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Press information

The latest developments in international business

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Family-friendliness

Achieving work-life balance

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German Audiobook Award

German Audiobook Award

The  German Audiobook Award has been awarded to outstanding audiobook productions since 2003 and is one of the most prestigious awards in the industry. The awards ceremony, held annually in March, brings many well-known narrators, producers and publishers to Cologne.
The prize is awarded in seven categories:
The prize is awarded in seven categories:
  • "Best Female Narrator"
  • "Best Male Narrator"
  • "Best Radio Drama"
  • "Best Non-Fiction Audiobook"
  • "Best Children's Audiobook", awarded by the jury of ZEIT LEO
  • "Best Publishing Achievement"
  • "Best Audiobook in (this year’s special) Category"

Together with Westdeutscher Rundfunk, WDR mediagroup launched the German Audiobook Award and is a founding member of the sponsoring association. Other members are the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, the international literary festival in Cologne Lit.COLOGNE, Hessischer Rundfunk,  Norddeutscher Rundfunk, Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Studio Hamburg and the weekly newspaper DIE ZEIT.


German Audiobook Award

WDR mediagroup is one of the funding bodies of the Verein Deutscher Hörbuchpreis e.V. and assumes key organisational responsibilities; the jury sessions are also held under its roof. Furthermore, it offers interested partners attractive sponsorship opportunities related to the gala ceremony, which is broadcasted nationwide on radio and television.

CIVIS Media Prize

Civis Media Prize

The CIVIS Media Prize honours the best programmes on the issue of integration and cultural diversity in Europe. Prizes are awarded to radio, TV and online programmes that promote the peaceful coexistence of people of different national, ethnic, religious or cultural backgrounds.

CIVIS wishes to heighten journalists' awareness of the issues of integration and cultural diversity and to encourage them in the work that they do by giving awards to exemplary programmes. The CIVIS Media Prize is a European and German TV prize as well as a European radio prize that is awarded to German-language programmes in the EU and Switzerland each year. In addition, there is a European award in the form of the "Young CIVIS Media Prize" as well as an award for journalistic websites on integration and cultural diversity, the "CIVIS Online Media Prize".
Civis Media Prize

The management of WDR mediagroup has been on the jury since 2012. In addition, the Internet Service Division supports the technical processes necessary for the online registration for participation in the CIVIS Media Prize.

11,000 Stars for Cologne Cathedral initiative

11.000 Stars for Cologne Cathedral

"11,000 Stars for Cologne Cathedral" is a fundraising project of a very special kind. Anyone who feels particularly committed to Cologne Cathedral and wishes to support its preservation financially can acquire a star with his or her name on it, which is then set into the ground in front of the world-famous cathedral. This will result with a "carpet of starts" around Cologne Cathedral, starting at its northern entrance. The stonemasons of the cathedral workshop (Dombauhütte) are responsible for its design and execution. They were inspired by the medieval floor pattern of one of the cathedral’s chapels. 

The inauguration of the star carpet, with its first 60 donors, took place in mid-July 2013. Besides  WDR mediagroup, prominent donors also include the Kreissparkasse Köln, SAL. OPPENHEIM and the family of former WDR Director Monika Piel.

As one of the first donors, WDR mediagroup has acquired a star that can be seen in front of the northern portal of the Cologne Cathedral.

rheingold Congress

rheingold Congress

rheingold - Institut für qualitative Markt- und Medienanalysen GmbH und Co. KG
Breaking Brav – that was the motto of the 8th rheingold Congress, which took place on 10 February 2015 in Cologne and was organised by the renowned rheingold Institute.

In German, being 'brav' means conforming, always keeping yourself in check, and wanting to ensure everything is quantified and ensured against risk. 'Brav' people prefer a secure present to an uncertain future.

But what might daily life be like – what might men, women, children, markets, and advertising be like – if they were actually brave rather than 'brav'? Why is it good to break rules, show courage and take risks? And why does being brave (as opposed to 'brav') open up new insights and make life more fun? These were the compelling questions considered at this year's congress.
Rheingold Congress

WDR mediagroup has supported the event as a sponsor since the 7th rheingold Kongress in 2012.

Christmas donation

Christmas donation

Kölner Klinikclowns charity Support for the Kölner Klinikclowns charity
At Christmas time, WDR mediagroup rather makes a donation than spending money on presents. Cologne charity Kölner Klinikclowns, who bring high spirits to patients’ bedsides in local healthcare institutions, were selected as the receiver of the Christmas donation in 2014.
Ms. Backhaus, is laughter really the best medicine?
Obviously we can't cure people who are ill. But what we can do, particularly for children and older people, is to make their time in hospital or the care home easier to bear and more pleasant. We try to bring a sense of fun and happiness to their bedside.

What does your charity do, exactly?
 As our name suggests, we are clinical clowns. We visit hospitals and care homes as clowns, and keep young and old patients company in their bedrooms. We tend to focus on sick children, but we also work with dementia patients in care homes. We work mainly in Cologne – at the university hospital, for example – but also in Bonn, Düsseldorf and Oberhausen.
Sickbed diversions.
Sickbed diversions: the clowns make a stay in a hospital or care home more bearable.
How do you fit in with the hospital or care home's routine?
We don't turn up unannounced. Notice is always given of our arrival. A sign is put up stating who we are and when we are coming. Usually we make weekly visits. Once we've arrived, we first get a briefing from the nurses and carers about the patients – their names, ages etc. Then we visit the patients in their rooms. Mostly we work in pairs. This is important, as we are constantly improvising, so this way we can support each other. What happens then is mostly up to the patient. They decide not just whether or not they want us to stay, but they take on the role of director as well. This can be helpful for them, as they have often had to relinquish control over their lives to the nursing staff.

How do you go about adapting your behaviour to each individual patient?
It's something we are trained to do. Most of us are artists such as musicians, actors, performers or drama teachers, and as well as being trained clowns we have also been especially trained as 'clinical clowns'. We have a six-month apprenticeship period, so we operate the charity along rigorous professional standards. We have to be considerate of the patients and aware of their moods. We work with music, magic and household objects, or we might, say, draw eyes and a mouth on the drip stand. With dementia patients, we might just pretend to wait for a bus with them. The main thing is to help the patient.
That all sounds like a lot of work. Are you very busy?
 Absolutely. We get so many requests that we have to turn some of them down. We currently have eight fully-trained clowns and five still undergoing training. We work with sixteen establishments, all of which we visit weekly. At the same time, you have to realise that you can't do it full-time, because improv takes up so much energy. So we never work for more than three hours at a stretch.

 How is your work financed?
As professional clowns, we receive a fee. We have to rely on this, as we all work freelance and have to pay for our own costumes and training. As the establishments themselves only pay part of our fee, we depend for the rest on donations and sponsorship. So I'm really pleased that WDR mediagroup has given us a donation. It will help us to keep going.

Ms. Backhaus, thank you very much for your insights into life as a clinical clown.
2013 Christmas donation
In 2013 WDR mediagroup supported the forest pirate camp run by the German Children's Cancer charity. Waldpiraten-Camp

Career and family

Career and family

Copyright: audit berufundfamilie
HR manager Stefan Hölzgen (second from right) at the award ceremony of the certificate from audit berufundfamilie in Berlin on June 29, 2015.
Family-friendly policies are part of WDR mediagroup's corporate philosophy. A wide range of initiatives is available to help employees meet their commitments to both their career and their family.

WDR mediagroup has been awarded several times for its initiatives and since 2005 has been certified by the 'audit berufundfamilie' [career and family audit]. It has also been recognised for the diversity of its workforce.
audit berufundfamilie audit berufundfamilie
The audit berufundfamilie is an initiative by the non-profit Hertie Foundation. It helps companies to implement a sustainable, family-friendly HR policy. Recommended by major German trade unions, it assesses the scope for family-friendly policies and offers companies tailored solutions. WDR mediagroup first received the audit's basic certification back in 2005, since then certification has been reconfirmed many times, most recently in March 2015.
Erfolgsfaktor Familie Erfolgsfaktor Familie
Germany's Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior. Citizens, Women and Youth founded the Erfolgsfaktor Familie [Family Success Factor] competition to recognise the country's most family-friendly firms. The aim is to publicise success stories, air ideas and highlight the fact that family-friendly policies benefit both employees and employers. In 2005 and 2008, WDR mediagroup was among the winners in the SME category.
W&V Familie W&V Familie
In the spring of 2008, the trade publication Werben & Verkaufen [Advertising & Sales] launched the W&V Familie [W&V Family] competition to award the most family-friendly companies in the communications sector. WDR mediagroup received one of the six awards.
Vielfalt gewinnt! Vielfalt gewinnt
Vielfalt gewinnt [Diversity wins] a competition run by the city of Cologne and the Kommunales Bündnis für Arbeit Köln [Communal Conferacy for Work Cologne]. It awards Cologne companies and organisations that recognise, promote and harness the diversity of their workforce. In summer 2010, WDR mediagroup was among the winners.

Reality and Comedy: New orginal WDR-formats on the market

Copyright: WDR Content buyers from all over the world can now purchase the rights to produce international adaptations or remakes of the brand new reality formats "My Garden on a Plate" (pictured) and "Made with Love" as well as the fictional comedy series "Suck it up!".

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"Little Sandman" added to sales catalogue

Copyright: Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (rbb) The German cult programme as well as four additional children's formats that deal with dreaming and going to sleep are now available for international TV broadcasting, DVD publication and video on demand exploitation.

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"Shaun the Sheep": New licensed products for pet accessories

Copyrights: Trixie Heimtierbedarf Trixie, the European market leader for pet supplies, will expand its popular range of "Shaun the Sheep" accessoires. Pet-owners can look forward to new plush squeak toys and cosy dog comforters.

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“WildWoods”: broadcasting rights available now

Copyright: Sixteen South The new live action series by Irish production studio Sixteen South will be filmed in summer 2017. It features puppets in beautiful outdoor locations and aims to encourage children to appreciate nature.

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Kavaleer and WDRmg team up for "Dougie Noir"

Copyright: Kavaleer, WDRmg 2016 Kavaleer Productions and WDR mediagroup will collaborate on a new 52 x 11 action-comedy series for 6-11 year olds, "Dougie Noir". The (estimated) €4.5m series is scheduled to begin pre-production Summer 2017.

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On the way to new heights in international commercial orbit

Copyright: NICI Q Pootle 5 travels at full throttle, and not just aboard his spaceship! Renowned toy manufacturers NICI and Bullyland will launch a range of new merchandising products at retail stores across Europe and beyond.

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