To understand what Eurosonic is and how it operates around Europe, it is easiest to first introduce the European Broadcasting Union; a broader organization which includes service broadcasters which extend past and throughout all of Europe. The European Broadcasting Union is a confederation of 75 broadcasting organizations from 56 countries and 43 associate broadcasters from a further 25 countries, which was founded in 1950 (McCormick). It’s headquarters are in Geneva Switzerland. Members are radio and television companies, most of which are government owned public service broadcasters or privately owned stations with public missions. Fully active Members can be found in countries ranging from Iceland to Russia with the inclusion of almost every European country. Associate members are aren’t limited to the boarders within the European continent but are also inclusive of broadcasters from Canada, Japan, Mexico, India, and the United States, just to name a few. The most recognizable associate members from the united states include ABC, CBS, NBC, and Time Warner (Jones). Working on behalf of its members, the EBU negotiates broadcasting rights for major sports events (including the World Cup, European Championship Sports, the Olympics, and many other international events), operates the Eurovision and Euroradio/sonic networks (which will be described later), organizes program exchanges, stimulates and coordinates joint productions, and provides a full range of other commercial, technical, and strategic services (McCormick). Its principal aims are to promote cooperation between members and with broadcasting organizations throughout the world, allowing for availability of varying outlets of media to a multitude of countries at the same time (Jones).
Probably the largest and most major operations hosted by the EBU are the Eurovision and Eurosonic programs. Founded by Marcel Bezençoc, a previous president of the EBU, Eurovision was created as a program which allowed the exchange of programming between national networks throughout Europe (Droganes). To exemplify what exactly it is Eurovision does, it played a large part in the relaying of transmissions that made available the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 to countries such as France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany, all at once (Drogranes). Eurovision also has its own set of programs that broadcast news and program events to European viewers on a daily basis. It’s defined by a star logo that is widely recognized across Europe. The news stations cover many non-domestic, or more general European news. Another major programming activity of Eurovision is its sports programming, especially since many sports are played in competition between nations (Eurovision). Events included may vary from the European Basketball Championships to the European Athletics Cup. However, the largest and probably most well known program hosted by Eurovision is the Eurovision Song Contest which is comparable to a modern day “American Idol”, on a nationally competing level. The Eurovision Song Contest is an annually occurring competition held amongst the active member countries of the European Broadcasting Union, The way it works is each country submits a song to represent themselves in the competition to be performed on live television, and then casts votes for the other countries’ songs in the competition to determine the most popular display. Each country participates by using one of their national EBU-member television stations whose responsibility it is to also select the singer and song to represent their respective country.
The contest has been broadcast every year since it began in 1956 and is now currently one of the longest running television programs in the world with audience numbers between 100 and 600 million depending on the given year. The use of media, televisions, international communications etc have all added to the possibility of such a widespread viewing of this show (Droganes). Eurovision has even been recently broadcast in many countries outside of the participant countries, and is now seen in places such as Australia, Brazil, China, India, the Philippines, Uruguay and many more, despite the fact that they are not even involved besides for reasons other than individual interest (Eurovision). Another interesting fact regarding the Eurovision contest is the fact the contest is seen and considered to be a unique opportunity for promoting through media, the host country as a tourist destination. It allows for the glorification and glamorization of the country hosting the event through the way it is portrayed to other nations, similar to the Olympics. Because of their undeniable popularity and contribution to the contest throughout the years via contestants, viewers, etc, Spain, Germany, the U.K and France have earned a spot in the contest each year and are admitted no matter what, earning the name “The Big Four” (Eurovision).
Eurosonic is part of the European Broadcasting Union as well. It is a digital transmission network that streams high quality audio to a majority of the countries that comprise the EBU. It is comprised of more than 70 stations and a listening populous that is estimated to be some 500 million people (Eurosonic). Eurosonic and its partner stations provide many opportunities to promote artists through the broadcast of music via satellite, offering a huge range of exposure of music, ranging from rock to pop, dance, and world music (Europasonic). Every major name is music radio in Europe is part of the Eurosonic partnership from RUV RAS-2 in Iceland to Radio Russia, to the BBC Radio 1 in Britain. They stand for:
“Providing live music, more major festivals, more interviews and exclusives to more people all over europe. To produce the best recorded live music you will hear. To give a way for new music from all over Europe to reach new listeners. To give free access to the acts at major festivals and shows in Europe to the fans.”
It is held every year in Groningen, Netherlands each year (Europasonic).
The EBU, Eurovision and Eurosonic each demonstrate an extremely effective and powerful way of using media to unite countries both within and through boarders. The immensely gigantic populous that participates in the viewing or listening with either of these programs shows how effective media is, and can be in todays world.