In broadcasting we take risks every day: CEO Forum #RadioAlive2019

At the Radio Alive conference today, Tim Burrows hosted a panel of CEOs, who tackled a number of hot topics in the radio industry in their ‘fireside chat.’

Tim’s first question was about brave moves that the CEO have made, and whether they worked or not.

Adam Lang: “Every day in talk radio requires bravery… usually things work really well, that friendship of live talk radio. But sometimes we push it too hard. 99% of our broadcast minutes we can be proud of, but there are a few we can’t.”

Grant Blackley: “Bringing Moonman into the Sydney brekfast market was a brave move… we have to keep innovating and being brave, otherwise we will be going backwards.”

Cathy O’Connor: “Vega was a brave move but it didn’t work, we coudn’t explain the proposition to the listener, or to ourselves. But then we ended up choosing the smooth format, no guts no glory… the lesson is keep trying.”

Ciaran Davis: “In broadcasting we take risks every day. From a management viewpoint there have been times when we didn’t move fast enough, so we’ve now learnt to move fast. Many saw bringing Christian O’Connell into the Melbourne market was a brave move… our instincts said he’s a quality broadcaster so we made a move, went with our gut and it has worked.”

On the economic climate

Ciaran: “Hopefully the banks will stimulate the economy again and the economy will bounce back then people will have some more money to buy radio again. We know radio works, so when they have money I’m confident that it will be well spent on radio.”

Cathy: “There are many new oportunities in the audio sphere, strategically radio has the smarts to support companies that advertise with us. Radio is successful, I have enormous optimism in radio, even though the current quarter is tight. Radio always performs over the longer term.”

Grant: “It is going to be tough for the next few months, but we will continue to invest and reshape our assets to respond to this period.”

Adam: “We are in a subdued economy but there’s always people who are willing to innovate and back themselves, so there will always be people who want to advertise on radio.”

Cairan: “Today we are an audio company with ambitions to grow the audio sector… it sounds great when you hear about companies merging, but the question before taking any action is what will the company be like in 3 years time. That’s what we think about when there is merger talk.”

Digital platforms:

Cathy: “The nirvana for a media company is to have your own successful media platform, but that is not always possible. How you migrate across platforms is the expertise of a modern radio company in my view. The ones who are sticky and keep people coming back are the ones that build value.”

Cairan: “Be confident in our own output, we don’t need to be looking too much at the social media platforms, we should focus on what we do.”



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