Former ZDF director Dieter Stolte is dead. He died on Sunday in Berlin at the age of 89, the broadcaster in Mainz announced. Stolte was at the helm of ZDF from 1982 to 2002. He then edited the newspapers for several years Welt and Berlin morning post.
The current ZDF director Norbert Himmler praised him as a convinced advocate of the public service system. “For Dieter Stolte, television was not only a reporter, but also a motor of German unity,” Himmler is quoted in the statement. When the new states joined the ZDF State Treaty in 1990, ZDF received a nationwide programming mandate as a national broadcaster.
Stolte was born in Cologne in 1934 and came to ZDF in 1962 as a personal assistant to the founding director Karl Holzamer. In 1967, he reportedly became head of the newly created program planning department. In 1976 he took up the position of program director. In 2002 Stolte handed over his position to Markus Schächter.
During Stolte’s tenure, many of the station’s major program brands were launched, ZDF said, such as “Terra X”, “The TV Film of the Week” and “Saturday Crime”. The “ZDF-Mittagsmagazin” was launched in 1989, followed in 1992 by the “ZDF-Morgenmagazin”.
“Dieter Stolte has built ZDF into a modern, competitive media company,” said Himmler. “3sat, Arte, KiKa, Phoenix, the first digital channels of ZDF – all of this happened during his four terms in office.” Former ZDF editor-in-chief Klaus Bresser said Bild: “Dieter was a good friend to us and an outstanding director who always had the well-being of ZDF firmly in mind.”
Under his aegis, the public broadcaster ZDF had to arm itself against the new competition from private television – and decide on the first drastic cost-cutting measures due to dramatically reduced advertising revenue.