One week to launch of BBC Radio 2 Eurovision pop-up DAB station

Posted May 1, 2014 by Mathew Wace Peck
One week today the BBC will be launching a new radio station, BBC Radio 2 Eurovision, as part of its extensive 2014 coverage of the Eurovision Song Contest.
Emmelie de Forest holding the Eurovision 2013 Trophy
Emmelie de Forest holding the Eurovision 2013 Trophy
This year’s eagerly anticipated Eurovision Song Contest Final takes place on Saturday, May 10, with two semi-finals preceding it, on Tuesday, May 6, and Thursday, May 8, respectively.
BBC Radio 2 Eurovision is a pop-up digital-radio station, and part of the BBC’s plan to offer the most comprehensive coverage of the event since the contests inception almost 60 years ago.
BBC Radio 2 Eurovision will complement the television output of BBC Three, which for a number of years has broadcast the two semi-finals, BBC One and BBC Radio 2 itself, both of which traditionally air the final.
BBC Radio 2 Eurovision will broadcast from midday to midnight BST on four days — Thursday, May 8 to Sunday, May 11 — except on the big day of the final itself, when the channel will be simulcast with BBC Radio 2 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. BST with Graham Norton’s regular weekly BBC radio show. On that day, Norton will be live on air from this year’s host city, Copenhagen, in Denmark, the country that won the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest with Emmelie de Forest singing “Only Teardrops.”
As the BBC's Bob Shennan has said, “Every year, Eurovision is a moment that unites many people around the UK, as well as Europe. I’m proud to be offering a truly digital experience in 2014 with coverage across Radio 2 and Radio 2 Eurovision on digital radio.”
Dima Bilan (centre)  2008 winner of Eurovision
Dima Bilan (centre), 2008 winner of Eurovision
Wikimedia Commons
Shennan, who is the the controller of three of the BBC’s radio stations — Radio 2, 6 Music and the Asian Network — as well as Director of Music, added, “We have an incredible line-up of presenting talent, bringing all the excitement, sartorial disasters and musical catastrophes to our listeners.”
Indeed, as well as Norton, a number of other Eurovision-themed shows due to be broadcast over the four days will be presented by BBC Radio 4’s Paddy O’Connell and BBC Radio 1’s Scott Mills, as well as ones from BBC Radio 2 presenters Michael Ball, Ken Bruce, Maria McErlane and Sir Terry Wogan, the person well known for his commentating on the contest for 35 years, from 1973 to 2008.
The schedule itself will include: The Luck of the Irish, in which Wogan reflects on why Ireland is the most successful country in Eurovision history; Ana Matronic of the Scissor Sisters, who will present a programme with members of Bucks Fizz — who won the competition for the UK way back in 1981 (the UK has won the competition just once since then: in 1997, with Katrina and the Waves); and David Quantick, who will present The Blagger’s Guide to Eurovision.
The 2009 Eurovision winner  Alexander Rybak
The 2009 Eurovision winner, Alexander Rybak
Wikimedia Commons
Hoping to repeat that success this year is singer-songwriter Molly Smitten-Downes, who will be representing the UK with “Children of the Universe.” According to the BBC, “‘Children of the Universe’ is an anthemic, uplifting track, specifically written with live performance in mind.’
Smitten-Downes hails from Leicestershire, in England, and was discovered through BBC Introducing, set up by the corporation to support some of the best new and under-the-radar musicians across the UK. The BBC says that the 26-year-old was invited by them to “compose and perform a song especially for the competition.”
The BBC’s radio output will also include: Eurovision-themed editions of Sounds of the 60s with Brian Matthew, Sounds of the 70s with Johnnie Walker and Sounds of the 80s with Sara Cox.
There are several ways to access BBC Radio 2 Eurovision (@R2eurovision): on digital radio; at; on the BBC iPlayer Radio App; and the UK Radio Player.
Throughout the four days, a live online blog will be updating listeners with the latest news and images throughout the big event. It will also include audience views and contributions via social media.
The Eurovision Song Contest is organised annually by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). To qualify, countries do not have to be part of Europe. Despite the “Euro” in “Eurovision”, eligibility is not determined by geographic inclusion within the European continent and bears no relation to the the membership or otherwise of the European Union (EU). Rather, any country that is an Active Member (as opposed to an Associate Member) — of the EBU can take part.
Eric Saade
Eric Saade
Wikimedia Commons
The Eurovision Song Contest 2014 Final will take place next month, on Saturday, May 10, in Copenhagen, Denmark. It will be broadcast live on television on BBC One and BBC One HD, and, also live, on BBC Radio 2. Graham Norton will commentate for BBC One and Ken Bruce for BBC Radio 2.
The two semi-finals, meanwhile, will be held earlier in the week — on Tuesday, May 6 and Thursday, May 8, respectively. As in previous years, both will be broadcast live on BBC Three and also on BBC Three HD and will be hosted by Scott Mills.
Last year’s host nation, Sweden, won the contest in 2012, with Loreen’s “Euphoria.”
This year’s contest – the 59th Eurovision Song Contest — will be broadcast to an estimated global audience of over 120 million viewers.