Since July 1991, the Cologne-based private broadcaster RTL has been a permanent institution as a German free-TV provider of live Formula 1 races. RTL has accompanied many fans through different eras for decades: first there was Michael Schumacher, with the golden Ferrari years, then The four titles came from Sebastian Vettel – and finally also from Nico Rosberg.
Together with RTL, moderator Florian KOnig also became a fixed star in the sky of many German Formula 1 fans. in the Formula 1 podcast ‘Starting Grid’ Hosts Kevin Scheuren and Ole Waschkau KOnig have now invited visitors to take a fascinating look behind the scenes of the Grand Prix broadcasts on RTL over an interview lasting almost two hours.
The podcast, a co-production by meinsportpodcast.de and Motorsport-Total.com/Formel1.de, also confronts KOnig with a criticism that is repeatedly voiced and hotly debated in the community, but RTL has rarely taken a public position on it. In Starting Grid, KOnig is not afraid to handle this hot potato and be honest with it.
“In retrospect, if I may say so, we naturally madly capriciously back at Michael back then,” he replies to the criticism that RTL had been doing “Schumacher-TV” for many years and sometimes put journalistic objectivity too far away.
Schumacher era at RTL: those were golden years …
“But that was also the mainstream at the time, the viewers’ wish, I think. The audience ratings alone back then! In the 2000 or 2001 season, we had over ten million viewers [Zuschauer] on average. With all night races, and so on, “explains KOnig.
“Of course they were watching because of Michael. Every 14 days there is the German anthem, and our Michael, who drives best. And so on. We were looking forward to that.” RTL surfed on this wave – or, as KOnig puts it: “We gave the monkey sugar.”
“In retrospect, we were actually too topical at the time,” he admits. “We have reported too little about the others, too little maybe fairly about his competition. I have to say that. Everything has changed over the years.”
“But I have nothing to regret. That was the case, and that was also right from my point of view at the time. We didn’t know better at the time, and maybe we were so intoxicated by these Schumacher successes, along with ours Quota success that we did not question that. No question. ”
“I think maybe we would do it a little differently today. But that was the right thing to do at the time,” says the moderator – and uses an example to illustrate the change of heart: “I have a lot to do with Damon Hill today, the colleague is in English Pay-TV Sky, with which I get along really well. We go to play golf every now and then. ”
King regrets: Damon Hill is actually a nice guy
“Of course Damon Hill was the opponent, the bad guy. That was the narrative back then, in the Benetton years. He’s anything but that. He’s a fine guy, a thoughtful person. We were very black- knows reported, “said King.
But: “At that time I think that was also the way of looking at things. I think people in Germany asked for it too. It’s always the question: do you serve what is there or do you create any mood? I think that was a little bit mutually dependent. ”
The complete interview with Florian KOnig is now available for listening in our radio player, via iTunes subscription from ‘Starting Grid’ (coming soon: Mario Theissen) or from our cooperation partner meinsportpodcast.de.
Speaking of podcasts: KOnig is now freelance and no longer employed by RTL – and “casually” runs his own podcast with interview guests from the world of sport.