Radio France’s Sibyle Veil has been elected as Chair of the new EBU Radio Committee at the 29th Radio Assembly in Athens. She has been President and CEO of Radio France since 2018.
Aside from her strong conviction that radio has a bright future – “Audio is the new cool!”, as she says – the need for increased cooperation between EBU Members was an important driver for Veil in taking on the role. “In a rapidly changing environment,” she said, “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 paid tribute to her predecessor as Radio Committee Chair, the BBC’s Graham Ellis, highlighting the “tremendous work” he had done during his ten years in the role.
As the new Radio Committee begins its two-year term of office, Veil pointed to four areas where cooperation is essential.
Firstly, the need to ensure prominence in new digital spaces, especially connected cars and virtual assistants.
Secondly, the transformation of public service radio, both in terms of production methods and distribution strategies.
Thirdly, she is targeting the re-engagement and renewal of audiences, ensuring that the programming offered is in tune with their daily lives.
Finally, she has emphasized the opportunity to leverage high public trust in radio as a means of addressing the problem of mass disinformation.
Sharing her views on the biggest challenges for public service radio in the years ahead, she pointed to 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 reappointed as CEO of Radio France in December 2022. When originally appointed in 2018, she became the first woman in the role since Michèle Cotta in 1981. She had previously been the organization’s Director of Operations, having joined Radio France in 2015, following a decade in high-level public administration roles.
She is a graduate of the Institut d'études politiques de Paris and of ENA (Ecole nationale d'administration). From 2019 to 2021, she chaired the association Les Médias Francophones Publics, which brings together 12 media groups from French-speaking countries.
Edita Kudláčová is the EBU’s Head of Radio. Commenting on Veil’s election, she said:
“We are very excited to welcome Sibyle Veil as the new Chair of the EBU Radio Committee. 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.
“We are truly thankful for the amazing work and energy Graham Ellis invested in the radio community over five mandates of being Chair of the Radio Committee. His significant contribution especially in the area of radio distribution, securing DAB devices in cars and in advocating for radio and high-level representation of the radio community, have brought many benefits to the whole radio industry. 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.”
The EBU Radio Assembly was hosted by Greece’s public service broadcaster, ERT and saw the election of a new Radio Committee with a two-year mandate.
The Radio Committee is the main policy-making body for the public service radio broadcasters and sets the strategic priorities for the radio sector.
Their first task was to elect a new chair, Sibyle Veil, and three vice-chairs: Philippa De Roten (RTS); Graham Ellis (BBC) and Mirko Štular (RTVSLO)
The EBU Radio Committee 2023-2025 in full as follows: Sibyle Veil, Chair (Radio France); Philippa De Roten, Vice Chair, (RTS); Graham Ellis, Vice Chair, (BBC); Mirko Štular, Vice Chair (RTVSLO). Committee: Andrea Borgnino (RAI); Eliana Čandrlić Glibota (HRT); Iryna Korniienko (Suspilne); Maria Kozakou (ERT); Giedrius Masalskis (LRT); Milen Mitev (BNR); Michael Reichert (ARD/BR); Dan Santa (Radio România); Sofia Taavitsainen (Sveriges Radio) and René Zavoral (Czech Radio)