Yesterday, news came out that the new Reference Group for the Eurovision Song Contest has been chosen. The Reference Group was established in 1998 by the Television Committee of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) with its main objective being taking decisions on the development and the future of the Eurovision Song Contest, modernising Eurovision as a brand, raising awareness of the contest, securing the financing and keeping an eye on the preparations by the host broadcaster of that particular year. Because of this, the Reference Group is also being referred to as the executive Expert Committee for all Members. This means they act on behalf of all the broadcasters and come together four to five times a year.
The Reference Group always consists of: a Chairman, a representative from the EBU, the Executive Producers of the previous two contests, the Executive Producer of the upcoming contest and three elected members from the so-called Entertainment Experts Group of the EBU, usually three Head of Delegations.
The Reference Group for the upcoming year looks as following:
- Dr. Frank-Dieter Freiling (Chairman)
- Jon Ola Sand (Executive Supervisor for the Eurovision Song Contest)
- Pernille Gaardbo (Executive Producer for Copenhagen in 2014)
- Edgar Böhm (Executive Supervisor for Vienna in 2015)
- Martin Österdahl (Executive Producer for Stockholm 2016 (also for Malmö in 2013))
- Aleksander Radic (Head of Delegation for Slovenia (RTVSLO))
- Emilie Sickinghe (Head of Delegation for The Netherlands (AVROTROS))
- Nicola Caligiore (Head of Delegation for Italy (RAI))
In the above picture, the Reference Group can be seen, together with Christer Björkman who is not a member of the Reference Group. From left to right can be seen: Christer Björkman, Edgar Böhm, Martin Österdahl, Jon Ola Sand, Pernille Gaardbo, Aleksander Radic, Emilie Sickinghe, Dr. Frank-Dieter Freiling and Nicola Caligiore.