In reality, salaries at ARD are supposed to go down. Individual broadcasters are already implementing downward salary adjustments. Saarland Broadcasting has introduced a salary cap. But, as the newspaper Bild am Sonntag (Bams) reports, documents from a working group at the Conference of Chairmen of the ARD Committee (GVK) suggest that the salary adjustment also contains loopholes so that directors remain the top earners.

When the new WDR director is elected on June 27, his salary will be tied to a “special calculation.” This should continue to be based on the salaries of the Federal Chancellor and the Prime Minister. The ARD-GVK working group also mentions other possible comparison groups. The income of IHK presidents, cultural directors or general directors of municipal companies and municipal services is also apparently included in the list. However, the committee appears to have used a trick.

Apparently significantly larger sums are mentioned in the lists. The ARD document cited by “Bams” says that in the “closest peer group” of “decreasing comparability” the Chancellor earns around 525,000 euros per year. The prime ministers, in turn, should receive up to 422,000 euros. Therefore, the extrapolation was carried out by the responsible ARD tax office. Higher salary figures make directors' salaries look low. If real salaries were given, the desired salaries for directors would be quite exaggerated.

However, not all ARD broadcasters want to use this surprising trick. “There are two sides,” a representative of the ARD committee tells “Bams.” “It is one thing to maintain moderation. But for some major broadcasters, the show is not over yet.”

That is what the ARD bosses deserve today

The one who earns the most is the director of WDR, Tom Buhrow, with an annual salary of 433,200 euros. Kai Gniffke from SWR wins 392,000 euros and Joachim Knut from NDR wins 362,005 euros. This means that some ARD directors earn more than the Chancellor. For comparison: Olaf Scholz earns a good 30,200 euros per month. This corresponds to an annual salary of 362,400 euros.

The figures are based on publications by the respective broadcasters and refer to the year 2022. However, the figures caused a stir when they were published last summer. In addition to politicians talking about “astronomical salaries” and “toxic behavior”, the commission responsible for determining financial needs (KEF) is now also calling for a reduction in salaries.

The RBB scandal continues to affect broadcasting

Public broadcasting fell into a serious crisis last summer. Then he had to reveal the salaries of those who earned the most. Attention focused on broadcaster ARD Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB), with accusations of nepotism and waste against the then director Patricia Schlesinger and the resigned chairman of the board of directors Wolf-Dieter Wolf. Both denied the accusations. In NDR again there were different accusations against managers.