SLOVENIA – The 2005 and 2017 Slovenian representative, Omar Naber, slammed the Slovenian press for lack of attention to his work saying through his social media posts that he believes that the press should pay more attention to the Slovenian musicians and singers. He says that he already recorded five albums and he is in the process to record his sixth one and that he will continue working in Slovenia, supporting the music industry of his country. It is hard but it is worth, eh concludes on his Facebook message.
The collapse of public service media (PSM) in Bosnia and Herzegovina is unacceptable. This is the conclusion of an international conference on PSM in the country, whose national public broadcaster, BHRT, has been facing huge financial problems throughout many years.
The conference took place in Sarajevo on the 13th and 14th of June. It was organised by the EBU, BHRT, the Bosnia and Herzegovina Journalist Association, the Council of Europe, the Office of the OSCE Representative of Freedom of the Media, the European Federation of Journalists and the South East Europe Media Organisation. The participants in the conference were discussing the financial, the judicial, the ethical and many other problems, that PMS in Bosnia and Herzegovina is facing. The result of the conference is 23 recommendations, which will be sent to all relevant authorities in the country and international partners in a few days, on the 19th of June 2017.
These are some of the most important recommendations:
• The need for urgent financial help for BHRT to ensure the continuation of its operation and prevent the threat of closure.
• The need for political will and political leadership to recognise the problems and identify workable solutions.
• The need for reform to PSM, in the mid-term, to ensure independent, professional and credible broadcasting.
• The need for reform to ensure stable and adequate funding for PSM and an appropriate mechanism for collecting and enforcing the broadcasting fee.
• The role of civil society in mobilizing citizens, engaging them in a dialogue about PSM and campaigning for the appropriate legal and institutional framework to allow them to fulfil their remit in accordance with European standards.
• The need to consolidate forces to overcome the current crisis.
• The need for the three PSM organisations in Bosnia and Herzegovina to reinforce a common dialogue, cooperating more and using all potential synergies to produce and distribute their content.
Some of the main reasons why PSM in Bosnia and Herzegovina suffers from poor conditions are insufficient and unsustainable funding and the luck of will among the politicians to make the necessary reforms to the media law. One of the consequences hereby is that the broadcaster has accumulated substantial debts of around 20 million Euro over a long period. EBU Board Member Marko Filli said though, that BHRT’s debt towards the EBU is the slightest problem and that is very easy to make an agreement regarding the repayment.
The other consequence is that if PSM collapses, Bosnia and Herzegovina will become the only country in Europe without a national public service broadcaster. Filli said, that it must not happen, as PSM is a fundamental of democracy as it facilitates the open debates, which can lead to the reforms in the society.
The crisis of PSM is the reason why the country participated only once in the Eurovision Song Contest since 2012. As we are waiting and hoping for that the broadcaster soon will solve their problems and return to Eurovision, you can watch Bosnia and Herzegovina 2011 entry. Here is Dino Merlin and his Love In Rewind.
ABBA have been awarded a blue plaque by the local BBC Radio station in the county of Sussex in the United Kingdom. In total 47 blue plaques were today awarded as part of BBC’s Music Day.
Today, ABBA have been awarded one of the 47 blue plaques awarded by BBC Sussex for BBC’s Music Day. The blue plaques have been awarded to people and places that have influenced the music industry. This is an unusual event as usually only one or two plaques are awarded each year.
Abba’s victory in 1974 at the Eurovision Song Contest at the Brighton Dome launched their career and changed the face of music. We are proud to celebrate Brighton’s connection with these international superstars whose music continues to inspire and bring joy to millions of people around the world.
BBC Sussex assistant editor Mark Carter
The plaque will be placed at the Brighton Dome which was the venue for the 19th Eurovision Song Contest where ABBA famously won the 1974 contest with Waterloo. It will be unveiled tonight live on BBC Sussex between 18:30-19:00 GMT. Popular ABBA tribute act Bjorn Again will be giving a special performance at the event at the Pavilion Gardens.
Further sites to receive a blue plaque include the Soho studio where David Bowie recorded Ziggy Stardust and Hounds pub in Caversham, Berkshire, where John Lennon and Paul McCartney played their only gig as The Nerk Twins.
GENEVA – The Reference Group meeting on June 14th the Ukrainian national broadcaster informed the European Broadcasting Union for the outcome of the aftermath for the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest.
Deputy Executive Director of the Central Directorate of UA:PBC Pavlo Hrytsak and Deputy Director General Hanna Bychok informed the EBU and also exchanged information with RTP delegation regarding the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest.
