Without fancy: Celebrity birthday from December 16: Peter Boudgoust

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He has directed Südwestrundfunk for twelve years, and has now switched to the role of viewer, listener and user.

Peter Boudgoust sees advantages and disadvantages in this: «I miss the everyday contact with many colleagues. I don't miss the many switch conferences and business trips. »He wants to celebrate his 65th birthday on Monday (December 16) as he was the director: calm and modest, without much fanfare.

His successor Kai Gniffke, who has been in office since September, has announced some changes in the second largest ARD station. When handing over the staff, he also made it clear that he had a lot to thank his predecessor. For example, the digital youth service funk, with which ARD and ZDF reach a young audience online. In addition, orderly finances: Boudgoust deliberately cut hundreds of posts without causing distortions in the two-country institution.

Since the merger of Südwestfunk and Süddeutscher Rundfunk in 1998, there have always been suspicious clashes between the main locations in Stuttgart, Mainz and Baden-Baden. Boudgoust acted as a mediator and balancer. The "probably most difficult decision" for him during his term in office was the amalgamation of the two SWR orchestras in Stuttgart and Freiburg. He received a lot of criticism for this, but sees himself confirmed today: Instead of "slowly saving two good orchestras to mediocrity", the SWR symphony orchestra celebrates many successes with great quality.

Critics linked the Boudgoust course with a trend towards more entertainment and depoliticization. At the farewell party in September, the keynote speaker Diemut Roether called for more "uncomfortable content", less "wellbeing program" with "cooking country women".

For Boudgoust, there is no question that public service broadcasting is important for social cohesion: "It will remain attractive in the future because we are rooted in the regions." At the same time, the individual use of media content by new competitors such as Netflix is ​​also increasing and Amazon too. "In five to ten years, we will only use the linear program primarily as a showcase for what is then called up non-linearly," predicted Boudgoust, who was also ARD chairman for two years, at his last SWR annual press conference.

In contrast to Gniffke, the native of Mannheim is rooted in Baden-Württemberg: law studies in Heidelberg and Mannheim, social councilor in the Main-Tauber district, press spokesman for the Stuttgart regional council, then in the state ministry of the state government. In 1995 he became a lawyer and finance director at the SDR in Stuttgart. With his residence on the edge of the Swabian Jura, he remains connected to the region even after he has left.

He is not yet fully retired, where he wants to get a sailing license, among other things. He will continue to work as President of the public broadcaster Arte until the end of 2020. "I can now use my time more intensively for this," he says. «Arte has long been more than just a German-French television station, but offers many digital offers, a large part of which are in six European languages. This enables us to reach 70 percent of our European users in their mother tongue. »

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