EBU: Four new members join the Reference Group

by Sanjay (Sergio) Jiandani 1,070 views

Four new members have joined the Eurovision Song Contest Reference Group thus replacing five former members who have stepped down.

Ana Maria Bordas (RTVE), Ebba Adielsson (SVT), Rachel Ashdown (BBC) and Bakel Walden (SSR SRG) have joined the Reference Group and will thus replace:

  • Dr. Frank-Dieter Freiling- (ZDF/Germany)(Chairman)
  • Mr. David Tserunyan- (AMPTV/Armenia)- Elected Member
  • Sietse Bakker- (NPO/ Netherlands)(Eurovision 2021 Executive Producer Event)
  • Mr. Yuval Cohen- (Israel) (Creative Director Eurovision 2019)
  • Ms. Astrid Dutrenit- (NPO/Netherlands)(Eurovision 2021 Executive Producer TV)

New Reference Group Chair appointed

Mr. Bakel Walden (SSR SRG) will be the new Eurovision Song Contest Reference Group Chair (- (Photo credit: SRG/Thomas Plain)

Mr. Bakel Walden will be replacing Dr. Frank Dieter Freiling as the chairman of the Reference Group. He was elected by the EBU’s TV Committee to take over the responsibility of chairing the Eurovision Song Contest Reference Group.

Mr. Bakel says:

I am honoured to have been chosen as the new Chair of the Eurovision Song Contest Reference Group. The Eurovision Song Contest is an iconic event that has been bringing people together for nearly seven decades, and I am excited to join the group at a time when the Contest has never been more popular and impactful. I look forward to working with the Reference Group’s members and stakeholders to advance and expand this unique event in an increasingly digital media landscape, while ensuring that the competition continues to be a celebration of music and diversity that unites the world.

The Refence Group

The Reference Group was formed by the European Broadcasting Union’s Television Committee in 1998. The Group meets up 5-6 times a year.

The main tasks of the body include approving format developments and changes to the rules, securing financing, modernizing the brand and raising awareness of the Eurovision Song Contest and overseeing the yearly preparation by the Host Broadcaster.

The Reference Group is composed of a Chairman, three members elected by the Heads of Delegation, two Executive Producers from previous host countries, as well as the Executive Producer of the current Host Broadcaster. The EBU’s Eurovision Song Contest Executive Supervisor is also a member of the Reference Group.

The Reference Group has a possibility to invite up to 2 extra professionals to join the group.

The Reference Group currently consists of the following members:

  • Bakel Walden (SSR SRG/Switzerland))(Chairman)
  • Ana Maria Bordas (RTVE)- Elected Member
  • Mr. Martin Osterdahl- (EBU Representative)
  • Ms. Carla Bugalho –(RTP/Portugal) (Eurovision 2018 Executive Producer) Elected Member
  • Mr. Felix Bergsson (RUV/Iceland) Elected Member
  • Simona Martorelli -(RAI/Italy) (Eurovision 2o22 Executive Producer)
  • Claudio Fasulo (RAI/Italy) (Eurovision 2022 Executive Producer)
  • Alexandra Wolflast  (NDR/ Germany) Elected Member
  • Rachel Ashdown (BBC/United Kingdom) (Lead Commissioner for BBC at Eurovision 2023)
  • Ebba Adielsson (SVT/Sweden) (Eurovision 2024 Executive Producer)

The current Reference Group includes the Heads of Delegation from Italy Germany, Iceland, Spain and Portugal.

The Eurovision Song Contest Reference Group is the executive Committee for all Members, its purpose being to control and guide the Eurovision Song Contest and meets four to five times each year on behalf of all Participating Broadcasters, and is required to take decisions in the general interest of the Eurovision Song Contest.

Source: EBU