Public broadcasting: Scenes from a marriage - how I lost the fee broadcasters

The Germans and the GEZ fee - that's an eternal topic.

Public broadcasting: Scenes from a marriage - how I lost the fee broadcasters

The Germans and the GEZ fee - that's an eternal topic. Don't worry, it's not the thousandth text about mismanagement and sloppiness of the fee-based broadcasters. That's all right, but I don't care. As a taxpayer, I have to pay so much nonsense that the 18.36 euros a month don't stand out. I am writing about a slow alienation. As in some marriages. In which first the passion and then every conversation goes out - a relationship-off on the back burner without any scene ready for an opera.

Actually, I should have been warned. In the early noughties I set up WiFi and broadband access in the house. From one day to the next, the pubescent boys stayed away from the previous TV evening together. They were interested in Asian martial arts, anime and whatever else worries pubescent boys – there was and isn’t an abundance of that on the internet and on live TV with parents on the couch just not.

For me it took about 20 years longer. And to blame was the stinginess - because I hadn't bought a smart TV for the kitchen. So there was only live TV from Kabel Deutschland. Admittedly, I'm a difficult customer too. I'm not interested in king football – for which billions are spent in fees. And neither does the colorful evening entertainment such as the highlight Helene Fischer Show. Strictly speaking, I'm only interested in news and fiction - that is, feature films and series. At 60, I still belong to the generation that was conditioned by the beat of television. From fee-based TV, of course, because there was nothing else when I was young. What remains is the irresistible impulse to turn on the news at 7 and 8 p.m. Inner switch-on command and then "Today" and the "Tagesschau".

To the news later, first to the trappings. During the broadcasting time with the most viewers - when I'm working in the kitchen - a program runs on the main channels ARD and ZDF that teaches you the horror. Series like "Notruf Hafen Kante" are identical to the series from the 1960s, except that they are now shot in color. Thrillers, in touristy feel-good places, where German actors then play Portuguese, Bretons or someone else in poor costumes. A program for the 70+ target group. Hard to bear for me even when cooking. For me, the highlight of this panopticon was the "Bergdoktor" - simply because Hans Sigl is a nice guy.

But otherwise? The orientation is undemanding and pensioner-sweet – with permanent surreptitious advertising. Some viewers may not notice, others don't mind, but I do. Years ago I tried to watch a two-parter because it was set in our vacation home destination. After thirty minutes I had to switch off, the main role in the otherwise irrelevant work had been bought by the VW group. Their vehicles got more shots than any actor - always nice with the logo in the camera.

In the realm of fiction, public law is a nightmare. The verdict does not change either, because four or five outstanding social dramas are shot each year. The last series that impressed me was "Crime in the Eye". Many other good series and films are simply purchased or co-productions. About "4 Blocks" or "Babylon Berlin". They grace the show, but for guys like me, they always get there a few years late when I've already seen them.

A few weeks ago, the old kitchen TV gave up the ghost. The new one is now smarter. The dictatorship of live TV is thus over. Goodbye, mountain doctor! In the box I now have Netflix, RTL Plus, Amazon Prime and occasionally Disney. Plus Youtube and whatever else is out there. And of course the media libraries of ARD and ZDF also went - in which there is hardly anything to be found for me. See above. So far I haven't gotten around to installing the apps.

Back to my news evening, which traditionally begins promptly at 7 p.m. in the kitchen with "Today". But my love for the news suffered over time. For me they are very short. On many days, weather and football account for 40 percent of broadcast time. For me, "Today" is already over at 7:12 p.m. The daily news shrinks to less than ten minutes. And the few minutes are filled with a special feature of German fee-based TV. A world view in which the Berlin government district becomes the center of the world. A typical report looks something like this: "First a press conference by a minister presenting her new legislative proposal, then a transition sentence and then speakers from other parties on the same topic. The Greens, the FDP and now and then the AfD. " And that's it, any glimpse into the real world of those affected is only occasional. Because the next project from Berlin is already waiting – which in turn will be commented on by other speakers from the other parties. I escaped this dilemma on Arte with the "Arte Journal". In orientation, in the tenor of opinion, it's not a big difference. But - good for me - there is neither football nor weather forecast. And there is no arrangement from the backbenchers of the parties.

But I'm too "old" for the "Arte Journal" of the news. I'm not only conditioned to the fact that you have to watch the news after all - the said switch-on command, but also that it is presented in a sober and factual manner. With Arte, it is already made clear during the announcement what the viewer has to think of the upcoming report. Either the voice of the presenter rejoices – then there are hopeful activists who are somehow campaigning against climate change or against the bad men of the world. Or a menacing tremolo from the announcer announces disaster. Then bullies like Orban or Bolsonaro will appear on the screen. is that evil Is that reprehensible? Is that manipulation? I don't have a final opinion on that, I just don't like the emotional embedding and leadership. I'm concrete head there: You have to hold back when it comes to hard news! I don't expect that with soft topics - cute little animals, stars and asterisks. It's the other way around on TV. The tour start of a superstar is presented objectively like the stock market report, the political reporting jazzed up like a thriller.

"Arte Journal" and I continue to alienate. Arte just doesn't love me. From the world view of the makers of the "Journal" I am the ultimate enemy, the "old white man". This can neither be denied nor changed. In fact, I'm the anti-target audience - like a vegetarian who got caught in a charcuterie slaughterhouse. Accordingly, I feel comfortable and welcome in the program. And of course - old white man - the consistent "gender" in its special Arte form without the asterisk, spoken in a purely feminine form, bothers me. The "Journal" is an all-female show, so you ask yourself: What am I actually doing there? Speakers, moderators, experts, the activists - if at all possible, a woman comes in front of the camera. This is pretty much the same as 1960's men's news only inverted. I didn't want to get into the fee discussion, so I'll leave it here as well. In principle, a program can position itself so consistently that you don't aim at the general public, but at a top target group, which I certainly don't belong to. The Arte "Journal" put my chair in front of the door. That was the end of a 50-year relationship. Fall asleep gently. I will continue to pay the alimony fees for my former lover, but I will no longer look at it.

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