IMJA 2018

International Music Journalism Award - Let's Celebrate Music Journalism

Susanne Baller (Editor,

Susanne Baller moved to Hamburg about 30 years ago to study and knew immediately that she would never move away again. The water, the wind and most of all the concerts in the various clubs and on bigger stages spoiled her for any other city. Following a journey through various editorial departments she has been writing for for more than ten years now - about almost anything, except about music. That’s something she rather reads about.

Niloufar Behradi (Online Publisher,

When Niloufar Behradi finished school in the late 1990s, she didn’t know that she would become a blogger a few years later, let alone that such a profession would exist. But she was already into music. Together with her business partner at Blogrebellen (and spouse)  Peter Ohnacker she started to set up first websites in the early 2000s. Following an education in media design, Niloufar knew she wasn’t made to work in an agency, so she studied Ethnology, Iranian Studies and Communication Science at FU Berlin. 2007 Behradi and Ohnacker started their first blog with music and culture as its main topics, always looking for stories and new music discoveries. Today is one of Germany’s most read blogs. What started as hobby has become a profession, with music still at the heart of things.

Dani Fromm (Editor,

Born in Frankonia, Dani Fromm moves to the Lake Constance region to study in the early 90s; nice area but also a cultural wasteland for anyone with even a slightly leffield taste in music. She who isn’t offered anything does it herself: University parties at first, the rest follows. Two and a half decades and numerous promoted concerts, readings and dj shows, festivals, bookings, tour management and babysitting for various musicians, half an agency and a full-on second-hand record-store later, her diploma in biophysics still sits unused in a drawer. Yo Mama Fromm got stuck as an editor of This is where since 2004 she writes about soul, funk, pop, reggae, schlager, humppa and overtone singing, mostly about hip hop though, her first love, for ever.

Wolf Kampmann (Music Journalist, Academic, Autor)

Wolf Kampmann was born in 1962 and libves in Berlin since 1970. He is a freelance music journalist, university lecturer and book author (a.o. „Jazz: A History From 1900 Until The Day After Tomorrow“, German only, Reclam.). He teaches History of Popular Music and Music Journalism at Berlin’s SRH University for the Popular Arts and Jazz History at Berlin’s University of the Arts. In 2015 he received the Prize for German Jazz Journalism. Since 2016 Wolf Kampmann is Chief Editor of online magazine SPAM.

Isabelle Klein (Music Journalist, Presenter)

Born in the Ruhr Area in 1989, Isabelle now lives in Cologne and works as a freelance journalist. Before that, she earned her master’s degree in Leipzig, which no longer exists: Radio journalism - and consequently mainly works for radio stations today.
At Campusradio she enjoyed the freedom this beautiful experiment offers when guiding, amongst other things, the music department. Handpicked music, rather than playing rotating playlists is her passion when she does her radio show „Play by Play“ at Hamburg’s music station ByteFM.
In addition, she can be heard frequently as presenter and author on the nationwide public radio station Deutschlandfunk, also working behind the scenes, especially for editorials @mediasres and online on Deutschlandfunk.
For her Multimedia-Feature „Pop ist kein weißer, heterosexueller Mann“ („Pop is not a white, heterosexual male“, which was created in collaboration with the Mediainnovationszentrum Babelsberg and published by, she was nominated for the Grimme Online Award in 2017 and was awarded with Reeperbahn Festival’s inaugural International Music Journalism Award, for which she is now part of the jury.

Hans Nieswandt (Art Director Folkwang UdK, DJ, Author)

Hans Nieswandt has been a DJ ever since he was a teenager. In 1983 he earned his first musicians’ fee. Since the early 1990s he regularly spends his weekends as a DJ in clubs and at parties. In the 1990s he was part of the Spex editorial team and one third of the successful music project Whirlpool Productions. In addition to numerous own record releases he also remixes for other musicians.
For several years Hans worked as a moderator at the WDR station EinsLive. Additionally he writes for many magazines such as Spex, Groove, taz and more.
On tour with the Goethe-Institut he represented German culture in Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, the Middle East and Turkey. In 2002 he published his first book „plus minus acht“, in which he describes his life as a DJ. In 2006 and 2010 the books „Disko Ramallah“ and „DJ Dionysus“ followed.
Since January 2014 Hans is Artistic Director of the Master Program Pop Music at the Institute for Popular Music of the Folkwang University of the Arts in Bochum.

