Armin Wolf is in the middle of a sentence when suddenly you can hear music.
SZ: Mr. Wolf, we need a brief explanation for people over 25. What kind of dance was that that you showed in “ZiB 2”?
Armin Wolf: It’s called “Chopping Dance” and has been a hype on Tiktok for a few weeks. You don’t have to understand.
What if you want to understand it?
In Tiktok this is called “Questions I Get Asked” and is usually associated with answering a few questions about this music. Whenever the hands point up, the answers are shown there. We didn’t do that on TV yesterday, so I just wanted to make a little reference to Tiktok.
You look very focused.
I was also very focused!
Have you found it difficult to learn the “chopping dance”?
The movement itself is not that difficult, only you actually do it silently on Tiktok, just to the music. But I had to speak at the same time on the show and I found that surprisingly difficult.
How long have you been practicing?
We recorded it six or seven times until it fit.
Are you on the Tiktok so much anyway that you knew the “Chopping Dance” for a long time?
I’m responsible for social media in the editor-in-chief of ORF, so I know a little about that. If you go to Tiktok, you’ll see the dance in every fifth video, you can’t get away with it. But what his name is, I had to look up first, I have to admit. The idea was to point out the start of our Tiktok channel in the broadcast. That I did that with the “dance” was a very short-term decision. I actually learned it for our first clip on Tiktok, a promotional video.
In it you can be seen with a young colleague, and you say that you are not the “old white man” who present the Tiktok account. Why not?
Because far too many older people are already explaining to the young how the world is or should be. There really are enough old white men in the media. Young people should do this on the young platform Tiktok. That’s why we looked for them specifically. Idan Hanin is 19 and has incredible journalistic talent, and Ambra Schuster has just turned 25.
You are also very active on Twitter.
I’m only active on Twitter.
Because you like it better there?
Absolutely clear, yes. I’m just too old for Tiktok.
The age limit remains 25.
Exactly. I’m just over there.
What’s your problem with Tiktok?
Tiktok is like a big sack of marshmallows to me. Insanely cute and picky and fun, but totally addicting. You can’t stop. You see a lot of entertaining, funny, and also very amazing things at an unbelievable speed, but it has practically zero nutritional value, with the exception of very few accounts, like the “Tagesschau” or a few American and British media outlets. With “Zeit im Bild” we want to bring in a few vitamins and calories because there are so many young people on this platform.
Now you are being celebrated on social media for a, quote, “legendary” television moment.
I’ve been doing things like that at the end of “ZiB 2” for almost 20 years. I’ve already sat there in shorts, in slippers, with strange wigs, I’ve already stood or lied at the moderation table. For people who watch “ZiB 2” regularly, this is not at all unusual.
Which trends or challenges would have been possible as an alternative?
We briefly considered whether we should do a shuffle dance video or some other dance challenge. But that was a little too much for us to learn. The hand movements went faster. But I don’t intend to be the big Tiktoker either. Fortunately, there are other and more talented people for this.