The announcement: “Attention, attention, this is Berlin…” started on October 29th 1923 the initial episode of the first regular entertainment radio show in Germany.

The German Reichspost envisioned a new radio service for the wireless distribution of artistic and entertaining content. As with all its services, the Reichspost was determined to establish a monopoly in entertainment broadcast. Listeners were subject to strict regulations, involving personal permits (or using expensive commercial radio receivers that were Reichspost-certified).

However, the new playground of wireless technology was no clean slate but already occupied by all sorts of radio tinkerers. As a consequence, the authorities anticipated a large number of unpermitted listeners (Schwarzhörer). Indeed, as of January 1, 1924, the estimated number of permitted listeners was low, only about 1,500.

The following audio contribution from the Steffen DM6WAN for the Radio-DARC is a good introduction to the topic.  / (Click here or on picture)

Source: from Radio-DARC’s special broadcast on “100 Years of Radio” (broadcast no. 454). For the full broadcast here in the Radio-DARC archive.

On January 24th 1924

To counteract illegal radio reception,  on January 24th 1924, the Reichspost reached out to the numerous radio associations that had been founded since 1923. These associations represented a crosscut of the middle class and well-to do parts of german society. Representatives of these associations were invited to a conference in order to “… make a joint attempt to counteract the hitherto illegal operation of the unauthorized receiving systems.”

To speak with one voice in the negotiations at this conference, many of the various local radio associations founded an a special purpose association, a cartel – the German Funk-Kartell.

Member list German Funk-Kartell

to the list of German Funk-Kartell members

As a result of the negotiations, the Reichspost authorized this broadcasting and ham radio associations recognized by them (ultimately 10 associations with approx. 320 clubs at the end of 18 month German Funk-Kartell) to provide qualified training and to conduct an examination for the so-called  regenerative receiver test permit (Audion-Versuchserlaubnis).

Most club officers were either professionals of radio technology (scientists/engineers) or  people interested in amateur radio. The amateur radio enthusiasts hoped that the broadcast activities could help pave the way for amateur radio transmission licenses. Unlike to many other countries, the Reichspost had so far denied all requests for amateur radio transmission licenses.

The radio clubs hoped that their committment to train the rapidly growing broadcast listnener community abiding to the law, would be reciprocated by the Reichspost with concessions regarding amateur radio permits.

The success in a graphic

During the existence of the German Funk-Kartell (1924-1925), the number of listeners rose by 850,000.

What a great task!

Suddenly, all german citizens interested in the new entertainment radio had, by law, to become member of a local broadcasting and ham radio club and had to get qualified. (apart from the few in such close vicinity of a transmitter so they could use a simple detector receiver). The declared aim was to “raise understanding of radio technology in all sections of the population”.

 Radio Craft Books ,  Radio Magazines ,  Radio Experiments

Hardly known

Just two months after Founding, on April 28, 1924, the Radio Conference of the Association of German Electrical Engineers (VDE) followed with the participation of representatives of the German Funk-Kartell. It brought together the actors involved in the introduction and implementation of German broadcasting. From the Reichspost, the Radio Association, the university professors of electrical engineering and the engineering association, the radio industry and the radio dealers… right up to the German Funk-Kartell. The last item on the agenda was literally: “Organization and future of amateur radio”.

Leading personalities in the German Funk-Kartell

…and his 10 associations.

18 months of the German Funk-Kartell – mission accomplished

In the summer of 1925 the goal was achieved. On September 1st was the end of A.V.E. and detector permission – broadcasting had finally arrived in Germany.

As of September 1st  in 1925 – 853.000  radio subscribers were registered in Germany.

Some of these radio and radio associations founded 100 years ago (when the German Funk-Kartell was dissolved there were around 320 associations with around 50,000 members) represent the historical roots of today’s DARC local associations, which we would like to remember as part of this event. See the overview below:

To some information of this early radio- and hamradio associations of German Funk-Kartell (“Digital Bequests”) .