Radio hearings: France Inter dethrones RTL, wind of revolt in Europe 1

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Updated at 12:50 with the vote of the distrust motion in Europe 1, then at 3:50 pm with several additions including the reaction of the entourage of Arnaud Lagardère.

5.9%. This is the cumulative audience of Europe 1 in the period January-March 2019, according to figures Médiamétrie published this Thursday. That's 3.2 million daily listeners. The Lagardère group's radio is still digging the hole in which it has been falling for years. Over a year, she lost 0.9 points of hearing. A huge fall. The arrival at the beginning of the season of a new boss, Laurent Guimier, came from Radio France with the promise of a new start after the year Schlesinger-Cohen, did not help to reverse the trend. Since September, Europe 1, whose morning has been entrusted to Nikos Aliagas, continues to lose followers, wave after wave.

At this level of audience, she no longer fights in the same category as her two historical competitors, France Inter and RTL. On the rise for five years, the generalist Radio France passes a historic milestone (read the interview of its director, Laurence Bloch): she wins the first place in the ranking, with 6.3 million listeners (11.7%) , to RTL (6.1 million, 11.3%). Inter seems to take advantage of the fall of Europe 1. "We do not see the exit anymore," commented a host of the Lagardère station, disappointed by this "mess". A source close to the station: "Europe 1 is in a vicious circle, monstrous. The house is in disrepair. The road to refoundation will be very long, if it is not too late: one wonders if the brand is not permanently damaged … " Financially, the radio is bad, having lost more than 20 million euros in 2018.

General Assembly

In Europe 1, the rumor of an imminent departure of Laurent Guimier, evoked by the chained Duck Wednesday, spread this week. Contacted by Release, he did not answer. In an email sent to his teams, he finds that "The deserved rise in audience is not at the rendezvous". And is very optimistic: "In a depressed radio market and competing grids, sometimes breathless, I believe we are one step ahead. For the rest, […] time is essential and patience is golden ".

But the patience of the owner of Europe 1, Arnaud Lagardère, who had promised to give time to Guimier, seems to have already found its limits. His entourage told Parisian-Today in France that the grid concocted by the director of Europe 1 "Clearly did not achieve his audience goals" and recognized a "Strategic divergence for the future". Which, in the language of the house, is usually equivalent to a conditional thank you. Guimier's position, determined to defend his choices before his teams and his shareholder, seems very fragile.

It is all the more so as employees growl. A motion of no-confidence against Arnaud Lagardère, referring to a "descent into hell", was widely voted Thursday (86 for, 7 against, 4 abstentions) at a general meeting. Despite the vigorous intervention of the director of information, Donat Vidal Revel, who is said to be close to Lagardère and out of step with Guimier. "His speech was seen as an attempt to intimidate", says a journalist from Europe 1.

Wednesday, a hundred employees had already gathered to share their topics of discontent. Digital editorial journalists had returned to the 9 April strike to denounce the precarious status of most of them. Others had vilified the salary policy of the house, much more favorable to high salaries (as the imitator Nicolas Canteloup, paid 150,000 euros per month according to Mediapart), and budget constraints that increase as the business sinks.

More generally, the teams had deplored during this first general meeting the management of Arnaud Lagardère. "There is a flop, says Olivier Samain, journalist and SNJ delegate. Europe 1 loses listeners. This is the illustration that the company has no strategy. We had three directions in three years. And soon a fourth maybe? We want to challenge Arnaud Lagardère. What is the recovery strategy? We have serious doubts. "

Jérôme Lefilliâtre

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