Southern Cross Austereo CEO, Grant Blackley, has been named 2019’s CEO of the Year in the peer voted Mediaweek Awards.
Mediaweek Editor, James Manning, said it was a challenging year for all media CEOs but readers voted for Mr Blackley as CEO of the Year due to his success managing SCA across three main platforms – radio, with Australia’s biggest radio network, plus a regional TV network with affiliations to the Nine, Seven and Ten networks and digital.
“SCA has a diverse set of assets in what has been a challenging market. SCA has had exposure to numerous markets across three different platforms of radio, TV and digital. Blackley is navigating the company in these market conditions,” Manning said.
Mr Blackley said: “I am thrilled and honoured to be the 2019 recipient of CEO of the Year, especially in the company of many excellent media company CEOs. I would like to acknowledge and thank all our talented people who have helped SCA become the thriving media company that it is.”
Mr Blackley pointed to several factors that have contributed to SCA’s success this year and moving forward into 2020 and beyond.
“SCA has in the last three years completed a number of critical activities including but not limited to a considerable reduction in company debt, rebranding of 76 radio stations, deployment of 10 new DAB radio networks, a change of TV affiliation to Nine, the sale of the Northern NSW TV assets, the sale of 43 transmission towers, along with the long term outsourcing of our TV playout and transmission services to specialist providers.”
“Whilst the market has been challenging and difficult to navigate in recent times – SCA has continued to invest and develop new audio products evidenced by the success of PodcastOne. In addition, SCA has invested in the development of an addressable in-stream advertising business which, combined with the power of an exclusive new contract with global music streaming company SoundCloud, will create a scaled and meaningful new revenue opportunity.
“Finally, SCA has been hard at work considering new products and investments which will be announced and released in the year ahead. These set of strategies are designed to ensure that SCA is stronger, fitter and capable of being curious and invest in new products and services both now and into the future.”
Important initiatives in addition to Boomtown last year included the acquisition of the Redwave radio assets in Western Australia and the achievement of 200 million podcast downloads for PodcastOne since launch two years ago.
During 2019 SCA expanded its national executive group, adding Chief Marketing & Communications Officer Nikki Clarkson, Chief Content Officer Dave Cameron and Chief People and Culture Officer Annaliese Van Riet to the team.
Mr Blackley is also the chairman of Commercial Radio Australia and a director of Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA).