Station Profile - Sender Leipzig

Written by Stefan Greve

The transmitter Leipzig started broadcasting on 1 March 1924. It was the second radio station in Germany (5 months after Berlin). The station was called "Mitteldeutsche Rundfunk AG" (MIRAG) and covered the states of Sachsen, Thüringen and Anhalt as well as the prussian Provinz Sachsen (except the northern part of the Magdeburg district) and some parts of Braunschweig.

At first the power was only 0.25 kW, the frequency was 664 kHz.

On June 16 1926 the 4 kW-transmitter Leipzig-Ausstellungsgelände went on air, first on 664 kHz, in November briefly on 840 kHz and finally on 820 kHz since 27 November 1926.
In January 1929 the frequency was changed to 829 kHz and in 1931 to 1157 kHz.

Moving to Wiederau

With 120 kW, the station at Wiederau (near Pegau, about 20 km southwest of Leipzig) was the most powerful transmitter for several years. It went on air on 20 October 1932 and used , due to a frequency switch with Frankfurt, 770 kHz.

In 1933 MIRAG became "Reichssender Leipzig".
On 15 January 1934 the frequency was changed to 785 kHz. In 1935, a vertical antenna in a wooden tower replaced the original T-antenna.

In 1939 a second transmitter with a power of 100 kW was installed, using a triangular antenna for special broadcasts on various frequencies.
In 1942, a 10 kW shortwave transmitter was installed.

On 12 April 1945 Reichsender Leipzig ceased broadcasting.

From MDR to Radio DDR

Leipzig I (120 kW, 785 kHz) returned to air on 9 September 1945, relaying "Berliner Rundfunk" and "Landessender Weimar".
On 7 July 1946 its own programme "Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk" (MDR) started and became the key station for the Landessender Dresden, Weimar and Halle.
It also used the shortwave transmitter on 9730 kHz.

Leipzig II (100 kW) relayed "Berliner Rundfunk" on 722 kHz from 4 April 1947 to 10 April 1948 and was used for Soviet broadcasts (Radio Moskva and Radio Volga) after.

According to the Kopenhagen waveplan, MDR went to 1043 kHz on 15 March 1950. Radio Moskva used 1322 kHz (instead of the planned 782 kHz, which was given to Berliner Rundfunk in Königswusterhausen). All stations were limited to 70 kW, but the power was only reduced for a short time, if at all.

On 14 September 1952, East German Radio was centralised in the new studios in Berlin, MDR and the five Landessender were closed and replaced by 14 "Bezirksstudios".
Leipzig was now transmitting the new programm "Berlin III".
However, parts of the central programmes were still produced in Leipzig.
On 5 September 1953 regional programmes of the Bezirksstudios started and the Leipzig transmitter was used by Leipzig, Halle and Magdeburg.

In 1953 also technical changes happened. A steel mast replaced the wooden tower and the frequency was changed to 962 kHz (1043 kHz was given to Dresden-Wilsdruff).
On 9 June 1954 the programmes were reformed again, Leipzig now carried "Berlin - 1.Programm", which became "Radio DDR" in 1956.
About the same time the frequency was changed to 575 kHz.
During this time the shortwave transmitter (12 kW, 9730 kHz) usually carried the same programme as the medium wave (but no regional programmes), and was also used for "Deutschlandsender" and the foreign service.

In 1960 FM and TV transmitters were installed in Wiederau and since 1 January 1964 regional programmes used FM only.

Radio Moskva on 1322 kHz

Radio handbooks of the 1950s to 80s usually note the power of 150 kW for Leipzig II, though it's not clear when (or if) it was raised.
Since about 1960 Radio DDR used the transmitter from 1939 (100 kW) on 575 kHz, while Radio Moskva used the older 120 kW transmitter on 1322 kHz.
In 1963 that transmitter was dismantled (on May 20) and replaced by a new 100 kW transmitter (on December19).

In the 1960s and 70s the shortwave transmitter on 9730 kHz was raised to 50 kW and used for Radio Moskva/Radio Volga as well as for Radio Berlin International.
In the 1980s three short wave transmitters (50 kW, 2x 100 kW) are active.

Frequency changes

In the 1970s an additional 5 kW transmitter on 528 kHz was used for "Radio DDR - Messewelle" during the Leipzig fair.

On 23 November 1978 the new Geneva Waveplan became effective. Radio DDR 1 (100 kW) went to 531 kHz, Messewelle (5 kW) to 729 kHz.
Since 1987, it relayed Berliner Rundfunk between the fairs.

Radio Moskva was planned to be moved to Nauen, but until then they continued from Leipzig on 1323 kHz.
Finally in Summer 1989 a new 1000 kW transmitter was installed in Wachenbrunn instead and Radio Moskva ceased to broadcast from Leipzig.
The transmitter from 1963 was now used by Radio DDR 1 and that from 1939 was kept as stand-by.

From Radio DDR to MDR

In 1990 Radio DDR 1 (100 kW, 531 kHz) became "Radio Aktuell" while the 5 kW transmitter on 729 kHz, which was used for some regional broadcasts from Leipzig since the late 1980s, was taken away from Berliner Rundfunk and carried a fulltime programme from Leipzig, called "Sachsenradio".

Since 1 October 1990 Sachsenradio used 531 kHz, while Radio Aktuell had to use the lower power transmitter on 729 kHz until it was closed down on 27 May 1991.
Geluidsfragment Extract from Radio Aktuell (1991) on 783 kHz (courtesy of Herbert Meixner)   00:18, 32 kbps, 75 kB (MP3)
On 1 January 1992 "Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk" became the official broadcaster for Sachsen, Sachsen-Anhalt and Thüringen. The medium wave transmitters carried the "MDR Info" programme.
The 100 kW transmitter moved to 783 kHz on 8 August 1995 (switched frequencies with Burg).
In 1998 a new transistorised 100 kW transmitter was installed.

The shortwave transmitter was taken over by "Deutsche Welle" on 3 October 1990. One 100 kW transmitter was used until 1993, when it was closed down.