The Reference Group is established by the Television Committee and its tasks include:
approving the development and future format of the ESC;
securing the financing of the ESC;
modernizing the brand and raising awareness of the ESC;
overseeing the yearly preparation by the Host Broadcaster.
The Reference Group meets 4 to 5 times each year on behalf of all Participating Broadcasters and is required to take decisions in the general interest of the ESC.
The Reference Group is composed of the following members:
3 elected members from among the Heads of Delegations;
2 Executive Producers from previous host countries, as well as the Executive Producer of the current Host Broadcaster;
Up to 2 invited members based on competence and experience
The EBU Eurovision Song Contest Executive Supervisor
Dr. Frank-Dieter Freiling
Dr. Frank-Dieter Freiling from Germany is the Chairperson of the Reference Group of the Eurovision Song Contest. He has been in the field of media since 1987 when he started as a freelance journalist for the prestigious Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Over the last few years, he has been involved with international relations in the German broadcaster ZDF as the Director of International Affairs since 2000. ZDF is not a participating broadcaster of the Eurovision Song Contest in Germany (ARD/NDR is). It was considered an advantage to have a neutral Chairperson when electing him in 2009.
Ayala Mizrachi (Deputy Executive Producer 2019)
Ayala Mizrachi works for Israeli broadcaster KAN.
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.
David is the Armenian Head of Delegation for the Eurovision Song Contest and the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. He is a producer at Armenian public broadcaster AMPTV. He is also part of the Steering Group of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest.
Inge van de Weerd (Executive Producer TV 2020)
Inge van de Weerd has been working at NOS since 1995 and, for more than 10 years, has been Executive Producer on NOS productions for Prince's Day, parliamentary elections, and National Commemorations. She was also involved in major national events such as the Royal Wedding of Willem-Alexander and Maxima and promotions for Giro555. From 2007 to 2009, she acted as Head of Delegation for the Netherlands at the Eurovision Song Contest.
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 the ability to invite up to 2 extra professionals to join the group.
Reto Peritz (elected member)
Reto Peritz works for Swiss broadcaster SRF and serves as Head of Delegation.
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 2-year term.
Yuval Cohen (Creative Director 2019)
Yuval Cohen from Israel has rich experience in developing, editing and directing leading television productions and live events. Serving as Head of Programmes and Development in recent years at Channel Ten (10), he is a valued professional who has been in charge of the Israeli adaptation of The Voice (as Chief Director and Editor), has edited Dancing with the Stars for 3 years, did the Israeli Eurovision National Selection in 2010 (Harel Skaat) on Channel 2 (Reshet), and has worked on variety of live tv events.
In addition, Cohen previously served as Reshet's Editor in Chief for a variety of productions and genres, including drama, entertainment and reality programming, and has served as the Chief Editor of Gil Productions, an Israeli private leading production company, where he also directed and edited the highly successful docu-reality Baby Boom.
Martin Österdahl (EBU representative)
Martin Österdahl from Sweden is the Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest. He superseded Jon Ola Sand, who was the Executive Supervisor from 2011 to 2020. Österdahl was previously Programme Director and Commissioner of Entertainment & Sport at SVT where he was responsible for many of their highest rating primetime shows as well as supervising live productions such as The Nobel Prize Ceremony and 2010 Royal Wedding.
He has extensive international experience in the music and media industries, having also worked in the UK, Russia, the USA, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway.
Martin has written novels that have been translated into 10 languages. His non-fiction work includes management literature on project leadership.