Bavarian Radio is 100 million Euros in the red, orchs under threat

State auditors have exposed a huge deficit at BR, amounting to 100m Euros over the years 2010-14.

The BR symphony orchestra, radio orchestra and chorus amount to just over 25 percent of the network’s costs.

The record label BR-Klassik has clocked up a 491,000 Euros loss.

There will be a reckoning to come.


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  • You have misunderstood or misreported the numbers, as they are stated in the German article you link to: The article states that the BR Symphony Orchestra, Radio Orchestra and Choir account for 25% of the RADIO budget. Their share of BR’s budget as a whole (television, website, streaming, etc etc etc) is stated to be 3.1%.

    It’s still a big problem for one broadcaster to budget a total of 28 million € a year on two orchestras and a chorus when the broadcaster as a whole is haemorrhaging that much money.

    Amazingly, the report suggests that BR started up the record label BR Klassik BR Klassik in the hopes that it would be a money-making enterprise in 2008. What were they thinking? The article states that if it is running a loss it must be shut down.

    • Can someone shed light on the strange “logic”, why a classical label that does sell music recordings of a symphony orchestra must be profitable, but the same symphony orchestra itself that sells seats in a concert halls never has to be profitable?
      A concert of a symphony orchestra like BR or Berlin Philharmonic or Vienna Philharmonic always is happening at a huge loss. That’s the way it has been all the time. Only about 25% of a concert’s expenses are recovered from the revenue. The huge deficit is covered by the state subsidies or in case of the public broadcasters from the public radio fees.

      Why an in-house CD label, an alternative third distribution channel to the two established distribution channels, broadcast audience and concert audience in the hall, has to be 100% profitable, when the other two distribution channels by definition create huge deficits?

      Real culture always creates deficits in monetary terms, while they create wealth in cultural and humanitarian terms. These cultural assets, including the BR label, are cultural assets of the highest orders. It is never the objective of public broadcasters to create additional revenue with populist low taste and vulgar programming, but it instead their objective, to use the money for cultural investments and broadcasts which otherwise could not exist on a purely commercialized market.

  • Incredible story… Bavaria being one of the richest of the German Länder, complaining they have to pay for the poorer areas in the north and east. What will happen if, under the pressure of the refugee crisis, cultural institutions will have to seriously reduce production – opera houses, orchestras, museums? Or even, have to close down? How much will remain to symbolize the culture refugees are supposed to integrate into? I assume such sacrifices will have to be made, since in the short run, human lives are more important than art.

        • Refugees will be invited for a free concert in the Berliner Konzerthaus of Mahler IX after which they will be returend to their shabby corner in the Turnhalle, waiting for the finale in E flat major announcing the liberation from their circumstances.

          Terrorists will be shuffled into a Klangkunst concert with Neuwirth, Xenakis and Widmann, by way of a warning.

          • LOL! And the German people have demonstrated their generosity in taking people from, well, everywhere and this will necessarily mean going without other ‘stuff’ in the process. I’m happy with that. It shows their true altruism!! And the more ‘generous’ they become the more they can expect a new wave to come looking for it too!! That’s fair. What’s not fair is issuing the ‘invitation’ and then expecting others to take them in. That’s just rude.

          • There is nothing altruistic in the German chancellor being a tool of US foreign policy, with the objective to divide, destabilize and weaken Europe, so it can never rise as a true challenger to US global hegemony. Until the Chinese will be there, that is…

  • On a slightly related note I’m curious if there’s been any news on the Concertgebouw’s situation – the state was going to cut their funding and they had something like two years to alter their funding.

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