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Norag and the Culture of the 1920’s in Hamburg

Norag and the Culture of the 1920’s in Hamburg

In the 1920’s, a new mass medium appeared in the shape of radio and rapidly developed into a decisive cultural factor. As an important metropolitan centre in northern Germany, Hamburg became the seat of one of the large regional broadcasters.

On 2 May 1924, Norag, the regular broadcasting service of "Nordische Rundfunk Aktiengesellschaft [Nordic Broadcasting Company]", started. Within a few years, Norag, as an institution with its staff and diverse programme offerings, has become a key player in the literary, musical and entertainment fields as well as a decisive force in regional culture and the Low German language.

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Project Description

"Hallo, hallo! Hier Radio! [Hello! Hello! Radio Speaking!]” A New Medium Finds Its Voice
Broadcasting in Hamburg 1924-1933

The results of the project were presented to the public in the first half of 2010 in the festival programme “Himmel auf Zeit ”. The publisher Wachholz (Neumünster) published a 420-page catalogue with many illustrations. Dirk Hempel and Friederike Weimar, the editors of the catalogue, assemble 17 essays on the various topics of the culture of the 1920s in Hamburg, including music, theatre, literature, cinema, architecture, photography and dance. Wencke Stegemann and Hans-Ulrich Wagner report on the radio broadcasting, on the organizational and programming history of Norag, the Nordische Rundfunk AG [Nordic Broadcasting Company].

The North Goes On Air
Series of Articles on the Beginnings of Broadcasting in Northern Germany

“Hello, this is Norag“: on 2 Mai 1924 a new medium asked politely and modestly for attention. On this day, the Nordische Rundfunk AG [Nordic Broadcasting Company], Norag for short, began its programme operations in Hamburg. Four months earlier, in January 1924, merchants had signed the founding documents for the first Northern German broadcasting company.

2014, to mark the 90th anniversary of these events, a series of online articles was created. The contributions focus on key documents and rediscovered photos that tell an exciting story about the ‘radio fever years’. These Norag stories lead us back to the beginnings of the new medium when radio came to the media ensemble in Northern Germany.

zum 90. Jahrestag dieser Ereignisse, entstand eine Serie mit Online-Artikeln. Im Mittelpunkt der Beiträge stehen jeweils Schlüsseldokumente und wieder aufgefundene Fotos, die eine spannende Geschichte der Radiofieber-Jahre erzählen. Diese Norag-Geschichten führen in die Anfänge des neuen Mediums ein, als der Rundfunk zum Medienensemble in Norddeutschland trat.
• Alina Laura Tiews: Kaufleute als Medienmacher: Die Eintragung der Norag in das Hamburger Handelsregister am 19. Januar 1924 [Merchants as Media Makers: The Entry of Norag in the Hamburg Commercial Register on 19 January 1924]
• Alina Laura Tiews: 2. Mai 1924: Die Norag geht auf Sendung [2 Mai 1924: Norag Goes Live]
• Hans-Ulrich Wagner: Der Rundfunk im Postgebäude: Der Medienstandort Binderstraße, Ecke Schlüterstraße [Broadcast in the Post Office Building: The Media Location Binderstraße, Corner Schlüterstraße]
• Alina Laura Tiews: Jeden Sonntag um sechs. Das „Hamburger Hafenkonzert“ der Norag ist die traditionsreichste Rundfunksendung der Welt [Every Sunday at Six. Norag’s “Hamburger Hafenkonzert” Is the Most Traditional Radio Broadcast in the World]
• Philipp Seuferling: Werbung für die Valvo-Röhren aus Hamburg: Rundfunkindustrie in der Medienmetropole [Advertising for the Volvo Tubes from Hamburg: Broadcasting Industry in the Media Metropolis]
• Hans-Ulrich Wagner: 8. Januar 1931: Ein Funkhaus für den Norden [8 January 1931: A Radio Station for the North]

Project Information


Duration: 2008-2010

Research programme:
RP3 - Knowledge for the Media Society

Involved persons

Dr. Hans-Ulrich Wagner

Third party


Cooperation Partner

D. Hempel (Universität Hamburg), F. Weimar (Hamburg)

Contact person

Dr. Hans-Ulrich Wagner
Senior Researcher Media History

Dr. Hans-Ulrich Wagner

Forschungsstelle Mediengeschichte
Leibniz-Institut für Medienforschung | Hans-Bredow-Institut (HBI)
Rothenbaumchaussee 36
20148 Hamburg

Tel. +49 (0)40 45 02 17-0

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