As the ESC Insight team prepares to cover this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, we’re looking at a curious schedule of rehearsals. With a Saturday start for the first countries in Semi Final 1, and a day off on the first Wednesday (8th May), we’ve had a look at our provisional schedule and there’s something to discuss.
In the years with rehearsals starting on Sunday, our first daily podcast (on the Monday) covers the first day of rehearsals - normally the top half of Semi Final one. On the occasions where there has been a Monday start, we ran a ‘lets look back at the National Finals’ on the Monday podcast and reported on the first batch of rehearsals on a Tuesday.
So, what should we do with rehearsals starting Saturday morning in Tel Aviv? The majority of the ‘on the ground’ team not arriving until late on Saturday night, but our first podcast isn’t scheduled until Monday morning? And what do we do with the day off?
We’re going to push back the first three podcasts in the timeline. Monday 6th will be the top half of Semi Final 1, Tuesday 7th will be the bottom half, Wednesday 8th will be the top half of Semi Final 2, and then with the day off we’ll be back to a similar schedule as in previous years.
Why this approach? We need to think about the various camps that listen to our audio and the impact the change will have, remembering we are very close to everything kicking off, our team is in transit, and we have a smaller ‘on-the-ground’ team this year.
For the highly connected Eurovision fans who devour every morsel of news from the Press Centre, our daily podcasts are always going to be a little bit later than the live streams, tweets, or rolling blogs. Pushing our own coverage back one extra day, for three days, is going to be awkward but we hope understandable.
Thanks to our readers surveys we know that many of you enjoy listening back to the podcasts over the summer months. A shortened experience of the first rehearsals of Semi Final 1 would be a poorer experience for those listeners and would give us less time to talk about a number of performances.
Finally, our daily podcasts make up part of the syndication package that goes out to radio stations around the world. These radio stations are geared up to start taking coverage on Monday 6th, not Sunday 5th so we can’t change the start date. Those listeners are more casual fans of the Contest who will not be immediately jumping on every discussion, so the three days of delay will not adversely affect their experience of the Contest.
Happy to answer questions or read your thoughts in the comments.