Its main tasks are 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 Chairman, 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 eight members.
Dr. Frank-Dieter Freiling (Chairman)
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.
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.
Edgar Böhm (2015)
Edgar Böhm was the Executive Producer of the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest at the Austrian broadcaster ORF. He will participate as member of the Reference Group until the 2017 contest.
Martin Österdahl (2016)
Martin Österdahl was the Executive Producer of the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö and 2016 Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm. He works at the Swedish broadcaster SVT. He will participate as member of the Reference Group until the 2018 contest.
The Executive Producer of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest from Host Broadcaster UA:PBC (Ukraine) will join the group and remain a member until the 2019 contest.
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.
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.
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.