Engineer Anton Kathrein dies in June 1972, just a few weeks after his 84th birthday. His son, then just 21 years old, succeeds him at the helm of the company. His childhood and youth were strongly influenced by the company. The young economist practically grew up in the enterprise. Like his father, he too has foresight, the knack of making use of opportunities and a sharp business acumen.
The Oil Crisis also affects Kathrein
Right from the start Prof. Dr. Anton Kathrein proves he has visionary spirit coupled with tenacity and strength of character – and he needs it. At the beginning of the 1970s the age of social affluence in Germany reaches its limits for the first time. The oil crisis in 1973 marks the end of the economic miracle. As a result, issues which were hitherto unheard of for the most part enter the scene, e.g. reduced working hours, unemployment and rising social expenditure. In 1974, just two years after his sudden ascension to the position of managing partner, Kathrein is at the edge of the abyss. His banks refuse further loans on account of the weak global economy. It is only with aggressive sales measures that the young entrepreneur can keep his company afloat. He never again places his trust in external banks and achieves independence. He goes so far as to found his own bank, the Erste Rosenheimer Privatbank AG.
In terms of technology, Kathrein continues to live up to its reputation as a pioneer in communication technology: the company’s managing director has – like his father – the knack of recognising market opportunities and leading these to successful outcomes. For instance, in the mid-1970s the company launches the first TV antennas for caravans and camper vans on the market. Now people can also watch TV while on holiday on the road.
Our tradition requires us to be creative today in preparation for tomorrow.
(Prof. Dr. Anton Kathrein)
In addition, he keenly recognises what big development is just round the corner: satellite TV will revolutionise the television landscape and Kathrein is to be a key player in this. The World Broadcasting – Satellite Administrative Conference held in Geneva in 1977 resolves on a global satellite broadcasting plan. For the first time Kathrein defines the satellite positioning of individual countries. He resolves to make entrepreneurial use of the new technical opportunities of satellite reception technology.
In the mid-1980s the industry strongly anticipates that there will soon be a mass market breakthrough in satellite TV as a result of compact TV Sat reception systems: In 1987 Kathrein copyrights its slogan “Das Fernsehen hat Flügel bekommen mit KATHREIN-SatAn” (TV gets wings with KATHREIN SatAn). In actual fact, the breakthrough doesn’t happen until 1989. At this time the first channels begin broadcasting via the ASTRA 1 satellite. The first German channels are Sat.1, Pro 7 and RTLplus.