Deutschlandradio will in next year abandon this name as a media brand. What is now Deutschlandradio Kultur will then become "Deutschlandfunk Kultur" while DRadio Wissen, the digital-only station with a whopping market share of at present 0.03 percent (16,000 listeners per day in the whole of Germany), will be called "Deutschlandfunk Nova".
Goal of this move is to use only a single brand, the most widely known one they have. They consider it as essential for being clearly recognized in the digital world (i.e. outside the broadcasting zoo) where they already see a great rise in the use of their offerings.
This move is a bit sensitive because Deutschlandfunk at Cologne had considered itself the only legitimate national broadcaster until the federal states decided to have a Berlin branch as well, created by merging RIAS and Deutschlandsender. This merge did not go well at all (thus history is not history in this case), as described in this newspaper report from 2014 which, I'm told, does not make up the situation.
Of course it is not true that the last mediumwave transmitter in Germany has been switched off on New Year's Day, with Vilseck 1107 kHz still being on air. That's just the narrative successfully established by Deutschlandradio PR.
And "covering Central Europe": You can check out for yourself now, the transmitter has been turned on a few days ago with a special test loop (not the audio on the web stream that goes out on FM, too) of a voice announcement and morse code. At night I found this morse code poking through the jumble of Italy and Spain in the Netherlands and likewise, except that 1575 is mostly Italy here, also 100 km east of Halle. But that's about all.
The mediumwave transmitter was supposed to achieve 0.5...0.6 kW, to be installed at the same ham radio facility as the temporary FM transmitter (on a frequency used already on earlier occassions).
Kai Ludwig (via dxld yg)