Wahl Patricia Schlesinger als RBB-Intendantin

Urgently wanted: an interim director for Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB). He – or she – should stabilize the station, help to ensure the workability and thus the future viability of the public institution for Berlin and Brandenburg – and thus prepare the ground for a final solution at the top of the station. The committees, administrative and broadcasting boards have already set out to personalize this external support. The first names are making the rounds, and it is clear that there will be no shortage of suitable personalities of integrity.

Roland Jahn is mentioned. Three qualifications stand out. The 69-year-old was the last head of the Stasi records authority BStU. In this function, which he held from 2011 until the authority was transferred to the Federal Archives in 2021, he learned to lead and manage a large apparatus with a sensitive task. Jahn came into this role as a journalist and civil rights activist in the GDR. After he was forced to emigrate to West Berlin in 1983, he worked for the “tageszeitung” and for the political magazine “Kontraste” from Sender Freies Berlin (SFB), from 1991 for Ostdeutscher Rundfunk Brandenburg (ORB), which was formed from the two ARD stations RBB continued “Kontraste”, from 2006 onwards with Jahn as head of the service and deputy editor-in-chief. Thirdly, Roland Jahn was born in Jena in 1953. From Brandenburg in particular, it can be heard again and again that an East German should now move to the top of the RBB.

People who have already done a similar or even the same job and who have successfully avoided the pitfalls of public broadcasting are particularly suitable as firefighters. Two names that fit this profile can be heard – both are former directors of the ARD. The lawyer Peter Boudgoust, formerly press spokesman for the regional council in Stuttgart, was director of the SWR from 2007 to 2019. Boudgoust will be 68 in December. He prematurely ended his third term at SWR with reference to his age. As an elder statesman in Berlin, he could still organize the station’s return to regular channels. The fact that, as online director of ARD, he pushed ahead with the development of the media library and the audio library of the broadcasting network and was instrumental in the founding of the youth channel funk, does not have to be a disadvantage. What would be decisive, however, would be his expertise as a bridge builder within ARD, which he demonstrated as ARD chairman between 2009 and 2010, among other things.

What applies to Boudgoust can also be used as an argument for Ulrich Wilhelm. From 2011 to 2021, the Munich resident, who just turned 61, was director of the Bayerischer Rundfunk. In 2018 and 2019, as ARD chairman, he managed the fortunes of the working group. Before his time as BR boss, Wilhelm was the government spokesman and the voice of Angela Merkel. Wilhelm was therefore far enough away from the RBB to rule out any entanglement. What could stand in the way of his appointment as RBB rescuer: At the beginning of the month he just took over the chairmanship of the board of trustees of the Conclusion Foundation, the main shareholder of the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung”. He is also co-managing director of the foundation.

And Ulrich Deppendorf? Known in Berlin and beyond as a sore thumb. How different, the 72-year-old has moderated 298 editions of the “Report from Berlin”. In addition, from 2007 to 2015 he was studio manager and editor-in-chief for television at the ARD capital city studio in Berlin. Delegated and commissioned by Westdeutscher Rundfunk, for which he worked as a television director. He knows the ARD inside out, not least because he was also chief editor of “Tagesschau” and “Tagesthemen”. Ulrich Deppendorf has already come very close to the RBB: in 2003 he was under discussion as director, but Dagmar Reim was chosen.