Love of radio is at the HEART of his success: James Rea #RDE23

We use AI in our programming, but the power of radio lies in it’s strength to be a friend… I don’t think AI can do that,” said James Rea Director of Broadcasting and Content at Global.

He also predicted that with smart speakers, “there’s currently nothing to protect radio’s prominence, legislation is needed to make sure radio’s position is protected online.”

From his future predictions of trends in the industry to more recent achievements at iHEART, where the changes he implemented made the station brighter and hotter, he discussed his career and gave insights into his strategies. The breakfast team is now the leading show and this is the leading station in the market.

His podcast strategy involved hiring BBC presenters as podcasters, turning this endeavour into a massive commercial success, due to the massive marketing push across all stations. He finds podcasting exciting, because it brings new audiences and because creativity is involved in the process of making podcasts.

Earlier in his career he transitioned to news management, which lead to a move from GMG to Global. He was offered a job running LBC a talk station (marking it’s 50th year), and turned it around from a station that couldn’t make a profit to one that currently makes $3.5 million. 

He and his team worked on giving the station a core identity and set the news agenda, plus encouraged presenters such as James O’Brien to have an opinion. The second thing was to elevate the callers to centre stage. The third thing was to televise radio and turn around clips so they were then able to lead on news stories. 

James began his career as a 16 year old enthusiastic lover of radio and has made a huge impact in the commercial radio sector. His success comes down to, “strong partnerships and collaboration with a good team allows us to go from 0-100 just like that!”

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