ERF – The broadcaster for a whole lifetime
“Good News” via radio, TV and the Internet
Wetzlar, Germany (ERF). "The broadcaster for a whole lifetime" - that’s the slogan of ERF Medien (Wetzlar). The Christian media enterprise offers programming aimed towards young and old alike; the healthy and those who are ill; Christians and non-Christians; women and men. Founded in 1959, ERF was one of the first private broadcasters in Germany to spread the gospel through the media, first via radio, and now also on TV and over the internet. A staff of 230 work to achieve the mission of ERF through a wide variety of journalistic endeavors. A new ERF mission statement issued in 2013 proclaims: ‘It is our deepest desire that people come to know God and have their lives transformed by him. We seek out the best forms of media available for this purpose.’
Financed almost solely through donations, ERF has an annual budget of approximately 14.5 million Euros. In 2001, a foundation was established to further financially support the ministry. ERF is the media partner of various denominations in Germany including the Lutheran Church, the Evangelical Free Churches, and many others.
ERF has operated its own 24/7 TV broadcast channel since March, 2009. A wide variety of original programs and series are aired on ERF 1 , for instance “Mensch, Gott” (a series about encounters between heaven and earth), “Gott sei Dank!” (‘Thank God!’), as well as a number of children’s programs, documentaries, life-style magazines, talk-shows and features. On Sundays, worship services from a wide range of churches all across Germany are recorded and aired. Externally acquired productions, e.g. from ERF Switzerland, are also broadcast. During late-night hours, films in more than 20 languages are shown in rotating fashion, including the film “Jesus”, based upon the Gospel of Luke.
ERF 1 can be received via the digital satellite ASTRA as well as over an increasing number of cable networks, on the Internet (www.erf.de), and also via apps for mobile devices. Selected programs from ERF are also being broadcast by secular networks, such as ANIXE and approximately 25 other regional channels. In addition, ERF 1’s parallel sound carriers provide the opportunity to listen to three different audio signals, including the traditional and well-familiar “ERF Plus”, the newer and more trendy “ERF Pop”, and the Swiss-German “Life Channel”. This is only one example of the cross-medial networking of programming offered by ERF Media.
ERF Media offers two radio channels. ERF Plus features a wide variety of programmes, from Bach chorales, early morning devotionals, current affairs magazine programmes, call-in programmes, to modern Christian pop music. Over 1,000 volunteer writers contribute to the programming content. ERF Plus broadcasts around the clock via ASTRA Satellite using both analogue and digital signals and also via cable networks in Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria (Munich), Southern Hessen, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Thuringia, and Saxony. Since August, 2011, ERF Plus is also available over DAB+ digital audio broadcast. In addition, programmes can be heard via telephone. Since April, 2009, ERF Pop is available via ASTRA satellite and on the web, with music and content for young adults. All three radio programs can be received via livestream (www.erf.de) or by using various apps.
No other media has found a place into everyday life as quickly as the Internet. It is an extraordinary medium for challenging people to consider faith issues, helping people to grow in their faith, and for linking Christians together, for instance on the internet portal www.erf.de where ERF Online presents daily, up-to-date and true-to-life inspiration, in addition to the livestreams mentioned above and their corresponding media centers.
On www.mehrglauben.de, ERF seeks to make the Christian faith evident and understandable to contemporary society in interactive ways. Consequently, it is engaged in social media and offers tools for mobile internet use.
ERF was founded in 1959 and made its first radio broadcast in 1961. ERF stays in close contact with its listeners, viewers of its TV channel and those accessing its internet site. Hundreds of calls, emails, faxes and letters reach its headquarters after each broadcast. ERF puts a strong emphasis on service: each enquiry is answered personally. ERF offers information about its programs, for instance tips about literature and contacts to churches, counselors, help centers, and therapists. ERF radio listeners and TV viewers send in personal questions about their lives, and each of these enquiries receives a competent and confidential answer. ERF has a Germany-wide network of counselors available for its listeners, TV viewers, and internet users alike - something greatly appreciated by them.
Programs broadcast by ERF are not only in German. In Germany and beyond, ERF International contributes to the cost of broadcasts in 45 languages. For those living in German-speaking regions, ERF produces ten foreign-language radio programs. In addition, ERF offers over-the-phone devotionals in 26 languages (e.g. tel. +49 (0)6441 2081612 for English.) Together with its international partner, TWR, ERF is helping to spread the Gospel in over 200 languages around the world.
ERF’s bi-monthly broadcast guide “ANTENNE” has a circulation of some 120,000 copies and is available in Germany for an annual fee of 15 Euros.