Radiodays Europe : the end?

We all remember NAB Europe 2008 conference in London. It was the last episode of a declining story. Could Radiodays Europe 2016 in Paris be the swan song of the Vikings?

Europe is split in two. There’s Europe-of-the-beer and Europe-of-the-wine. Europe of the beer is mostly cold, with an anglo-saxon mindset, not very friendly but very efficient. Europe of the wine is warm, latin flavor, extremely friendly but not super-organized. This 2016 edition of the Radiodays tried to pour beer into wine. Bad taste.

Anders Held looked quite pissed during his three days in Paris. Rumor has it that he didn’t like the fact that among the 1.500 registrants, only 70 were coming from the host country, France. That’s disappointing, for sure. Especially when your mind is set to « make it, and they will come ».

Now let’s make a test : think about the number of people, friends, colleagues, competition that you met, let’s say in Dublin (2014) and compare with who you met in Paris. Face it : tons of people didn’t make it. Not only the French. Tons of people didn’t accept to pay 1000 euro or so (plus flights, Uber and hotel) to attend speeches such as « Hey here’s the new LG phone ! »

A guy I didn’t know, from a local French radio, told me with his funny accent « You know, I am from a very small local station, but what we heard in the conference about local radios… we’ve been doing all that for more than 5 years… »

It’s disturbing. It’s disturbing to see this once exhilarating conference become another « here’s my new app/phone/software » market-conference. This is exactly what killed NAB Europe, remember? It’s disturbing to see politics slowly rotting the conference (in one room, the European Union propagandastaffel was presenting an ode to itself , insults to the brexiting-UK included… in another room, we heard some ridiculous rants against the democratically elected power in Poland, etc.) What was that ? A way to be sure the Polish Public radio will boycott the Radiodays 2017 ?

We saw some Belgian guys — the ones you see in each and every conference — trying again to present some « visual radio » thingy, but not being able to do it without technical failures. We were invited to Radio France — a moment of grace — but had to listen to some local guy speaking an awful fren-glish. Isn’t there anybody speaking proper English among the thousands on the payroll ? I’d rather hear French and get it translated.

Radiodays Europe seem not to have gone through the mutation from Radiodays Scandinavia. Two cultures were conflicting. Next year in Amsterdam, they’ll feel at home again. Europe of the beer.

This year in Paris, Radiodays Europe were not about innovation or a shiny future. It was about a small industry looking at itself.

Anders Held looked pissed.
Guys who paid to attend the conference looked much more pissed than him.

Problem is : nobody will tell him.
Well, I just did.

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