Broadcasting fee: Artistic directors earn this much (Update: Generous BR)
The salaries of the directors of ARD and ZDF are paid from the broadcasting fee. The top earner collects 413,000 euros per year. Update: The Patricia Schlesinger affair has not yet been clarified and new allegations are constantly being made, as the BILD reports on a further generous handling of the income from the broadcasting fee. This time at BR.
rbb director Patricia Schlesinger has resigned. But the affair is far from over.
One of the hot topics in connection with the broadcasting fee is the use of the funds generated by it. The focus is primarily on the salaries of the directors. Business Insider has compiled how much some directors make based on research into the world (behind paywall).
16 percent more salary
The debate, which has been going on for some time, about how appropriate the salaries of the directors (i.e. the heads of the ARD broadcasting corporations and ZDF) are, recently picked up speed again: the salary of Patricia Schlesinger, former director of the rbb Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg and at that time also ARD chairman, rose by 16 percent to 303,000 euros, while savings have to be made on the other personnel costs of the rbb station. That was bound to provoke criticism. Especially since there were also allegations of controversial consultancy contracts (see below). Schlesinger was in the meantime willing to renegotiate her salary, but that was overtaken by the Schlesinger affair, which was assuming ever greater proportions.
Update August 12th: BR – two company cars and two drivers for a technical director
The picture reports on the fairly generous handling of the Bavarian Broadcasting Corporation with the income from the broadcasting fee, which is probably legal, but nevertheless casts a bad image on the public broadcasters.
According to this, a technical director of Bayerischer Rundfunk can access an Audi A7 with two paid drivers and is also provided with a Ford Mondeo station wagon as an additional vehicle. According to BILD, the technical director earns 266,000 euros a year.
It has to be two drivers because one could be ill or on vacation. The drivers not only chauffeur the technology director between her home in Eichstätt and her place of work in Munich, but also on private trips. The Mondeo, in turn, is available for cases in which the technology director wants to be on the road without a chauffeur.
The fact that the technical director has access to two drivers and can also use them for private trips is an exception in the technical director’s service contract. Because the woman has to be on the road as the technical director in the entire transmission area, as the BR justifies this generous regulation.
Now also suspicion of fraud against the resigned director of the rbb
The list of allegations against Patricia Schlesinger is getting longer and longer, as reported by n-tv. There is now talk of a suspicion of fraud. If this is confirmed – for which there is no official statement yet – it could have an impact on the severance payment that Schlesinger obviously wants to negotiate at the moment.
In addition, investigations are now underway into Schlesinger’s work at NDR in 2016. There is a suspicion that Schlesinger, in her position at the time as head of the culture and documentation program department, could have given her husband Gerhard Spörl a commission as a screenwriter.
A few days ago, the Berlin public prosecutor’s office began investigations against the former rbb director Patricia Schlesinger, her husband Gerhard Spörl and against Wolf-Dieter Wolf, the head of the rbb board of directors. It is about the initial suspicion of infidelity and taking advantage. This is reported, among other things, by the Tagesschau.
On August 4th, 2022, the controversial RBB director Patricia Schlesinger resigned from her position as ARD chairwoman, as reported by the Tagesschau. Initially, however, she remained director of rbb. West German Broadcasting (WDR) took over the day-to-day official business. On August 7th, 2022, Schlesinger resigned as rbb director.
Schlesinger has been criticized for controversial consultancy contracts, conflicts of interest, disputed cost accounting and the use of her company car. The director’s latest salary increase was also criticized, because savings are generally the order of the day at the station.
Huge damage to the image of public service broadcasting in Germany
The Patricia Schlesinger affair has long been an image disaster for public broadcasting in Germany. In Germany, the license fee for financing public service broadcasting is already controversial and there are proposals to reform public service broadcasting and criticism of the use of funds. Schlesinger’s behavior should be grist to the mill of opponents of public service broadcasting. Critics speak of a major damage to the public broadcaster’s image caused by the events surrounding Schlesinger.
However, unlike in France, for example, abolishing the broadcasting fee is not up for discussion in Germany. Because France abolishes broadcasting fees entirely. But that’s window dressing, because French radio is now financed from taxpayers’ money.
These are the top earners
However, Schlesinger’s salary is by no means unusually high if you look at what other ARD directors collect. Basically, the rule of thumb applies: the larger the budget of the broadcaster and thus the share of the broadcasting fee, the higher the salary of the director. Tom Buhrow, the director of WDR, can look forward to 413,000 euros per year – that is significantly more than in 2019, as you can read here: Broadcasting fee – an ARD director earns up to 395,000 euros. Kai Gniffke, who heads the SWR, gets 361,000 euros and Joachim Knuth from NDR is there with 346,000 euros per year. Katja Wildermuth from BR receives 340,000 euros.
The controversial Schlesinger is with her 303,000 euros in the middle of the artistic director salaries. Manfred Krupp from HR comes to 305,000 euros, Karola Wille from MDR to 295,000 euros and Yvette Gerner from Radio Bremen to 281,000 euros.
The directors do not set their salaries themselves, but it is the respective supervisory bodies of the broadcasters that decide on them. So these should be the target of criticism if you think that the directors earn too much.
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The broadcasting fee will probably continue to rise – that’s the reason
Broadcasting contribution: An ARD director earns up to 395,000 euros
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France abolishes broadcasting fees – so it goes on
Broadcasting fee: No increase until 2024 – that’s how much ARD, ZDF & Deutschlandradio will receive
Broadcasting contribution: An ARD director earns up to 395,000 euros