ORF: Logo (ORF eye).
ORF, since 1967 the abbreviation used for "Österreichischer Rundfunk", the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (in combination with a distinctive emblem). The ORF has been a public institution since 1974 (under the broadcasting law of July 10, 1974). Until the end of 1993 it was the only broadcasting corporation in Austria authorised by federal law and holding a programming commission. (This broadcasting monopoly was terminated by the regional radio law of June 9, 1993). - The ORF fulfils its programming mandate (to provide information, balanced commentaries, education for adults and young people, cultural and scientific broadcasts, entertainment, and promotion of sports, addressing minorities, promoting awareness of federalism), at the same time maintaining its independence according to the protection provided under the Broadcasting Law, by broadcasting 13 radio programmes and 2 television channels; the ORF also has interests in the German-language culture channel 3sat. Its revenues (1998) come in equal parts from broadcasting fees and advertising. The most important administrative functions in the ORF are the board (35 members), the Director General, and the radio and television audience representatives´ committee (37 members). - The predecessor of the public broadcasting corporation ORF was the limited liability company "Österreichischer Rundfunk Ges. m. b. H", founded on December 11, 1957, which, after the 1964 petition for a referendum on broadcasting, was reformed under a broadcasting law which came into effect on January 1, 1967. This law put an end to an undesirable situation whereby important administrative functions were proportionally allocated according to membership in political parties, and introduced the "Intendanturprinzip", the principle of a "Generalintendant" or director general who up to 1974 had overall responsibility, and thus enabled the director general (G.Bacher 1967-1974, 1978-1986, 1990-1994, O. Oberhammer 1974-1978, T. Podgorski 1986-1990, G. Zeiler from 1994-1998; G. Weis since 1998) to modernise the ORF´s financial structure, technological facilities, and presentation style. Modernisation measures included the construction of the ORF centre (1976) in Vienna and the new provincial studios (by G. Peichl) in the provincial capitals (from 1972). - Predecessors of the ORF were Radio Wien (Radio Vienna), the broadcasting institutions of the occupation forces (Radio), and, before 1938, the RAVAG broadcasting station.
Literature: H. Magenschab, Demokratie und Rundfunk, 1973; V. Ergert, 50 Jahre Rundfunk in Österreich, 4 vols., 1974-1985; ORF-Almanach, appears every 2-3 years, latest instalment 1996/1997.