NDR explains commentary audio issues

Jon Ola Sand, the Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of the EBU, was joined on stage by Thomas Schreiber, the Executive Producer of the 2011 contest, Thomas Riedel from the company Riedel who deas with the infrastructure of all communications, and Dieter Thiessen the Head of Engineering at Host Broadcaster NDR.


Thomas Schreiber apologised to all viewers and commentators who had been affected by the loss of commentary during parts of last night's show in some, but not all countries. "Our goal is to deliver a show perfect in every respect, and I apologise on behalf of NDR."

Schreiber continued: "We had our tests on Monday, and everything was working perfectly well. Last night around 20:40, about twenty minutes before the beginning of the show, there were the first signs of something going wrong. It was in a very specific connection between the commentators booths and the main switch."

Riedel explains problems

"I apologise from my side for all the inconvenience we have caused," said Reidel's Managing Director Thomas Riedel. "We understand that this is just not an issue, but a problem. Our responsibility starts from the headsets on the commentators, to the lines going out. The problems were definitely in our area of responsibility. Riedel as a company handles communications systems and media in all kinds of large events, so we can certainly say that the technology we use, as well as the engineers we have, know how to deal with such important events. Nevertheless any technology can fail, and there should be a backup, and sometimes even the backup doesn't work as we would like. In this case, we had technical problems with the so-called multi channel audio connection, which was not working correctly."

Riedel has great experience in such international events, having been involved in the Beijing Olympics, Formula One, as well as the Eurovision Song Contest in Oslo in 2010.

EBU "confident" of solution

Jon Ola Sand stated: "We are not happy about this situation. I had meetings with NDR both last night and this morning, and we are very confident they can fix it and it will be okay, although with technology one can never be 100 percent certain."

Solution implemented 

A stress test has been done tonight to test everything with all ISDN lines prior to the second dress rehearsal. There will be two back-up systems, to make sure that if one system should fail, or even if there are technical or human failures, that the best possible show can be delivered on Thursday and Saturday.

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