Executive Supervisor of Eurovision Jon Ola Sand said: “The work on the preparation of Eurovision begins at the moment the country wins the contest. The team from Kyiv, participating in the meeting here in Geneva, conveys its experience and knowledge to the host broadcaster from Portugal. Ukrainian Eurovision team is an important participant of the process, thanks to which the successful experience of Kyiv will be transferred to Portugal”.
Pavlo Hrytsak said: “Eurovision is the largest music show in the world, a big and complex project for every country, and for Ukraine it was a real test for strength, many did not believe that we could cope with it, there were rumours that the contest would be moved to another country and various other rumours. However, despite all the challenges and doubts that we had to face, we coped and managed to make a great show, to accept at a high level 42 delegations of participating countries, thousands of foreign and Ukrainian journalists, fans, to show the world professional Ukrainian hosts and talented artists. I think this is a victory for the country and we were pleased to be recognized by the European Broadcasting Union”.
The EBU seems to be pleased with the organization of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest as they send a letter to the Ukrainian organisers congratulating them for the hard work in a rough time as the national broadcaster had to be replaced by a new one, lot of delays and bureaucratic obstacles.
It’s time now for UA:PBC to end the Eurovision 2017 edition by paying the remaining contracts. There are 142 million UAH remain to be paid from which 44,7 million will be paid off this week. There was no information when and if EBU will return the guarantee of the 15 million Euros to Ukraine.
There is still silence regarding any penalties to either Ukraine and Russia concerning the crisis caused this year basically due to Yulia Samoilova’s ban.
BRIGHTONDOME.ORG REPORTS / UNITED KINGDOM – A Blue Plaque to be unveiled at Brighton Dome honouring music legends Abba is one of 47 announced on June 14th by BBC Local Radio, BBC Asian Network and The British Plaque Trust, commemorating people or places that have influenced the musical landscape across the country.
BBC Sussex’s Blue Plaque, to go on Brighton Dome, will commemorate Abba who launched their career after winning the 19th Eurovision Song Contest for Sweden at the Brighton Dome on 6 April 1974.
The plaque will be unveiled on BBC Music Day (Thursday 15 June) between 6.45pm and 7pm, live on BBC Sussex. Bjorn Again will be performing Waterloo in the Pavilion Gardens shortly after the unveiling and everyone is invited to come down and join in the celebrations.
Each year Brighton Dome plays host to over 600 events spanning music, theatre, dance, comedy, literature, spoken word, visual arts, film and more as well as producing England’s leading and most-progressive mixed-arts celebration, the internationally-acclaimed Brighton Festival. Since becoming a music venue in 1867, Brighton Dome has hosted artists as varied as Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, Nina Simone and Beyonce.
Other artists including David Bowie, John Peel and Sandy Denny will receive Blue Plaques in their honour.
There was a slightly bizarre turn of events buried in the Eurovision Song Contest 2107 Semi Final results. During their National Final the Maltese public was given total power to choose its own entry for the first time since 2008, but Claudia Faniello’s entry laid a goose egg of nul points in the televoting.
With no apparent appeal to the wider public of Europe, what happens next?
A Change To Malta Eurovision Song Contest
As early as October 2016 reports were already surfacing that PBS, Malta’s national broadcaster, was planning to change several things in the country’s selection format for the Song Contest– most notably, that the jury voting would be scrapped and 100 percent of the decision would be given to the televoters. In recent years the public voting had counted as an effective sixth jury member, while from 2005-2008 the public picked the song exclusively. 2009 saw a one-off format where a jury selected three songs for a ‘Super Final’ and the public made the final decision.
On the surface a complete return to televoting didn’t seem like a bad idea; the previous year’s song by Ira Losco, which was somewhat controversially changed after the National Final, polled in the top four with Eurovision juries but a disappointing 21st with Europe’s public – not altogether surprising when no Maltese televoters actually chose ‘Walk On Water‘.
That change of song resulted in a public backlash, knocking what appeared to be much larger political stories off the front pages in Malta. Moving to a 100 percent televote meant a more transparent process for PBS in the selection.
Who Sings Wins
But Malta is different to almost every other country in the Eurovision Song Contest. It’s one of the smallest counties in the competition to use a public selection to pick its entry, with a population of just over 445,000, and has no music industry of its own. Taking part in Malta’s National Final is one of the biggest musical gigs of the year. While there’s no hard and fast rule about needing a certain population to win the Song Contest, such a small starting base of presents PBS with some very unique problems:
You have a smaller talent pool to pick from.
Everyone is ‘known’ to the public.
While the former seems to be no disadvantage for Malta, given that they appear to have a conveyer belt of talented vocalists and have won the Junior Eurovision Song Contest twice in recent years, the latter is.
