The Eurovision Song Contest is organised yearly by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), together with the Host Broadcaster and some 40 Participating Broadcasters. Get to know the organisation and the people behind the biggest and most exciting song competition in the world!
The contest is overseen by the Reference Group on behalf of the Participating Broadcasters. Each Participating Broadcaster is represented by a Head of Delegation.
The Eurovision Song Contest is organized by the European Broadcasting Union, the world’s foremost alliance of public service media, representing 117 member organizations in 56 countries and an additional 34 Associates in Asia, Africa, Australasia and the Americas.
EBU organisers: The EBU supports and supervises the work of the Host Broadcaster and is the central point of contact of all Participating Broadcasters. Together with its Partners, the EBU is centrally dealing with all matters related to the brand, international marketing activities, rights management, voting, communications and online activities.
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) is the world’s leading alliance of public service media (PSM). We believe strong PSM is at the heart of democratic societies and are committed to championing and upholding its unique value at both a national and international level. We represent 119 member organizations in 56 countries in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East and also have 33 associate PSM organizations in the Americas, Asia, Africa and Australasia.
Our Members operate almost 2,000 television, radio and online channels and services and offer a wealth of content across other platforms. Together, our Members reach audiences of more than one billion people around the world, broadcasting in more than 160 languages.
We campaign for a sustainable future for public service media, provide our Members with world-class content from news to sports and music, and build on our founding ethos of solidarity and co-operation to create a centre for learning and sharing.
Our business arm, Eurovision Media Services, enables media organizations and sport federations to maximise their content value by producing and delivering relevant sport, news and culture/entertainment content to the right audiences at the right time.
We employ 430 staff (permanent and temporary positions) of over 40 nationalities at our headquarters in Geneva and our worldwide branches and subsidiaries (Beijing, Brussels, Moscow, New York, Rome, Singapore and Washington DC).
Discover more about the EBU on www.ebu.ch.
Reference Group: The Reference Group, established in 1998, is the executive committee of the Eurovision Song Contest. Its purpose is to oversee the organisation and guide the contest on behalf of the Participating Broadcasters.
The Eurovision Song Contest Reference Group is the executive expert committee on behalf of all Participating Broadcasters. Its purpose is to oversee and guide the organisation and its evolution.
The main tasks of the Reference Group include approving format developments, securing financing, modernising the brand, raising awareness and overseeing the yearly preparation by the Host Broadcaster. The group also recommends or decides upon sanctions following regulatory breaches.
The Reference Group is composed of a Chairperson, three members elected by the Heads of Delegation, the Executive Producers from the previous two Host Broadcasters, 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, bringing the total number of members to eight.
The Reference Group was established by the European Broadcasting Union’s Television Committee in 1998. The Group meets approximately five to six times per year.
Currently, the group consists of the following members.
- Dr. Frank-Dieter Freiling: Dr. Frank-Dieter Freiling from Germany is the Chairperson of the Reference Group of the Eurovision Song Contest. He’s been in the field of media since 1987 when he started as a freelance journalist for the prestigious Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The last years he’s been involved with international relations in the German broadcaster ZDF, being the Director of International Affairs since 2000. ZDF is not a participating broadcaster of the Eurovision Song Contest in Germany (ARD/NDR is) but that was considered as an advantage to have a neutral Chairperson when electing him in 2009.
- Carla Bugalho (Executive Producer 2018): Carla Bugalho from RTP was the Deputy Executive Producer/Show Producer of the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest and joined the Reference Group following Portugal’s victory in the competition.
- Zivit Davidovich (Executive Producer 2019): Zivit Davidovitch from KAN is the Executive Producer of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest. She has been Vice President Content and Production, Head of Production (Chief Producer) and Vice President Production at Channel Ten in Israel.
- Emilie Sickinghe (elected member): Emilie Sickinghe works for the Dutch public broadcaster AVROTROS. She was re-elected to the Reference Group in 2017 for a two-year term. She has been Head of Delegation on behalf of the Netherlands since 2010.
- Rachel Ashdown (appointed member): Rachel works in BBC Entertainment Commissioning where her projects include the Eurovision Song Contest selection show as well as a number of BBC1 Saturday night Entertainment night series including All Together Now. Prior to joining the BBC, she was a freelance Executive Producer specialising in Entertainment Series and Events. Rachel was appointed to become a member in 2018. The Reference Group has a possibility to invite up to 2 extra professionals to join the group.
- Nicola Caligiore (elected member): Nicola Caligiore from the Italian broadcaster RAI has been involved with their delegation since their return in 2010. He is also one of the people who helped to bring Italy back to the Eurovision Song Contest. Nicola was re-elected to the Reference Group for the second time in 2017 for a two-year term.
- Jan Lagermand Lundme (invited member): Jan Lagermand Lundme works for Danish national broadcaster DR.
- Aleksander Radic (elected member): Aleksander Radic has been involved with the Eurovision Song Contest for many years in the Slovenian delegation. He works at the Slovenian EBU Member RTVSLO and was re-elected for the second time to the Reference Group in 2017 for a two-year term.
- Jon Ola Sand (EBU representative): The Norwegian Jon Ola Sand is the Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest. He has nearly 20 years of experience in major productions and co-productions at Norwegian public broadcaster NRK and TV2 Norway as well as independent production companies.He is also a member of the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, which hands out the EMMY Awards every year. He has produced or directed a variety of programmes, such as the Nobel Peace Prize Concert, the Norwegian Film Awards and the Norwegian national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest, Melodi Grand Prix.The Executive Supervisor of Europe’s favourite TV show has been Head of Delegation at the contest for Norway from 1998 to 2005. Since then, he has been commissioning editor at NRK. He was also the Executive Producer of the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest in Oslo.
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Reference Group as of June 2019: During the annual Heads of Delegation meeting in Tel Aviv, three positions were up for election. Italian representative Nicola Caligiore from RAI and Aleksander Radić from Slovenian broadcaster RTVSLO were re-elected, Swiss Head of Delegation Reto Peritz also got voted in. The Netherlands’ Emilie Sickinghe from AVROTROS will leave the Reference Group after serving two terms.
The newly composed Reference Group will get to work after the contest in Tel Aviv, when it will be joined by the Executive Producer of the 2020 contest.
Host Broadcaster:Since 1957 – a few exceptions aside – the Eurovision Song Contest is organised by the national public broadcaster of the country that won the year before. For the Host Broadcaster, organising the contest is often an unprecedented but exciting challenge. Therefore, the Host Broadcaster often cooperates closely with the Host City. The Host Broadcaster’s operations are being managed by its Executive Producer.
Heads of Delegations: Each Participating Broadcaster sends a delegation to the contest. While the artist is the most visible delegate, the Head of Delegation is actually in charge of the delegation. This person is the EBU’s main contact person, responsible for making sure their delegation acts in accordance with the Rules.
In football, each club has a coach. At the Olympics, each delegation has a ‘chef de mission’. At the Eurovision Song Contest, each participating delegation is being managed by the Head of Delegation.
Each public broadcaster taking part in the Eurovision Song Contest must appoint a Head of Delegation. This person is the European Broadcasting Union’s contact person and the leader of his or her delegation at the event.
A delegation, managed by the Head of Delegation, also includes a Head of Press, the actual participants, song writers, composers, backing vocalists and the artist’s entourage. The size of a delegation can vary greatly, from below 20 to nearly 50 people.
Traditionally, the delegation head visits the Heads of Delegation meeting in March, where everyone is being informed on the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest. The gathering also marks the official deadline to hand in the details of each country’s act.