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Why must broadcasting fees be paid?

January 16, 2020
Life in Germany

Time and again our customers ask why they have to pay broadcasting fees even though they will not use German television and radio programmes, especially due to a lack of German language skills.

We have already had many cheerful discussions with our customers. In the end, they understood, sometimes perhaps even just realized, that radio fees are a useful "obligatory fee".

Our most important argument is: Every word of German you learn makes your integration easier!

Because integration begins with learning the national language. Many of our clients who will be working in Germany for a longer period of time also want to learn German and register themselves and their spouses very quickly for language or integration courses. Their children usually learn the German language very quickly in kindergarten or school. We recommend everyone, both adults and their children, to practice and develop their language skills, also with the help of the entertainment offered by the public programs. The subtitle function in German, sometimes also in English, is a helpful support. In addition, you learn a lot about life and culture in Germany.

In addition, blockbusters, films and series from other countries are often broadcast in their original version. This is marked in the program with the note OV(original version) and can be set via your own television set.

The online platform"ZDFenglisch" offers numerous contributions (reports and documentaries) as video with English subtitles. link: https://www.zdf.de/international/zdfenglish

And very important and usually the most convincing argument: Listening to music played from the car radio must also be paid for, similarly for the music streaming providers.  

Many of our customers can't wait to buy a car, including a radio of course. And with it they can't ignore the radio stations of the public state media institutions. In Hessen there are e.g. the programs of the HR = Hessian broadcasting corporation. The use of the radio service, whether it is played via TV, (car) radio, smartphone, tablet, is also covered by the radio contribution.

The official reason is of course: Radio contributions are based on the solidarity principle

In Germany, all citizens, companies, institutions and organisations contribute in solidarity.These contributions ensure that the broadcasting corporations are able to fulfil their legal mandate, i.e. to provide as many people as possible with news, education, culture, sport and entertainment on a daily basis through their programmes on television, radio, the Internet and in media libraries. In order to be able to do this independently of economic and political interests, the broadcasting contribution secures the financing of ARD, ZDF and Deutschlandradio.

Only one contribution is to be paid per household. No matter whether single, family or shared flat, all of them pay 17.50 Euros per month, no matter how many TVs, radios or computers are in the flat. That is 210 Euros per year. The radio in the private car is included in the amount.

The contributions are paid quarterly. However, you can also pay in advance for a quarter, a half year or a whole year. The easiest way to pay is by SEPA direct debit.

Registration for the radio programme can be done online at rundfunkbeitrag.de

Information in English and other languages can be found at  https://www.rundfunkbeitrag.de/welcome/index_ger.html

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Life in Germany