German Broadcasting Archive

The logo of the DRA

The German Broadcasting Archives (DRA ) is a non-profit foundation under civil law for a Community institution of the ARD with offices in Frankfurt am Main and Potsdam -Babelsberg. The DRA has extensive holdings of sound and image documents, writings, printed media (books, magazines, newspapers ) and property witnesses. The archive contains substantial and significant parts of the auditory and audiovisual tradition in Germany. The DRA holdings reflect the development of broadcasting since its inception, but in particular also the ARD and the radio and television of the GDR, resist. Given drastic austerity measures ARD threatens the archive the settlement. The director of the ARD have denied that.


On November 11, 1950, the director of the ARD broadcasting organizations agreed on the establishment of a German sound archive. Under the name of the sound archive of the German broadcasting the DRA was established on January 1, 1952 with headquarters at Hessischer Rundfunk in Frankfurt am Main. 1962 have been added to the documentation of television productions its tasks. Together with the study circle broadcasting and history are the DRA since 1974, the trade magazine Broadcasting and story out.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall it took over 1992 to 1994, first in trust, managing the archives of radio and television of the GDR and received a second location in Berlin -Adlershof. From 1994 to 2002 it awarded on behalf of the ARD, the " DRA- scholarship to the study of broadcasting and media history of the GDR."

On 6 December 2000, the new building in Potsdam -Babelsberg was inaugurated on the premises of the RBB, which replaced the Berlin site.

As of 2005, the DRA supported the development of an Internet radio station for historic original sounds. It was 2007, based at SWR Radio Archives.

In the spring of 2011, the DRA announced to terminate the extradition of its ARD internal publications " DRA- Info" and " anniversaries " for cost reasons. The " anniversaries in 2013 " appeared yet in November 2011. These books contain collections of acoustic and content, the highlights of the archive on certain occasions. In the summer of 2011, the ARD directors " rejected an extension of the employment contract of the DRA- conductor Hans -Gerhard Stülb from and followed the proposal of the HR director Helmut Reitze (Chairman of the DRA Board of Directors) to occupy the leadership position only temporarily, until the ARD test group under rbb - house counsel Reinhart binder has completed its work and the future of the DRA is clarified. " The budget of the DRA is almost unchanged since 2005 at 12 million euros annually. This corresponds to less than 0.2 % of the revenue from license fees in 2010.

Focus of the collection of the Archives are in Frankfurt am Main location recordings from contemporary history and music since the beginning of the sound recording, historical recordings such as wax cylinders and sound films, shellac and vinyl records, piano rolls, and more. In addition, the DRA archived records and printed publications in the program and its history of German radio before 1945, the Radio and Television of the GDR and the ARD.

In addition to the written traditions found in the DRA Babelsberg audiovisual heritage of the GDR radio (1945-1991) and television (1952-1991) with approximately 180,000 film canisters, 120,000 video cassettes, 10,000 DVDs and approximately 450,000 words and music recordings.

The DRA transferred its holdings gradually into a digital form.

The databases of the DRA with their stock certificates and other information are in the context of the mandate given to the foundation of public broadcasting is available; they serve the purposes of science and research, of education and culture. Individuals and commercially operating facilities may, to the extent permitted by law, to use the stores of the DRA for a fee.

Associated with the DRA, the Central cataloging records (ZSK ) of ARD and ZDF, as well as the editors of the German Yearbook.


  • Hans Weber (1959-1961)
  • Hans -Joachim Weinbrenner (1961-1971)
  • Harald Heckmann (1972-1991)
  • Joachim -Felix Leonhard (1991-2001)
  • Hans -Gerhard Stülb (2001-2011)
  • Michael Crone (2011-2012)
  • Bernd Hawlat (since 2013)


The DRA is a member of the Working Group of Independent Cultural Institutes, the network media libraries, the academic circle and broadcasting history, the Association of German Archivists and the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives.