Licht Aus - Spot An: How Schlager (ZDF 1969-1984) Beat Disco (ZDF 1971-1982)

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German Politics And Society


During the broadcast era, dominant culture reigned supreme on West German television. Das Zweite Deutsche Fernsehen (ZDF) achieved ratings of close to 74 percent during the long Saturday slot in the 1970s. This mass reach, especially of its live popular music programs with built-in audience votes, is often disregarded in historical arguments that focus on the political disunion of that decade. This article takes a closer look at two very different, yet exceptionally popular music shows, Deutsche Hitparade (1969–1984) and Disco (1971–1982), to investigate how the anxiety over sociopolitical change is negotiated on live television, how medium specificity intersects with constructions of masculinity and authority, and how different music and television formats question, manage and produce a national imaginary.


disco, gender, German television, Hitparade, televisual flow, ZDF

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