Nicola Caligiore: ‘RAI is nowadays fully aware of the commitment in case of victory’
Olivier Rocher (France)
Let’s start 2016 with a new exclusive interview as oikotimes.com just had the opportunity to ask a few questions to Nicola Caligiore, the very motivated and enthusiastic Head of the Italian Delagation…
Good morning Nicola, and thanks for accepting our interview. First of all, can you introduce yourself?
Thank you guys for interviewing me! I have been the head of the Italian Delegation since our comeback in 2011 and member of the ESC Reference Group, working for the International Relation in Rai , the italian Public Service Media.
How did you end get involved with the Eurovision Song Contest in general, and the Italian delegation in particular?
I fell in love with ESC when I was doing my ERASMUS program in Spain, since back then in Italy it was completely « forgotten » and when , for a twist of fate (I am industrial Engineer), i started working for Rai International Relations I decided to do my best to get Italy back into the craziest, most amazing, European party you can think of!
Are you the man behind Italy’s return to the contest? If so, how did you achieve this miracle?
Of course it’s not only about me ! It was a decision of the Director General at that time but let’s say that I worked A LOT to convince everybody to invest again in this format.
Italy has achieved great results those last years, both in the Senior and Junior editions of the contest. How do you explain the low interest of Italian audience for the show?
The interest in ESC has grown considerably since 2011, last year ESC results were extremely positive doubling the 2014 audience. Giving a more macroscopic analysis though we have to consider that the current media scenario is way more complex than in the past, highly fragmented, with a huge offer of good products: building up from scratch in the heart of the viewers a 60-year-lasting tradition it’s not an easy task. But we’re doing our best!
Given the fact that RAI did not host Junior Eurovision 2015 despite the victory in Malta, and given the experience of the 1991 contest that many found “amateurish”, do you think your national broadcaster could host the show or even is willing to do so?
First of all we should not mix ESC with JESC. It’s a completely different story. JESC has been hosted by the winning country the following year only a few times and there is comparison in terms of investments and hype around the product. Regarding 1991 cannot tell you a lot, of course I wasn’t there but I can assure that RAI top management is nowadays fully aware of the commitment in case of victory. In Vienna we were all throbbing excited and ready to have you all in Italy if we had won!!! Unfortunately it went differently.
Once again this year, the italian entrant will be chosen through the very popular Festival di Sanremo. Are you involved in this event as well?
I cooperate a lot with Sanremo but I am not directly involved in the show’s decisions.
What do you expect from this year’s edition of Sanremo?
Let’s hope that we will have an act for ESC that will make italians proud and European enthusiastic about our music.
If you had a magic stick, which Italian artist would you send to Stockholm? What would be your perfect entry?
I have several names in mind but it would not be fair in my position to tell ! I have the feeling though that having a strong and consolidate national selection like « Festival di Sanremo », rather than an internal selection, gives to the act the popular support which is a great added value!
How strong is your connection with the Eurovision Song Contest? Have you always been a fan of the event?
As I mentioned before I almost had no clue about ESC before i moved to Spain for an exchange programme while at University. When I a was a teenager nobody talked about it in Italy.
After 60 contests, what is your favourite entry? Your favourite Italian entry?
mmm… I have a special personal bond with « I treni di tozeur » of Franco Battiato and Alice (1984).
Do you have any words for our readers?
Thanks for reading this, see you all in Stockholm and no matter what, vote for Italy on May 14th: It’s high time that we celebrated Europe somewhere warmer (smiles) !
DID YOU KNOW?
Italy is one of the founder of the Eurovision Song Contest, with two famous victories so far Gigliola Cinquetti (1964) and Toto Cutugno (1990). From 1994 to 2001, the country snubbed the contest. Italy would only return to the contest in 2011 in Düsseldorf after fans had begged them! Since that year, Italy has become the most succesful member of the Big 5, with 4 Top 10 finish, including a silver medal in 2011 and a bronze medal last year in Vienna (though Italy had won the public vote). Italy has also joined the Junior Eurovision Song Contest adventure in 2014, with a victory on their very first attempt.