With such a narrow talent pool to choose from, and similarly a very small voting audience, the public already know around 95 percent of the acts taking part before a single song is sung. That means Malta treads a very thin line between a ‘song contest’, and a ‘popularity contest’. While it can never be scientifically proved, I have no doubt that Claudia Faniello’s story (ten previous entries in the National Final without a win) coupled with her in the country helped her over the line to win the ticket to Kyiv 2017, rather than the strength of ‘Breathlessly’.
And therein lies the problem now facing Malta. By giving the public 100 percent of the vote, you allow for the artists’ stories and popularity, neither of which translate across 42 other countries, to outweigh finding the best song.
The record of giving the population total control in Malta isn’t great either. In three of the four ‘pure televoting’ years, the country has came twenty-third on Saturday night and had two failed qualifications. Save Ira Losco, who by being the country’s biggest star would win with any song in any year, the last two public choices have also failed to make it out of the semifinals – Claudia this year, and Amber in 2014.
Where Does Malta Go From Here?
This year’s televoting zero in the Semi Final was counter-balanced by the juries placing Claudia’s song eighth. With a combined total of 55 points it finished in 16th place out of 18 – unfortunately the country’s worst Semi Final position in 10 years. Probably not the result expected when the format change was announced.
PBS has already confirmed that the public will have a 100 percent say in next year’s National Final as well, which means the options for change are pretty limited. There are however some things they could do to try and mitigate the ‘popularity over song’ risk:
Offer A 200 Percent Televote
Yes, that’s right, a double role for the public. Adapt the winning format the country has used for the Junior Eurovision Song Contest where the singer is chosen in a one-off show performing any song they like. Let the public choose a winner in a glorified talent show. Then go away for six weeks, and come back with five songs that the public’s chosen singer has to perform in a live show. Let the public pick the winning song.
In the end, the people have chosen their favourite singer, and the best song for them to sing . It also allows composers to write songs best suited to that vocalist.
Do A Hungary
In Hungary’s A Dal National Final selection, the people pick the Eurovision entry but only after they’ve been carefully guided for four weeks by a jury selecting 80 percent of the qualifiers per show, and then deciding on a ‘Top 4’ that the public gets to choose from. The country has qualified every year since they started this format in 2013 (in 2012, the public picked a top 4 for the jury to choose from), so they’re doing something right.
Rebrand The National Selection
Successful examples in Estonia, Latvia, Hungary, and to a lesser extent Finland, have shown that something as simple as rebranding your National Final format can help find success.
In all cases, the shows were renamed to put the focus on choosing a song for the country not for the Song Contest (Estonia’s Song, Supernova, The Song, etc.). This is something Malta needs to do to counter the audience voting for their favourite singers. Call it something along the lines of ‘Our Song’; tell the audience countless times during the show that they are choosing “the best song for Malta”; or better yet ,drop all references to Eurovision until the last minute like they do in Hungary and Sweden!
Pair Up Fabrizio And Claudia For 2018
The two Faniello siblings have a somewhat unwanted record of both now having been ranked last, with nul points, by Europe’s televoters. Ok, so this isn’t the most serious of suggestions, but if you want to play up a story that pan-European voters could understand, this would be one of them!
For the record, Fabrizio’s one point in 2006 came from an Albanian backup jury.
Change Your Mind
Probably the most unlikely scenario, but worth putting out there. There’s no rule about how to select a song for the Contest, but the statistics from the 2017 Grand Final are quite telling – of the seven songs in this year’s Top 10 that had some form of selection show to choose them, six had jury involvement in their show. Only Romania is the exception, but TVR used a jury in its Semi Finals to pick the 10 finalists. Romania was also the only qualifier from the semis that had a pure televote in its final selection show where the singer and song were chosen as one package.
Or Stay Where You Are
The alternative of course is to just do nothing and go with exactly the same format. Given the fanfare with which the public having 100 percent of the vote was announced, this also seems the most likely option. I don’t think for a minute that this format will score nul points on televoting every year, but the inherent risk is that to do well at the Eurovision Song Contest you need the good songs to come from the more popular artists, which isn’t always the case because they have more votes ‘in the bag’. There will be the occasional ‘Gianluca moment’, but as with the 100 percent televoting era in Eurovision itself you can probably call half of the Malta’s Top 5 by looking at the names on a list.
After Portugal’s win, Malta now has the longest record between first entry and time waiting to win the Contest. While I’m sure their ‘Lordi/Salvador moment’ will eventually come, I’m less convinced they’ll do it with the current format.