Paul Jackson on Radio. Now and the Future

“I think the standard of Australian radio is very high,” says Nova Entertainment’s Group Program Director, Paul Jackson. “The engagement to radio has never been higher.“

He should know, having worked at both Global and Virgin in the UK.
“You look at all the demographics and share numbers are extremely strong and high and lots of stations doing very well in certain pockets.
“You look at Brisbane with just point one or two between a bunch of stations.
“What it says to me: in Sydney and Melbourne and any of the other market places there’s some brilliant radio shows. There’s half a dozen great breakfast shows in just Melbourne and they’re very, very competitive and any one of these stations has the potential to go to number one. So, its really about your performance every day.”
When Paul Jackson first arrived in Australia in November 2010 he didn’t expect to stay more than a few years. Now he’s settled in Australia and even taken out citizenship because beside the weather, the beaches, the food and more, he loves the challenging nature of this market.
“It’s never been tougher. But it’s never been more rewarding either. I’m sure a lot of listeners are changing their favourite station choices every week and every month depending on what the offer is on the table.
“For me, I can only say it’s a great industry to be in. I feel very lucky to be doing what I’m doing. And I’m sure that my colleagues in the other networks feel exactly the same,” he says.
While Jackson believes that Australian radio is as good as any in the world, he remains a passionate advocate for adopting the UK method of audience measurement, Cumes instead of Share, telling radioinfo, “maybe it’s more relevant to look at the stability of a cume number.”
What of radio’s future? Dr Jackson’s prognosis is upbeat.
“We live in a very fast changing world where every 18 months or two years we’re reinventing ourselves. Technology’s reinventing with that… and there’s huge leaps and change on the horizon.
“Where we sit right now, we have wonderful talent on air. We have the biggest stars in the country on radio networks everywhere. The cumes are high… I’m not seeing any decline anywhere in listening shares. 
“Wherever you go radio’s being listened to in shops and taxis. And across our cities people are highly engaged. So, really, we can only drop the ball. We’re in a fantastic position.”
What, if anything, is the vital ingredient to radio’s future – the ball we can’t afford to drop?
“If you keep giving me, the listener, a reason to listen to your radio station every day… if stations keep evolving and understanding their audiences and are in alignment with their expectations and they can keep providing that level of entertainment then audiences will keep on coming,” says Paul Jackson.
Tomorrow, we’ll speak with ARN’s Duncan Campbell about his assessment of Australian radio’s health. 

 Peter Saxon

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