Jon Ola Sand is the Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest. We caught up with the man ahead of the Grand Final to talk about the responsibilities and challenges that come with his job.
Organising the Eurovision Song Contest is a mammoth challenge which starts the very moment the new winner is announed. "It’s basically a 24/7, 365-day job," Jon Ola says. As Executive Supervisor, it's his responsibility to take care of the Eurovision Song Contest all year round. That starts on the day a new Host Broadcaster has been appointed. "I work with the host broadcaster all year to make sure they prepare in the right pace and get everything you need in place to have the three shows running as they should be."
What are the challenges?
The Eurovision Song Contest is a huge event to work on and also a complicated one. There are over 1000 delegations, 1500 press and thousands of fans from all over the world. "There are many challenges involved. We have to get it all together and we have to make sure that the Host Broadcaster understands the scope of hosting the Eurovision Song Contest. It’s not just organising three tv-shows," he said.
When producing television shows, broadcasters do not usually need to think of things such as press centres or fan zones but with the Eurovision Song Contest it's different. Time is one of the key challenges. "We only have a year to prepare it, and that is a really short time for an event like this," Jon Ola explained.
Despite the challenges that come with his job, Jon Ola says that it is an amazing opportunity to meet television professionals from around the world. "I get to understand the different situations in the different countries including the working culture, the way they look at entertainment and the way they view the Eurovision Song Contest."
Jon Ola has been working in the television industry for his entire professional life. "It’s a great opportunity to work with the Eurovision Song Contest at such a high level," he says.
What to expect from the Grand Final?
"You can expect a great show. We have been preparing very thoroughly and the delegations are mostly very happy. We got good feedback from them, which means we have done things right," said Jon Ola. Eurovision is different every year and that's what keeps the job interesting. "That is the beauty of the Eurovision Song Contest: it travels every year and it will have the footprint of the territory we’re in."
This year a new event will be added to the Eurovision Family, the Eurovision Choir Of The Year which takes place in Riga, Latvia in July. "That will be a new and hopefully successful live event that we can work on in the years to come," Jon Ola said before he was called into another meeting. For the boss, the work is never done!