Melissa Perales (Festival-Promoter, Consultant)

Melissa moved from Chicago to Berlin in the 90s. Since then she has organized an international film festival, owned her own restaurant, and began booking and promoting live shows and film screenings under the moniker M:Soundtrack. As a concert promoter she presents international acts monthly in venues such as Schokoladen, Grüner Salon or Berghain Kantine. M:Soundtrack is a platform and meeting point within the Berlin independent music scene since 2004. Melissa is a board member with all2gethernow, a conference for new strategies within the music business and its cultural landscape. Melissa’s passion is soundtracks, therefore starting Supertape was the likely result: a music supervision and consulting company which she runs together with the documentary filmmaker, Sabine Steyer. Since 2014, Melissa is a co-founder and consultant of the Music Pool Berlin, the central place to go for musicians and people working in the music business, living and working in Berlin. Since 2017, Melissa is the co-founder of European Women in Music e.V. a.k.a We Make Waves  (link FB), a new Europe-wide network based on learning, sharing, connecting and exchange for women in the music industry and connected creative fields. This first big event will happen in Berlin, November 2017. Besides all of this Melissa is a hobby cook and a supermom to two boys, 3 and 16 years old.

Claus Schwartau (Editor-In-Chief, Noisey / Vice Media)

Claus Schwartau was born in Hamburg in 1981. In 2002 he moved to Berlin and studied English and North American Studies at the FU Berlin. Claus gained his first music industry experience in the areas of label and promotion, later moving on to radio. As a music journalist and presenter, Claus initially designed the Uniradios programme at University of Edinburgh. From 2008 to 2016 he worked as an author, music editor and moderator for Berlin’s young public radio station Radio Fritz. While working for Fritz, Claus also freelanced at the public television station rbb.
In February Claus Schwartau became editor-in-chief at Noisey, the music channel of Vice.
In January 201 he launched Noisey Radio, a one year collaboration between Vice and Radio Fritz. Here Claus was responsible for both the music and the word editing of his own live show, hosting guests such as Trettman, Peter Fox, What So Not, Perra Elsewhere, Ace Tee and many others.

Frank Spilker (Musician "Die Sterne", Author)

Frank Spilker is the founder of one of the most influential bands in German language. „Die Sterne“ started writing indie guitar music style pop songs by the middle of the eighties and became popular throughout the German speaking countries in the mid nineties. Along with his music he startet self marketing it through the cooperative label „Fast Weltweit“ and later in Hamburg was signed to „L’Age D’Or“ where he too had to call up radio stations by himself before it became one of the most appreciated Independent labels of Germanys music scene. „L’Age D’Or“ went on to become first a dance music label and then broke - whereas "Die Sterne" are still alive and touring. In 2003 they founded the band owned label Materie Records and self released the "Die Sterne" album „24/7“ among others. Spilker is also a solo artist and an author especially in times of lower productivity of his band. The album „Mit all den Leuten“ was released in 2008, the novel „Es interessiert mich nicht...“ in 2013. "Die Sterne" are currently releasing through the Berlin based label Staatsakt. You might think of Frank Spilker as a generally well connected person of the German music scene.

French Jury

Yves Bigot (

Yves Bigot is a French journalist and producer. Being a football and music lover he began his career as a journalist for Europe 1, Canal + and the Rolling Stone magazine, before becoming the program editor of France Inter in 1990. He then continued to produce various artists for Fnac Music Production as well as Phonogram France (now Mercury France) and became the chairman of Les Victoires de la musique (French Music Awards) in 1998.
In 2004 he came back to the media as a director for France 2, France 4, RTBF and RTL.
Since 2012 he is the general manager of TV5 Monde.

Melissa Phulpin (Melissa PR)

Anyone who works in the French music industry is bound to know her. Melissa Phulpin spots and guides new musical talents.Independent PR, she likes to « highlight hybrid identities, sensitive, powerful, and sounds that disturb the partition of the musical world » (as mentionned on her website). She also leads Tomboy Lab, an independant label (managment, publishing and mentoring)

Herve Riesen (

Deputy Director for stations and contents at Radio France, Hervé Riesen was involved to create the station of the Swiss network Couleur 3 in France in 1994.

In October 1997, he began work at Le Mouv’ (Mouv’ today) then France Inter, in February 2000, as music programmer. Then he joined Couleur 3 in Switzerland before he was appointed manager of the music programming unit of the four stations at RSR: La 1ère, Couleur 3, Option Musique and World Radio Switzerland.

He was appointed Director of the youth national channel «  Le Mouv’ » in 2008, then  Director of the delegate Direction for International Affairs at Radio France. He developped many collaborations between public broadcasters in Europe and Africa . he is co-founder of the band “ Benin International Musical” in Cotonou.

He is currently President of the “Eurosonic” group at the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and Vice-president Europe at the International Radio and Television Union (URTI).


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