Launched 7 January 1998 (1998-01-07)
Network ARD
Owned by Bayerischer Rundfunk
Picture format 576i (SDTV)
Audience share 0.1% (October 2017 (2017-10), KEK)
Country Bavaria, Germany
Broadcast area Germany
Bavaria, also distributed nationally in:
Sister channel(s) Bayerisches Fernsehen
DVB-T2 (Germany) different federal channels (FTA)
Kabel Deutschland (Germany) Channel 502 (SD)
UPC Switzerland (Switzerland) Channel 74 (SD)
Telekom Entertain (Germany) Channel 80 (SD)
A1 TV (Austria) Channel 47 (SD)

ARD-alpha is a German television station run by regional broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR) but broadcast nationally.

ARD-alpha broadcasts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with programmes from BR, as well as from ARD and Austrian broadcaster ORF. The channel was originally called BR-alpha but changed its name to ARD-alpha on 29 June 2014.


ARD-alpha broadcasts educational programmes including; science, religion, music, philosophy, literature, language learning, art and culture.


BR-alpha (1998-2014)

BR-alpha, as the station was originally called, started broadcasting on January 7, 1998. The station's programmes were originally broadcast in analog using the Astra satellite and was also distributed by cable networks. The schedule focused mainly on education and information. The channel began digital broadcasts via Astra in the summer of 1998.[1] On 28 November 2000, the heads of the regional public broadcasters agreed to start cooperating with BR-alpha.[2]

On 30 September 2002, the channel started broadcasting Planet Wissen ("Planet Knowledge" in English), a general knowledge programme and a co-production of BR-alpha, Westdeutscher Rundfunk and Südwestrundfunk. The programme also has an extensive internet presence. Bavaria started digital terrestrial television broadcasts on 30 May 2005, as did BR-alpha.[3]

The channel's scheduled were revamped on 16 February 2008. Career guidance programmes, a magazine aimed at young people called freiraum were started, and programs W wie Wissen and Faszination Wissen were also added.[4]

On 9 August 2009, the youth program on3-südwild switched from Bavarian Television to BR-alpha.[5] On 27 June 2010, Andreas Höfer won the Deutschen Kamerapreis (German Camera Award) in the category TV movie /docudrama for the BR-alpha film Empathie – Stumme Schreie (Empathy - Silent screams).[6]

ARD-alpha (since 2014)

The channel was renamed ARD-alpha on 29 June 2014. The schedule was reorganised the previous day. BR is still responsible for financing and broadcasting the channel, but some programmes originally broadcast by other ARD member stations were added to ARD-alpha's schedule.[7][8] Cooperation with ORF (the Austrian public broadcaster) in the form of alpha-Österreich continued and its television programs are now aired after 10 pm instead of in the early evening. Werner Reuss is head of ARD-alpha.


ARD-alpha is available in Bavaria (and in neighbouring states), via digital terrestrial (DVB-T) and throughout Germany via cable, and throughout Europe by satellite on Astra 1M (digital, DVB-S). On 30 April 2012, all German analogue satellite transmission, including that of ARD-alpha, ceased.[9]

Audience share


January February March April May June July August September October November December Annual average


  1. "BR startet TV-Bildungskanal" (in German). ARD. 7 January 1998. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  2. "Verwaltungsvereinbarungen überarbeitet" (in German). ARD. 28 November 2000. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  3. "Digitales Antennenfernsehen startet auch in Bayern" (in German). ARD. 30 May 2005. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  4. "BR alpha mit modifizertem Programmschema" (in German). ARD. 16 February 2008. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  5. "Bayerisches Fernsehen modifiziert Programm" (in German). ARD. 9 August 2009. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  6. "20. Deutscher Kamerapreis verliehen" (in German). ARD. 27 June 2010. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  7. Marcel Pohlig (27 May 2014). "Neuer Name: BR-Bildungskanal wird zu ARD-alpha". (in German). Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  8. Manuel Nunez Sanchez (27 May 2014). "BR-alpha wird zu ARD-alpha". (in German). Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  9. "Satellitenfernsehen: Jetzt auf digital umrüsten" [Satellite TV: Now converted to digital] (in German). 2012-01-21. Retrieved 2012-03-14.
  10. "KEK/Zuschaueranteile 2017" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 November 2017. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
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