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JORDI ÉVOLE - Presenter of 'Salvados'

"The PM's debate was old-fashioned"

Winner for the second time of Radio Barcelona's Premio Ondas, one of the country's top media awards, Jordi Évole owes his rise to the top to "El Follonero", the character he created that has allowed him to carry out refreshingly candid interviews - some would say irreverent - with the country's leading politicians. El Follonero (which loosely translates as The Troublemaker) was a regular on the late-night chat show hosted by humorist Andreu Buenafuente in the early years of the decade.

Building on his success with Buenafuente, in 2008 Évole created Salvados (Saved), which goes out once a week on Sunday nights, combining news, humor, and interviews. The show was an immediate success, earning Évole his first Premio Ondas award.

Three years on, Évole retains his status as a groundbreaking television presenter making programs about the Basque Country, as well as interviewing the two main candidates in next Sunday's general elections, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba of the Socialist Party and Mariano Rajoy of the conservative Popular Party. The 37-year-old has just picked up his second Premio Ondas.

Question. How does it feel to win another Ondas award?

Answer. Fantastic. I got the prize, but we should remember the Salvados team, who are very talented, and extraordinarily creative.

Q. This time around your prize is in recognition of your career growth, along with your unique combination of humor and quality journalism.

A. I'm very happy that they recognized humor and journalism, but I have to say that the thing about career growth sounds a bit like a school report. I was always the baby of the family, and I started in television very young, thanks to Andreu Buenafuente, and to tell the truth, I still feel like a student who has a lot to learn. I like things to come together slowly, over time. I'm not one for radical change.

Q. You must be very happy with Salvados' two million strong audience.

A. I don't really like talking about viewing figures. I guess I think that programs should be judged on their content, but that said, yes, I am very happy that so many people watch the show.

Q. Did you think that the program would be so successful?

A. The slot we go out in, on Sunday nights, is incredibly competitive, and Salvados is a bit like a canoe racing against liners. We have nearly capsized a few times, but things have gone well.

Q. Did you see the debate between Rubalcaba and Rajoy last week?

A. I did, it was very old-fashioned. It was like watching a video from another age.

Q. You have some 300,000 followers on Twitter.

A. It's the big thing in my life right now. It is incredible the amount of messages we receive over the course of the show going out. But Twitter is also very dangerous. You get hooked on it.

Q. The two documentaries you made about ETA and the Basque Country were very popular.

A. I am proud of them. I have always been interested in the Basque conflict, and to be in the region just at the time when ETA announced that it was declaring a definitive ceasefire was a gift in journalistic terms.

Q. How would you describe Salvados?

A. I would say that it is a news program, rather than a program about politics. We have gradually changed the format to suit our tastes, and highlighting its journalistic content was part of that. But we also felt that it was important to retain a sense of humor.

Q. How would you describe the state of Spanish journalism?

A. I think the problem here is polarization, a battle between big media groups. I try to steer clear of that, and remain independent.

Q. What is the secret of Salvados' success?

A. I really don't know. Success only comes with hard work, along with an eye for the new.

Q. You've been compared to Michael Moore...

A. That's because I've put on a lot of weight recently. I'm very flattered. I'm a big admirer of his.

Q. You owe a lot of your success to El Follonero. Will you ever kill him off?

A. That would be a terrible thing to do. He is the secret of my success: humor and entertainment.

Award-winning presenter Jordi Évole.
Award-winning presenter Jordi Évole.LA SEXTA
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