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RRM 25 – Interview with Pascale Labrie, Head of music – EBU Media
Ever since its foundation Radio România Muzical has been part of the EBU (European Broadcasting Corporation); thanks to this affiliation, Radio România Muzical broadcasts a significant number of live or recorded concerts and opera performances, from the great stages of the world.
Why is a classical music radio station important in a country?
If there weren't a classical music radio station in a country, a lot of what has happened in the world of music in the last 1000 years would be lost; there would be no reference to the music of these 1000 people, to the composers, to what the musical life meant. If there were no classical music station, the richness of the cultural life of that country - as a classical music radio station is part of the cultural life of a country - would be much smaller, a great loss for people.
For Radio România Muzical, being part of the European Broadcasting Union during these 25 years of history is a reason for pride. But the larger audience may not know exactly what EBU means.
EBU is the acronym for European Broadcasting Union, it is an association of broadcasters from Europe, but also from outside Europe: we have members from the United States, Canada, Japan, Brazil, New Zealand, Australia. We connect practically the entire world, with music content provided by the members. EBU actually means a lot more, but I'm just talking about what music in EBU means. The central point of our work is the exchange of live or recorded concerts. Every year, all the radio stations involved, not only classical music stations but also pop-rock for example, offer annually 2500-3000 concerts, which are taken over and broadcast by the other members. People go to concerts, viewing them as events, especially now that the restrictions related to the COVID19 pandemic are starting to be lifted - so imagine, 3000 concerts every year, offered and broadcast by all these radio stations. EBU is very important for the radio stations, because it enriches the offer of music programmes; no one could provide all this content through their own efforts. Of course, each radio station does a lot to support musicians and promote the musical life in general, but none of these radio stations could, alone, support all the music content that is provided by EBU with the help of the others, through this principle of solidarity between all radios. I think this is very important. In Romania, for example, you are in the top of those who offer live concerts from the EBU offer, which means, I think, that your listeners are very, very lucky, as they can, from their living room, 'attend' concerts that take place at the Royal Opera in London, or in Paris, or in Germany, in any other country that offers live events. I think that it is about building connections between people, between listeners, and providing them with the best that the European and non-European music world can offer.
You have already formulated some thoughts about the history of Radio România Muzical together with EBU. Could you tell us more?
I mentioned the live music events, at which you are in the top list, but you also represent a very strong community of musicians, which is very important. As I said, we are guided by the principles of solidarity between radio stations, each radio station tries to do its best for the other radio stations and in this sense, Radio România is very present in almost everything we do. When we do something, you are always there, you provide information, you inform the listeners and, more than that, you are a strong promoter of the Romanian musicians, of the Romanian musical life, and this must be recognized and appreciated by everyone. The support that you offer to the musicians in this way, could not be obtained by them in any other way. In 2021, there were 325 broadcasts of the concerts that you offered to the other broadcasters; imagine, 325 broadcasts of your concerts in other countries. It means a huge visibility for the musicians, but it also shows the liveliness of the Romanian musical life. Radio România is very visible at home too, but also on the territory of international music exchanges, which we deal with here.
And in the end, do you want to send a message to our listeners?
I like anniversary messages, at EBU we like to mark anniversaries. First of all, congratulations! 25 years is a very important number. What I would like to wish you and your listeners is to keep the passion at the centre of what you are doing. With passion, a lot of things can be done, passion is contagious, it makes other people become passionate too; along with passion come the energy and the desire to do the best we can for music, for performers, for composers and for everyone involved in what we are doing.
Translated by Ecaterina Bucovanu,
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year I
Corrected by Silvia Petrescu