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.