French Language Blog

The Mini-story of NRJ Posted by on Jan 20, 2011 in Vocabulary

Launched by Jean-Paul Baudecroux, the proud son of the Frenchman who brought to you, mesdames (ladies), the very first rouge à lèvres indélébile (indelible lipstick) in the history of mankind, “Rouge Baiser” (or “Red Kiss”), this station de radio with a name that deliberately spells “ENERGIE” (The three letters N-R-J convey the English word “energy” as well) comes today en deuxième position (in second place) within the Top 10 of French radios, closely after its fierce concurrente RTL, which it has managed, not so long ago, to dethrone for a couple of years!

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After very modest beginnings -to say the very least- this ambitious radio, which saw the light in the early 1980’s, was soon able to become a major power player in the realm of French radio waves, and beyond. Within a short span of time, NRJ’s initial young and emblematic “énergie” gradually turned into a hungry corporate “synergie” worthy of a media empire, acquiring in a wild shopping spree one local station after another, in great part thanks to personal connections through another one of its early fondateurs (founders), who was the attaché, or rather the “protégé“, of French singer Dalida (who in turn had the ear of her dear friend, ex President François Mitterrand.)

NRJ: the Empire of the Waves” makes definitely a good read, retracing in minute detail the booming growth of what was once a small illegal French radio, to finally metastasize into a media empire of its own.

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Since the beginning of the last decade, the NRJ empire has operated several filiales(subsidiaries.) These are:

* Chérie FM, whose advertising motto is “Vos plus belles émotions” (“Your most beautiful emotions.”) (Cliquez ici pour l’écouter—Click here to listen to it.)

* Rires et chansons, meaning “laughs and songs.” With its sketch comedies, it guarantees you des rires au moins toutes les trois minutes(“laughs at least every three minutes”)! As to the songs it broadcasts, they mostly belong to the Pop-Rock genre. If you’re used to watch American movies doublés (dubbed) in French, you will most likely recognize la voix off(the voice-over, that is) of Céline Monsarrat, who is the official voice of Julia Roberts in French (and, you should also know it, the funny voice behind the cartoon character SchtroumpfetteFrench for Smurfette!) Also on air at “Rires et Chansons“isPatrick Poivey, who is known in France to dub Bruce Willis in all of his movies, as well as other Hollywood actors, such as Tom Cruise, Don Johnson in “Deux Flics à Miami(“Miami Vice”), and even characters of des jeux vidéos(video games), such as the hits Tron 2.0 and Unreal Tournament. (Cliquez ici pour l’écouter—Click here to listen to it.)

* Radio Nostalgie, (Cliquez ici pour l’écouter) which brands itself as “la légende” (yes Sir, no less.) Some of its radio hosts include familiar French TV voices, such as Luq Hamet, who dubbed Michael J. Fox in the Robert Zemeckis Sci-Fi trilogy “Retour vers le futur (“Back to the Future”), or his other famous comedy movie, “Qui veut la peau de Roger Rabbit” (“Who Framed Roger Rabbit.”)

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And finally, comme le monde est vraiment petit (as it’s a small small world), in 2005, “NRJ Entertainment“, a société filiale (subsidiary company) of NRJ, produced the very successful musical “Le Roi Soleil“, which, as you may recall, was the theme of a very recent post here on the French Blog.

All in the Family!NRJ’s “energy” also spells corporate “synergy”: Le Roi Soleil“, a French musical co-produced by NRJ (through NRJ Entertainment) and rewarded by NRJ itself (in the NRJ Awards)

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