Radio France President & CEO Sibyle Veil was elected chair of the European Broadcasting Union’s Radio Committee at the EBU’s 29th Radio Assembly in Athens, Greece. She succeeds the BBC’s Graham Ellis, who has chaired the committee for the past decade.
Veil said the biggest challenges facing public service radio in the years ahead center around a broadening of the medium, from radio to audio.
“This requires an evolution in our production methods, which must become hybrid; in our digital transformation, which must be ambitious; and in our capacity to initiate innovation. These are the changes in skills, tools and organization that are necessary to turn our business around.”
Veil was first named CEO of Radio France in 2018. She previously had served as the broadcaster’s director of operations, having joined Radio France in 2015.
She stated that one of the reasons she wanted to serve as chair of the EBU Radio Committee is the need for increased cooperation among EBU members. “In a rapidly changing environment, public service media face many common challenges, especially in terms of securing our prominence in the new digital world and reaching all audiences, particularly younger generations,” she said.
She noted four focal areas where cooperation is essential;
- Ensuring prominence in new digital spaces, especially connected cars and virtual assistants;
- The transformation of public service radio in terms of both production methods and distribution strategies;
- Reengagement and renewal of audiences and ensuring that the programming offered is in tune with listeners’ daily lives; and
- Leveraging high public trust in radio as a means of addressing the problem of mass disinformation.
“Having a seasoned leader from a successful and innovative radio broadcaster is a great asset for the years to come when we will be facing many challenges, especially in digital space, and it will be of great importance to work even more closely as an industry at the international level,” said EBU Head of Radio Edita Kudláčová.
Kudláčová also recognized Ellis for the work completed during his tenure leading the committee, especially surrounding advancements in radio distribution, in-car DAB receivers and advocating for radio. “We are delighted Graham will remain a member of the committee, and there will be a natural continuity between his work and what Sibyle will bring to her new role,” Kudláčová stated.
Along with electing Veil as its new chair, the committee elected three vice-chairs: Philippa de Roten (Radio Télévision Suisse); Graham Ellis (BBC) and Mirko Štular (Radiotelevizija Slovenija).