Southern Cross Austereo’s incoming CEO, Grant Blackley has been reported in one media outlet as saying that negotiating a new television deal with TEN would be first order of business. In another, he was quoted to say that SCA’s troubled Sydney radio station 2Day Hit 104.1FM is the “number one challenge.”
When radioinfo caught up with Mr Blackley last week, he told us, “I think the major challenge is in instilling confidence in the executive and key stakeholders in the market which will include listeners-viewers broadly our audience.”
It seems that all three statements are true along with, “I’m focussed on bringing absolute value back to the assets of SCA.” One thing’s for sure, Mr Blackley has his work cut out for him.
SCA, easily the largest operator of both Radio and Television stations in Australia, is also one of the most challenging. Mr Blackley, however, is confident that the organisation has a bright future.“In essence what you’ve got is a very healthy set of brands. You’ve got a very committed group of executives behind it and you’ve got a committed group of board members. So it’s bringing all of those aspects into alignment that will actually harness some unity with a very clear strategy that we move forward that is well executed. And upon doing all of that I think what you’re going to see is a much stronger and fitter company that will move forth,” said Mr Blackley.
The former TEN Network CEO has established a career in media spanning thirty years and was most recently CEO of the national restaurant group, The Keystone Group and Founder and CEO of Four Seasons Media, a diversified media consultancy, content owner, investor and management group. Mr Blackley also has a financial interest in RGM Artists, Australia’s leading talent agency.
Since leaving TEN in 2011 he has remained a keen observer of media and of SCA but would not be drawn on events of the recent past. “I have no comment on individual decisions that have been made but I think the good thing is that people make decisions because it means the company is looking towards momentum and hopefully positive momentum. I will say that there will be decisions made in the future that will hopefully improve the value of the company moving forth.”
Although it could be said of Mr Blackley that his expertise lies more in television than in radio he is quick to point out that although there are differences between the two, it’s the synergies that are most appealing. “I think they both have their idiosyncrasies. Yes there is a difference between the assets. Albeit I firmly believe that they cohabitate very very well. Most of the talent we see across Australian radio have and do spend time in television and vice versa. I see a lot of cross pollination between the assets. And I think that In looking forward to unlocking some of that value moving forward.” he says.
Whether radio or television, Mr Blackley does have a strong background in managing talent, having a financial interest in RGM Artists. It also seems that his management style includes MBWA or Management By Wandering Around. “I’ll talk to all of the executive. I’ll talk to all of those observers and investors in our company. And those investors are also those agencies and advertisers. And I’ll also talk to the talent and ensure that I’ve got a full view of the perspectives challenges and opportunities that present themselves.”
In the end though, it’s all about profit and any CEO’s job is about maximising it. Mr Blackley’s way of going about it is, “Always trying to create creative and innovative solutions for whatever media you’re in and then packaging and monetising that in the marketplace is critical. From that end I’d like to bring a very healthy approach to looking at the assets – exploiting the greatest value from those assets, from ratings to revenue. And if you do that, you’re going to have the opportunity to reinvent and prosper,” says Mr Blackley.