARD and ZDF), the idea was thrown away because of the obvious suspicion that political pressure of Kohl could lead to a "Helmut-Kohl-Channel".

The real idea for "Phoenix - Der Ereignis- und Dokumentationskanal" came from the will of viewers of ARD and ZDF who wanted a "media-political correction of faults in the system of information transfer". That gave the chance to form the "Parliamentary Channel" with the underlying concept to go up plausible and the satisfy the consumers's demand.

From the side of the private channels (RTL and Sat. 1) came criticism because during that time those channels formed their own news channels (n-tv of RTL and N24 of Sat1).

*German concept of television
** In Germany, publicly-funded television are enabled to broadcast news onto a certain extend until it goes not further than their basic coverage rights (Grundversorgungs-Verpflichtung)

Today the opinion has turned as people say the basic supply coverage with information is credited to Phoenix alone - as the supply coverage of the private channels is mainly entertainment shows.

At first, the headquarters of Phoenix were provisionally situated in Cologne. However in 2000, the headquarters were finally relocated into the former capital broadcasting bureau in Bonn.

In August of 2006, Phoenix had the highest ratings of its history, by 1,0 %. With about 4.5 million viewers, it had more viewers than the news channels of the private channels, N-TV and N24 respectively. [ [ Presseportal: PHOENIX mit 1 Prozent Marktanteil vor N24 und n-tv] ]

Alignment of Programming

The self-defined target of Phoenix is it to create "balance of the shortening of information, which are seen in news and magazines on television". The programming should be a "truthful illustration of the reality in correspondence with the constitutional order of the publicly-funded broadcast and television stations in Germany". The target is fulfilled with current reportages and documentaries of the vast archive of ARD and ZDF, as well as international productions of the Discovery Channel and the BBC, completely translated.

Papal Election of 2005

Stephan Kulle, a current-affairs correspondent of Phoenix created a "cornerstone hour of television, as he reported out of secure sources that the next pope will be Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, renamed to Pope Benedict XVI as the first television station in Germany.

Press Comments

* The following news bulletin came from the Associated Press Germany.
**Sender Phoenix meldet Wahl Ratzingers als erster
**"Bonn (AP) Als erster deutscher Fernsehsender hat der Ereignis- und Dokumentationskanal Phoenix am frühen Dienstagabend die Nachricht von der Wahl Joseph Ratzingers zum neuen Papst gemeldet. Noch kurz vor der offiziellen Bekanntgabe durch den Vatikan verbreitete der öffentlich-rechtliche Sender diese Information. Damit habe Phoenix seine wochenlange umfassende Berichterstattung aus Rom fortgesetzt, erklärte der Sender, der sich im Abendprogramm weiter intensiv mit der Person Ratzingers befasste."

*Translated text of the bulletin
**Channel Phoenix reported first on the election of Ratzinger
**Bonn (AP). As the first German television channel - the event and documentary channel - Phoenix had on the early Tuesday evening reported, that Joseph Ratzinger will be the new pope. Before the official announcement of the Vatican, the publicly-funded channel proclaimed the information. As mentioned by channel, Phoenix continued the weeklong extended coverage out of Rome. On the evening, Phoenix broadcast more of the person Ratzinger."

Reception of the Channel

A customer can get the program by the following options:

*DVB-T (digital antenna television)
*analogue cable
*DVB-C (digital cable)
*analogue satellite television
*DVB-S (digital satellite television)
*live-stream (only a few shows are transmitted online.)

External links

* [ PHOENIX meldet als Erster: "Joseph Kardinal Ratzinger zum Papst gewählt"]
* [ TVmatrix: „Ein Sender wurde zum Ereignis: Phoenix wird 10“]
* [,00.html „10 Jahre Phoenix - Von schwarzen Koffern bis zum Papst“]


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