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Europe 1, a mythical radio emptied of its substance



Julie Leclerc, ” the voice “ Europe 1, will not celebrate its fifty years on the air this year. Her contract was not renewed at the start of the school year, like that of the comedian Nicolas Canteloup to whom she gave the reply in the morning. ” Such a waste ! “, ” how sad ! “, “The purge continues”, reacted listeners on the Twitter network, saying for many that they would change radio, sometimes after “50 years of listening”.

Since the beginning of July, the voices that punctuated their days (Matthieu Belliard, Anne Roumanoff, Wendy Bouchard, Patrick Cohen, Pascale Clark, Sophie Larmoyer…) have been saying their farewells. “What will there be left to listen to at the start of the school year? “, asks a listener. Philippe Vandel, Christophe Hondelatte and Stéphane Bern keep their programs.

→ TESTIMONIALS. “It’s a bit as if Europe 1 was dead”

The main pieces of information will be embodied by CNews journalists: Dimitri Pavlenko in the morning, Thomas Lequertier at noon, Laurence Ferrari in the evening, Romain Desarbres at the weekend. “This legendary radio station will become a branch of CNews”,summarizes Olivier Samain, electedof the National Union of Journalists (SNJ), also on the way out.

Yé-yé radio

For this journalist, who arrived at the beginning of the 1980s when Philippe Gildas headed the antenna, “It is the end of Europe 1 as we have known it, a sad page in our common history that is turning”.Founded in 1955by Charles Michelson and Louis Merlin, Europe 1 quickly marginalized the popular Radio Luxembourg (formerly RTL) and the docile French Radio-Television by creating programs for young people like “Salut les copains”, using the first portable tape recorders (nagra) to tell the news in the field or by giving the floor to the listener.

Before Europe 1, journalists did not speak, but their articles were read by speakers, Olivier Samain still recalls. This radio invented spontaneity, responsiveness. She spoke like no other about the war in Algeria and May 68. “ In its premises, crowded the great of this world. “I saw Arafat, Sharon, Nixon… It’s a radio that counted, that weighed. When I joined in 1982, Europe 1 was still the second radio station (behind RTL) with 20% of audience, then I witnessed its plummet… ”

→ READ. Europe 1, the pugnacious, celebrates its 60 years

Its decline accelerated after the death in 1996 of Jean-Luc Lagardère, who had bought the station in 1974. “The father listened to us and defended this independent, pluralist and impertinent radio station”, recalls a journalist, who leaves after twenty-seven years.

Waltz programs and animators

Under the chairmanship of the son, Arnaud Lagardère, a dozen leaders have followed one another at Europe 1. This waltz of programs and animators has gradually brought down the audience, which has been close to 5% since 2020, while the accounts are s’ sink into the red.

→ ANALYSIS. Lagardère changes era, the Europe 1 family comes together

The group’s financial situation forced Arnaud Lagardère to transform his limited partnership into a public limited company, and to integrate new shareholders on June 30, including Vincent Bolloré (27% of the votes). The son assumes, in an interview with Figaro, “Synergies with the Canal + group”, which has, according to him, the same public of “CSP + loving information, sport, music and cinema” that Europe 1. But the editorial staff do not forgive him for having ” abandoned ” the station, of which he remains the CEO.

Live broadcast of the July 14 parade with commentary on CNewsis a “Blatant demonstration” that decisions are now made “In the offices of Canal +” for the Editors’ Society (SDR) of Europe 1. The unions intend to use this argument to operate the CSA lever (Superior council of audio-visual), their “Only hope”, the authorization to issue granted to Europe 1 being subject to obligations of shareholder independence and respect for pluralism.

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Departures will continue at the start of the school year

The collective break-up announced in the spring to achieve savings involved 39 to 48 positions. The management accepted 42 departures, including about twenty journalists (out of around 120), out of the 73 requests addressed to it.

More than ten journalists and animators left outside this framework (resignation, dismissal, issue not renewed, etc.)

Another plan will be negotiated at the start of the school year to allow those who wish to leave under conditions close to the conscience clause (with allowances).

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