Svendsen, Erik Nordahl  

Born on October 31st, 1945
Home Medie- Og (retired) Tilskudssekretariatet Kochsvej 11
DK 1812 Frederiksberg
+45 33 24 85 68

erinor (at)

Erik wrote on April 9th, 2017:

Dear Peter,

Since my (early) retirement from mediaregulation in 2010, when I was 65 years old, we have met at several GEAR+ reunions, so you know that Jonna and I are fresh and happy. I still follow the motto I gave myself at the day of retirement, “Now it is Sunday every day, and I only do what I please”. What pleases me, then? Still some thought about media policy, and now I have full freedom of speech and writing. I consider myself a “critical friend” of public service (DR) and write both critical and defending comments on a mediawebsite (Mediawatch, in Danish only). In my more private life, my hobby or passion is research about my ancestry. At my 70th birthday, when all my friends and relatives were caught up in a café, I presented a PowerPoint show about some of my ancestors. I tried to give it a general background of Danish social history, so we could see how the development of wealth and education since 1850 was visible in my family. It was among others about my great-grand-father who was a soldier in the war with Germany (and Austria) in 1864. Fortunately he was wounded a month before the total slaughter on Dybbøl 18th april 1864, so he was in hospital, and his son, my grandfather was only born in 1870; it was close by.

The last year I am concerned about the future of EU. I have taken part in a project called My!Europe, it ended up with 20 recommendation for more democracy in EU. You may take a look her: I have a dream that Brexit will never happen, because in the end the British people and Parliament realize it’s too stupid.

Now I sit in our summer cottage, 1 ½ hours from Copenhagen. A few of you have visited us here, we spend much time here all year, and whenever you come to Denmark, I will love to see you here. Last summer we got a greenhouse:

My best regards



Eric wrote in 2014:

Almost five years have passed since my last news! Well I am still working with mediaadministration/regulation in Denmark. Recently (1st Feb. 2008) the Mediasecretariat was merged by the Ministry of Culture with the bigger Agency for Libraries, now called Agency for Libraries and Media. It gets a staff of about 70 persons including the 11 from the Mediasecretariat. I am no longer a director but a senior consultant, still with responsibility for the content of our work, but not for personnel and finance anymore. I alreday told you in 2003 that management is not my strongest hand or talent, so in fact I am happy with the change. My 8-year contract finishes March 2009, and before the merge I envisaged to go into (very) early ritirement at that date, when I am only 63 years old. Now this change from director to consultant happens one year earlier and I can then continue until I am 65 in 2010.
It is hard to imagine leaving my very interesting field of work. Just this spring we are deciding by beauty contest who shall have the role as "gatekeeper" for the commercial part of DTT in Denmark (the tender material is available here, and we shall also tender a big information campaign about the close of ATT (31. Oct. 2009 - which happens to be my 64th birthday) at a 7 mio Euro cost.
The work with public service is not the biggest part of my job. I must follow a decline of DR, financially and in some respects also in quality with no real instruments of controlling it. DR is moving into a new DR-City - a fully digital production centre for integrated radio, tv, web etc. It is partly the cost of this building that broke the economy of DR. - The complex cases about TV 2 and EU state aid are still pending in Luxembourg.
Since November 2007 I am the Danish member of the council of the Observatory in Strassbourg. It smells a bit of research, and I meet interesting people there, as I do in EPRA.
I am always happy to get greetings from old colleagues at Christmas or any other time. I am still available by mail or in person, if you come to Copenhagen.
In a few month we shall move to the merged Agency and have new e-mail etc. - then I will write you again.

1st December 2014: Here is a paper on Public Service Broadcasting written by Eric in 1987: Agressive Defence - read it!


From the  Danish Media Secretariat - cf.
Erik wrote in May 2003:

More than two years have passed since I left DR. In  new job as civil servant (director) 
I only seldom does work that can be called research, but the general knowledge 
of media matters both in Denmark and Europe, mostly developed through GEAR, 
is of great value to me and my secretariat. The functions as director and boss of 
20 people have been a more difficult challenge than I thought, but I am developing 
my skills in that area, helped by a coach (private consultant). I believe it is
a classic problem: the specialist, very focused on the content and politics
of the field, underestimates the time and energy which management of people
and the organization, takes.
The Media and Grants Secretariat is now to be divided, so I get rid of the
grants (for zoological gardens, research of sports etc.) and get a "clean"
Mediasecretariat (11 people), and I am very happy about that. Our funtion is 
1) to serve the Board for Radio and TV, and 
2) to work directly for the Ministry of Culture as a small "directorate" with 
administrative tasks and analysis of media issues.
After GEAR, I now take part in EPRA (European Platform for Regulatory
Authorities) with 44 members, 100 persons meeting twice per year
 - under "Press Information" you get access to some background
papers, including a report I did last year on regulation of public service
in Europe. Together with a speech I made at a conference, it will be
published soon in a book by the  University of Zürich.
One interesting project is that we (the Board) shall auction two FM-channels
on June 18th. It will be an open, english auction like selling of paintings,
actually done be the leading art auction house in Copenhagen. Details in
English are available at our web-site ( under
Another working group, served by our secretariat, is deliberating if public
service future financing shall continue to be the license fee or be based on 
the ordinary tax.

I hope you and all other "grey beards" are also well and fit. Jonna and I
are still living happily together; she has recently taken up painting.

With best wishes

Erik Nordahl Svendsen
Medie- Og Tilskudssekretariatet
Nybrogade 10
1203 København K
tlf. 33 92 30 40 (direkte: 33 95 40 65)