It might be a Song Contest, but Eurovision is more than just the three minutes on stage in front of the world. It’s a contest that brings together people from around the world – Norway’s “share the moment” was pretty close to the mark.
But those people, the fans, each one of them has their own story, a view on Eurovision unique to them. We thought it was time these stories were heard.
Who are you?
I’m Juergen Boernig (born 1966 in Cologne, Germany) also known as JP. I received this “radio name” when I worked with the American Forces Network (AFN) in Belgium in the 90s. I took up an admin job with the European Space Agency (ESA) in the Netherlands at a place called Noordwijk situated right on the coast sandwiched between Amsterdam and The Hague. Soon the withdrawal symptoms kicked in for continuing with radio and I looked for a station that was willing to give us a broadcast slot. Thirteen years later and Radio International is still broadcasting from the RTV Kawijk Studios in the Netherlands on FM and online.
How did it all start?
My step into Eurovision was rather accidental. In 1980, I checked the German TV paper to what was on that particular Saturday night and I saw that my then favourite singer Katja Ebstein was scheduled to sing in a TV show called Grand Prix de la Chanson d’Eurovision (Eurovision Song Contest what it is now known as). So I tuned in and fell in love with the show and liked the international languages and the voting.
Then in 1981 I went to language school in Worthing, West Sussex, UK and on the evening of arriving the host family was watching the Eurovision Song Contest 1981 with Bucks Fizz winning it and Germany coming second with Lena Valaitis. Since then, this show has become an annual “must see” and in the future shows I sat at home banning my family from the living room as I wanted to have the quietness to watch the show and also write down the votes.
My love for radio and radio presenting also developed at that time and started to present annual review shows of the Eurovision Song Contest with previous entries.
How are you involved with the Song Contest now?
Initially, Radio International was meant to be a radio show for the Expats in the Netherlands but Eurovision has always been part of the show’s play list and then we started nearer the contest in March to interview the national representatives – the artists that go to Eurovision in that particular year.
Since 2008 the show has evolved to be a full time Eurovision radio show, with support from the rest of the Eurovision Community, including hosting the web stream of the weekly Wednesday broadcasts via Oikotimes and a lively chat room for our listeners to get involved in.
Now and then we do a Eurovision party at a friend’s home, but during the Eurovision Finals I am always on location and in the show, so I do not get to host a Eurovision party as such on the Eurovision Final night. But mind you I am there at the biggest party in the World with thousands of Eurovision fans in one place. That thrill is just unbelievable.
All in all I am busy with Eurovision all week long as many fans of the show also keep in touch, but also I need to set up the interviews with artists and the many trips I am going for the National Finals or conventions.
Your favourite Eurovision song?
As the 2010 competition ended, there are 1195 entries to the Eurovision Song Contest and it is a very difficult thing to select that one song to be your favourite. I admit there are a few that are always in my mind when asked this question, including Bucks Fizz’ “Making Your Mind Up” to Severine’s “Un Banc, un Arbre, une Rue”, Vicky Leandross’ “Apres Toi” and my all time Eurovision anthem, Israel’s 1979 Eurovision Winner by Gali Atari & Milk & Honey “Hallelujah”. This song just reminds me of an anthem to unite Europe.
Claudette Pace’s 2000 entry for Malta called “Desire” reminds me of great summer time and fun. She had so much charisma on stage in my opinion and it was my winner of the 2000 Eurovision Song Contest.
Another song that always brings tears in my eyes and I honestly can’t help it when I hear the voice of Malta’s Chiara singing “Angel” from the 2005 Eurovision Song Contest. Since then I have met Chiara on a number of occasions and we have become good friends.
You’ve interviewed a lot of artists over the years. Who has been your favourite and why?
I know you were going to ask that question, which again is very difficult to answer . I had the honour to interview Lys Assia as the very first winner. But due to her age it was not an easy interview to do. But I felt deeply honoured to be speaking with her.
Of late one particular lady jumps to my mind and that is Niamh Kavanagh. Niamh is a great interview partner and she has always something to say. She enjoys giving interviews and she has a big Eurovision History being the winner of the 1993 Eurovision Song Contest and a repeat offender in the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest.
I think the most funniest one for me was to interview Simone Weiss who was part of Modern Times in 1993 as the last Luxembourg entry. She just made me laugh in full blast during our interview with her. She was just so funny.
But like I said – due to the large number of interviews it is very difficult to determine which is my favourite. Every single one is different and of course some interviews I am very honoured to have done with previous winners such as Jacqueline Boyer, Severine, Alexander Rybak, Helena Paparizou, Ruslana, Lordi, and more. I am looking forward to a now list of artists to interview at the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest and may it live for a long long time.
Thank you , JP!
Do you have a Eurovision story to tell? A heart-warming moment that sums up why you became a fan? Or a funny tale of how your life collided with the Song Contest? Then get in touch with us as we continue to ‘Meet the Eurovision fans’