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today21 March 2024 183

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In Paris and throughout France

On my return from the United States, I set off for Paris with the firm intention of joining a national radio station, but it wasn’t going to be easy. Through perseverance, on 6 January 1992 I joined the RTL and PRISA groups, who launched M40. The radio station was located in the Forum des Halles, and broadcast a programme based on new music. The first songs by Pascal Obispo and Zazie were broadcast first on M40. For almost 3 years, I hosted the weekend morning show and a programme on video games called ‘Game40’. I also did a lot of interviews: with Étienne Daho, Vanessa Paradis, Céline Dion, J.J. Goldman, Texas etc. But the programming, which was almost exclusively made up of new stuff, and the French quotas, got the better of the audience. Listeners didn’t have time to appreciate one song before it was immediately replaced by another. The station almost never found its audience.

The unlikely team

The radio station was made up of a mixed team. We didn’t all have the same experience, some were just starting out, others came from the biggest networks. Our musical tastes diverged. Between us, nothing was homogeneous and yet, this mix of genres made this unlikely team an incredible team. They included Eddy Gronfier, Fred Rister, Pascal Broussot, Olivier Franco, Djoovy, Pascal Remy, Pat Angeli, Corinne, Morgane, Franck Duret, Jérôme Vigliano, Joachim Garraud, Nicolas Dubos, Carl Defray, Franck Valliéres, Sébastien Cauet, Philippe Manoeuvre, Jean-Marc Dorangeon, Martin Laigle. I hope I haven’t forgotten anyone. Most of these artists are still entertaining audiences today, and some have even become stars.

All good things must come to an end

This experience at the heart of a national station was a rich learning experience, but at nearly 26, I was keen to discover something new. I wanted to join a large radio station because I wanted to work within a large structure and present to a large audience. At the end of May 1994 I handed in my resignation, and a month later I joined NRJ Paris. On 18 January 1995, M40 changed its name to RTL2.

Written by: Jean-Michel Venden

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