Updated on September 15: Following the publication of this article, the IBA has confirmed that it plans to participate in Eurovision 2015.
Following the lead of Sweden and its Melodifestivalen, broadcasters across Europe have been dreaming up national selections on steroids. They’re bigger and buzzier, and have more semi-finals to boot. But Israel has decided to go the opposite route. The land of Dana International and Moran Mazor will go smaller this year. Jonah Viezenthal, chief editor for Channel 1, has decided today that the Israeli representative for Eurovision 2015 will be chosen internally by the music editors of radio 88FM.
Radio 88FM belongs to Kol Israel, Israel’s public radio service, which is a division of the IBA (Israel Broadcasting Authority). The station is known to play alternative music from all genres, without any committed to a certain playlist or to popularity ratings.
Even though a decision about the selection process has been made, Israel has not yet officially confirmed its participation in Eurovision 2015. Israel’s participation has been uncertain for months, first because of the closing down of the current public broadcasting authority, and then because of serious budget issues. At the moment Israel cannot afford the costs of participating in Eurovision, especially with IBA in the middle of a process of closing down.
The state broadcaster is reluctant to invest in Eurovision: recent attempts at investing more money in the Israeli entry has resulted in nothing but failure (we’re still upset about Mei Finegold, y’all). The IBA isn’t giving anything away: “An official decision regarding the participation of Israel in Eurovision 2015 has not been made yet,” they tell us.
In the light of this, the decision to go for an internal radio selection seems like a sensible compromise in the event Israel does participate. A super-low budget preselection, which will not even be broadcast on TV, will save a lot of cash, allowing the team to invest more in the act once it is chosen.
Israeli fans, though a bit worried about the quality of an entry chosen internally, were relieved to hear that steps are being taken to keep Israel in the contest. Ditching the contest was never really an option. The main concern now is that the editors of the station will go for an old fashioned song, whereas a song chosen in a preselection by the public would better reflect trends in the local music scene.
The editors, who were today told about their upcoming mission, have already started dropping some names. But let’s not worry too much about their choice and this selection process. Let’s just be glad it looks like Israel will be back in the contest.
Photo: Eurovision.tv (EBU)