FRANCE: EUROPE 2 RETURNS AFTER FIFTEEN YEARS

EUROPE 2 RETURNS AFTER FIFTEEN YEARS
Now Europe 2 will return to “reaffirm its original mission: to nurture the link between artists and audiences, through its musical offer aimed at adults and young adults, by investing heavily in musical events and promoting live sessions”
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From January 2023, Europe 2 will return on Virgin Radio‘s 243 frequencies: this is one of the changes envisaged by the reorganisation of the Lagardère Group (of which the Europe 1 and RFM radio networks are also part) announced in June 2022 when Vivendi took control. Europe 2 is a historic brand, which had given way to Virgin Radio in January 2008, after 20 years in business. The agreement with Virgin, which covered frequencies in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Andorra and Monaco, had been signed in December 2007 by Sir Richard Branson, who had appeared on the Champs-Elysées dressed as Father Christmas for the occasion. Originally Europe 2 was a programme distributed to broadcasters. It became a network but left room for local programmes. Now, for Arnaud Lagardère, President and CEO of the group, and Constance Benqué, who heads the news hub, Europe 2 will return to its original mission: to connect audiences and artists. (Written by Fabrizio Carnevalini)

FRANCE: REORGANISATION OF LAGARDÈRE NETWORKS

Changes are in the offing for the radio stations of the Lagardère group: a reorganisation has been announced that will reshape the ownership and governance of Europe 1, RFM and Virgin Radio
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The French group Vivendi takes another step towards control of the Lagardère group. At the end of the takeover bid (which was reopened from 29 May to 7 June 2022), Vincent Bolloré’s group reached 57.35% of the capital. The decision of the Autorité de la Concurrence is now awaited, which will have to pronounce on the 47.33% of voting rights that Vivendi acquired with the takeover bid (it currently holds 22.45%). In the meantime, the group has announced its intention to restructure the ownership and governance of the radio pole, which includes the three national networks Europe 1, RFM and Virgin Radio. The operation will have to be financially neutral, and (as ‘Les Echos’ writes) the activities could be brought together in a limited partnership in which the limited partners would be companies of the Lagardère group and the general partner Arnaud Lagardère.

FRANCE: LAGARDÈRE CLOSES THREE LOCAL SITES OF VIRGIN RADIO AND RFM

LAGARDÈRE CLOSES THREE LOCAL SITES OF VIRGIN RADIO AND RFM
Among the Virgin Radio sites affected by the closure is Angers, the capital of Maine and Loire
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The Lagardère group has unveiled a plan to redeploy 30 journalists and 4 presenters involved in closing 26 Virgin Radio and four RFM locations. Ownership attributes the need for the cuts to the music broadcasters’ declining audience due to competition from streaming platforms. But the CFDT union disputes this, attributing the crisis to the group’s management problems, as the other major generalist radio stations have not lost listeners. On the contrary, the stations that will be closed have sent €3.6 million in dividends to the Lagardère group in 2020.

We have already discussed the crisis at the Lagardère Group here and here.

Desertification risk

Closing the network’s regional offices also reduces news coverage in certain territories, particularly rural areas, which are already under stress due to the crisis: since 2009, the number of journalists has fallen by 10%
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In the communiqué issued by the union, the workers are acknowledged for their dedication to working as presenters in the morning, especially in “isolated editorial offices“, with net salaries of less than 1,900 euros per month. And fearing the danger of information desertification in certain areas, particularly rural ones, the CSA (Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel) is asked to monitor the merger in progress within the group and compliance with agreements. Indeed, operators are obliged to open local offices in order to broadcast local advertising. ”Certainly, shareholders dream of radio stations without journalists or presenters, but the media will die that way.”

PORTUGAL: Radio Maria gets underway

Radio Maria gets underway
The website of Radio Maria Portugal shows, from the left, the photo of Father Livio Fanzaga, director of Radio Maria (Italy), in the middle Father Marco Luís, director of Radio Maria Portugal and on the right the photo of a broadcasting studio
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Since 13 May 2021, with the live connection from the sanctuary of Fatima for the transmission of the Holy Rosary, Radio Maria’s broadcasts have begun in Portugal. An expression of the Portuguese association of the same name, the project to open the station began in 2018, when the president of the Spanish office José Manuel Quintanilla took up the invitation of Emanuele Ferrario, the historic president who passed away in 2020 and whoglobalisedthe station.

The frequencies are those of the former Radio Sim

A picture taken in the studios during the opening day and posted by the broadcaster on Facebook
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The Portuguese station acquired the ownership of Rádio Sim from Grupo Rádio Renascença (a Portuguese media hub that owns Rádio Renascença, RFM and Mega Hits) and switched on 102.2 MHz in Lisbon and 100.8 MHz in Porto, and opened its headquarters in Lisbon and studios in Fatima. The editorial director and head of programmes is Father Marco Luís, appointed on 6 November 2020 by José Ornelas Carvalho, Bishop of Setúbal and President of the Portuguese Episcopal Conference.

With the Portuguese office, there are 82 affiliates

Also from the radio station’s Facebook account, another shot posted on the day of the inauguration
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The station is part of the World Family of Radio Maria, an association created in 1998 to promote the development of the station in the world by offering technical and organisational support to the associations that have arisen in various countries. The World Family of Radio Maria has 82 stations, of which 28 in Europe, 23 in America, 23 in Africa and 8 in Asia and Oceania. With more than two thousand transmitters, Radio Maria reaches more than 500 million listeners around the world, speaking in more than 65 languages.

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