The media landscape has never been as diverse as it is today. In North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) alone, 44 private local radio stations are broadcasting on over 100 frequencies. In addition to this are a large number of regional television stations, media platforms and the internet. Broadcasting platforms and technologies have also been steadily developing over recent years. The Media Authority of North Rhine-Westphalia (LfM) is responsible for licensing private broadcasters - from local radio stations through national and regional television broadcasters and also encompassing campus radio stations. Currently, some 100 licenses have been issued. Furthermore, the allocation of transmission capacities for the technical transmission platforms UHF, DAB+, DVB-T and DVB-T 2 (via the Commission on Licensing and Supervision (ZAK)) are also among its responsibilities - performed via specialist groups and pilot projects.
Licensing by the LfM
Who is allowed to apply for a license? What is a complete programme? And what must I observe if I want to broadcast my radio show via the internet? Answering these - and similar - questions is also part of the LfM remit. It also supports the legislative process with the Media Law of North Rhine-Westphalia (LMG NRW), the German Interstate Broadcasting Treaty (RStV) and the Interstate Treaty on the Protection of Minors in the Media (JMStV). These legal foundations for broadcast and telemedia services simultaneously form the basis of the Authority's work in the area of regulation.
The LfM monitors and controls broadcasters licensed or based in NRW to ensure that they comply with all of the pertinent regulations, for instance those relating to the protection of minors from harmful media, advertising, individual rights and the obligation under German law to provide publication details. In undertaking these responsibilities the Authority also cooperates with other institutions and investigating authorities. It continuously evaluates complaints from users, carries out programme analyses and undertakes spot checks on the content of websites.
LfM informs media users of rights and obligations
LfM employees act as contacts with regard to all queries concerning media content and other issues relating to private broadcasting. The LfM also provides users and media providers alike with information - online and in printed publications - on current developments and about the rights and obligations which must be observed.