Popp is the youngest son of the principal Heinrich Popp and his wife Ilse. His father taught German, history and geography at the gymnasium in Staßfurt . In 1951 the family fled to the Federal Republic, a few weeks after his father was released from three months of imprisonment in the GDR. The "crime" that the State Security accused him of was that he had read Western newspapers. At first the family of five lived in Bad Harzburg ; later she settled in Goslar . Popp first attended elementary school there and then switched to the modern language branch (English, French) of the Ratsgymnasiumfor boys, on which his father also taught. At the age of 15 he started writing: short stories and poetry. In the lower class he was already a member of the Association of German Writers (VS) and read from his works in public.
After his military service, which he did 18 months in Seeth , Schleswig-Holstein , he completed a two-year traineeship at the Goslarsche Zeitung . In January 1971 he moved to the Donau Kurier in Ingolstadt as chief reporter and from there (in October 1975) as political editor and head of "Current Affairs " in the main editorial office of the Westdeutsche Zeitung in Düsseldorf. From April 1979 he worked as a correspondent in the Bonn central editorial office of the Deutsche Depeschendienst ( ddp ).
On May 20, 1983 Rainer Popp took up his post as editor- in- chief at Radio Luxemburg . Seven months later he also became editor-in-chief of RTL television in a double function . From January 1, 1984, he developed and directed the RTLplus news program " Sieben vor Sieben " in addition to his radio duties . The first moderators were Geert Müller-Gerbes , Hans Meiser and Hergen Björn Schimpf and Maggie ceilingbrock.
Popp designed and managed the breakfast television RTL and was also from January 1988 successor Helmut Thoma , Office of the Program Director of Radio Luxembourg. In 1987, Droemer / Knaur published his book " A madhouse drives roller coaster / 30 years of Radio Luxembourg ", in which he described his professional experiences at RTL.
After leaving RTL, which he brought about at his own request and against the express will of the General Management, he first went to Munich, then to Vienna and in 1990 to Cologne, where he settled as a book author and media consultant. Among other things, he was responsible for the Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR) in 1991 as editor of the political-satirical puppet show " Hurra Deutschland " broadcast nationwide on ARD . In 1995 he was also the executive producer of the RTL night show with Thomas Koschwitz . Afterwards Popp worked as program director for the media agency Brainpoint in Frankfurt am Main .
Rainer Popp is a member of the Charter Europe against xenophobia, racism and anti-Semitism founded in 1990.  The then deceased Czech President Vaclav Havel was one of the 100 signatories to the Charter; likewise the writer Johannes Mario Simmel (1929–2009), the youth book bestseller author Michael Ende (1929–1995), the poetic songwriter Konstantin Wecker and the actor Heiner Lauterbach.
He attracted international attention - especially in Israel - with his "Nazi Test", when he was successful in 2002 under the pseudonym Rudolph Lehwald at the parties represented in the German parliament with racist and inhuman quotes from Hitler's book "Mein Kampf" applied for membership of the CDU, CSU, SPD, FDP and the Greens. At that time the Federal Government, Bundestag and Bundesrat tried in vain to ban the right-wing extremist NPD before the Federal Constitutional Court.
Rainer Popp was managing director of Tele Veronika GmbH from 2008 to 2016 . Society has died.
Popp has been married to the portrait and landscape painter Ingrid Popp (née Nehren) since 1973 and has two children; Son Gregor (born 1975) and daughter Kristina (born 1980). Popp is a member of the Charter Europe founded in 1990 against xenophobia and racism. He lives in Cologne.