The Reference Group
The Eurovision Song Contest Reference Group is the executive Expert Committee for all Members, its purpose being to control and guide the Eurovision Song Contest. The Reference Group was established by the European Broadcasting Union's Television Committee in 1998 and its main tasks are approving the development and future format of the Eurovision Song Contest, securing the financing, modernizing the brand and raising awareness and overseeing the yearly preparation by the Host Broadcaster.
The Reference Group 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. The Reference Group is composed of a Chairman, three elected members of the Entertainment Experts Group of the EBU, two Executive Producers from previous host countries, as well as the Executive Producer of the current Host Broadcaster and the EBU Eurovision Song Contest Executive Supervisor.
Swedish-born Svante Stockselius is the Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest and the Junior Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of the EBU. After a 16-year carreer at the Swedish newspaper Expressen, he moved to the national broadcaster SVT. In 2000, he was Executive Producer of the Eurovision Song Contest. Stockselius was also one one of the architects of the current Swedish national selection format, Melodifestivalen. He took office as Executive Supervisor in 2004. The 2009 contest is the sixth under his supervision.
Dr. Frank-Dieter Freiling
Dr. Frank-Dieter Freiling from Germany is the Chairman 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 Chairman when electing him in 2009.
Federico Llano is Head of Festivals at the Spanish public broadcaster RTVE and represents the so called 'Big Four' (Spain, France, Germany and the United Kingdom) in the Reference Group. Llano has been head of the Spanish Eurovision Song Contest delegation for numerous years. He succeeded Jürgen Meier-Beer from Germany as representative of the 'Big Four' in the Reference Group.
Julian Vignoles is Assistant Commissioning Editor of Entertainment and Music Programmes at Ireland's public broadcaster RTÉ. He is one of the elected members of the Reference Group of the Eurovision Song Contest. Vignoles, television producer and director, has been head of the Irish delegation for numerous years and was also involved with the Irish participation in the Eurovision Dance Contest.
Christer Björkman is one of Sweden's foremost pop experts. He's been a singer and represented Sweden in the 1992 Eurovision Song Contest. Björkman is the man behind the very successful Swedish Melodifestivalen, their national selection for Europe's favourite TV-show. He's also a TV-presenter.
Sandra Šuša was the Executive Producer of last year's Eurovision Song Contest in Belgrade, on behalf of the Serbian national public broadcaster RTS, and as such member of the Reference Group. Šuša is Head of Entertainment at RTS and is a respected television producer in her home country. She was also a member of the jury in the Serbian national final for the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest.
Yuri Aksyuta was the Executive Producer of the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of broadcaster Channel One Russia. Aksyuta, who has been involved with the contest at Channel One for several years, kept the Reference Group up-to-date on the preparations for the 54th Eurovision Song Contest.
Jon Ola Sand
Jon Ola Sand is the Executive Producer of the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest. Sand, a producer by profession, has extensive experience and success in television project management from both NRK as well as TV2, the second largest broadcaster in Norway (after NRK). It's up to him to keep the Reference Group up-to-date on the preparations of the 55th edition of Europe's favourite TV-show.
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