Hanging mats for guinea pigs, interviews with merkel or autonomous drone cabs: in 20 minutes, "RTL aktuell" can be about almost anything. On its 5. April the news show celebrates its 30th anniversary. Birthday.
RTL aktuell" has been balancing between colorful consumer information and political reporting for just as long – and has thus become the most successful news format on private television.
There is hardly anyone who has been able to convey a message about ice babies more seriously than peter kloeppel. The agricultural science graduate has been hosting the show since 1992, and was RTL’s editor-in-chief until 2014. In march, a forsa survey commissioned by the program magazine "horzu" put him second only to claus kleber (ZDF) in the ranking of the most trusted news presenters.
The 59-year-old told the german press agency that the show’s concept had not changed much since 1988. "Back then, too, we wanted to make a news program that would inform people about everything that was important, especially, of course, about key political events. But today, just as 30 years ago, we also have reports on the air that touch directly on the reality of life and the everyday lives of our viewers."This distinguishes the program from the "tagesschau" (ARD – on the air since 1952) or the "heute" program on ZDF (on the air since 1963).
But after 30 years, "RTL aktuell" is also looking at a changed media landscape. In response to fake news, which has become increasingly widespread on social networks in recent years, the company has had its own verification team for about two years now.
Facebook remains indispensable for the station after the data scandal. There and on instagram, the show’s creators produce their own contributions. On facebook alone, "RTL aktuell" has more than 1.1 million fans. "But we have to be able to rely on the fact that the data that is recorded on facebook is handled properly," says kloeppel. "I myself assume that after the recent revelations, facebook is doing a lot to further curb abuse."
Of course you can get news all day long on the internet," he says. However, this is an incentive for the company’s own work: "we’re not just a push news medium, we put complex topics into context for our viewers, provide background information, and offer orientation."
For his more than seven hours of continuous moderation after the terrorist attacks on the world trade center on 11. September 2001 kloeppel received the adolf grimme award. Before the federal election, he traveled across the country on a motorcycle to "find out directly from the citizens about their problems," as the station put it.
These are actions that go down well with many people. In 2017, "RTL aktuell" was in third place behind its two public service competitors in terms of viewers: on average, 18+ viewers watched the show.45 o’clock 3.06 million people watch (market share: 14.3 percent). The ratings are particularly good among younger viewers between 14 and 59.
The show began in 1988 with the presenter hans meiser. Since 1992, kloeppel has anchored the show together with ulrike von der groeben, who is responsible for sports. The meteorologist christian hackl has also been with "RTL aktuell" for a long time – since 1994. And although kloeppel is now being relieved by maik meuser (since 2016) and charlotte maihoff (since 2017) as presenters, he is not thinking of quitting. His contract runs until 2020 – he can imagine continuing beyond then.
Kloeppel is no longer nervous before a broadcast. His last major mishap was also a long time ago. In 1992, he forgot to plug in his microphone: "I sabbed on it, which made the sound pretty muffled. Until I had noticed it then, some seconds had passed. ‘As you can hear, you can hear me as well as not. And now I’m going to see where my mike is’ – with these words I apologized to the viewers."Kloeppel continues: "then i found it under the very bottom, plugged it in and was able to get started with moderation. These are the moments that you will probably remember for the rest of your life."