This year Radioinfo will go across the country and networks to catch up with General Managers on the state of the industry, their role within it and where we are headed.
Ange Parker has worked for the ACE Radio Network for 20 years in programming, sales, promotions, creative writing, marketing, on air and basically every role except station tech. Ange is pictured here at the 2022 ACRAs where she won Best Program Director – Country, another of her many hats. She is the GM of 2QN and EDGE FM, a huge listening area across the NSW and Victorian borders, and this week’s Manager’s Special.
What are the advantages of your (many multifaceted!) skill set and experience as a GM?
I often tell people when I first employ them that I’ve worked in every single department. I’ve worked in traffic. I’ve worked as a content director. I’ve done every role except engineer. The good thing about that is that I’ve then got an appreciation for what that role entails, the stress that comes with it, and the challenges. I also know how long it takes to do things.
What’s the best part of where you live and work?
I genuinely love what I do. Some days are hard. But then I just remember I love being in this community and all of the communities that I’ve lived in. I’ve made some lifelong friends and enjoy being able to look back at the success of the people that I’ve done business with personally and being able to see that we’re making a difference in our communities. And we really do genuinely change lives for some people.
The fact that I’ve been here for 20 years shows how much I love working for Rowly and Judy (Rowly and Judy Paterson are the ACE Radio owners). They’re the most genuine people I’ve ever met. I am very loyal to Ace Radio, and I feel like we’re part of a big family. That’s how Rowly and Judy treat all our staff. They come to visit us and it’s almost never for business but because they want to visit. Whenever a new staff member starts, they’ll call that person and welcome them. It is such a beautiful network to work for.
You started in commercial radio at 17. Are you exactly where you wanted to be?
I had two possible paths when I was still at school. I had been doing community radio for a number of years, and I really enjoyed it, but I was also into music, singing and playing the piano. I knew that I wanted to do something creative and decided to have a go at radio. I did really well at my AFTRS course and then I did work experience in Swan Hill. They pulled me in after one week and said, ‘We don’t really have a job for you, but we want you to stay.’
I remember making that phone call to Mum and Dad to say I’d been offered the job and was going to take it. Coming from an Italian family and a single girl moving out of home for the first time and being so far away from them, that wasn’t a popular decision but I wasn’t really giving them an option.
The first six months were hard because I didn’t have any friends, but I loved the job. I got a second job, and a third at one point. I was supervisor at the supermarket, part time. And I also worked at the pub on a Friday and Saturday night and sometimes on a Sunday during the day. Combining those two jobs, I then started to meet people that were outside of the radio station and developed a fantastic group of friends, many I’m still in contact with.
I backed myself then and I’ve never looked back.
Are there challenges to working across NSW and Victoria?
It does have its challenges, especially when you’ve got a public holiday that happens on one side of the border. We can always find a solution and I’ve got a great programming team to create one.
Covid was really difficult. The Echuca and Cobram offices couldn’t operate as normal, and for a period of time, the New South Wales office could. Plus there were different rules for different states. I’m pleased that that’s behind us now.
I’ve also given up my full time on air role because I am on the road a fair bit visiting three offices each week. But I’m still a backup for our programming team when we need it. I love being on air and able to connect with people.
What do you think the trends are for radio in 2024?
I’m intrigued to see how AI will integrate with traditional radio. I’m certainly not concerned that it will take over regional radio because we are so lucky and unique in how we can deliver the local product. But I am interested in how we can work with it.
What’s special about regional radio?
We do what we do because we love being in this community and we want to see the community thrive. I’m part of many different boards, on the business chamber in Deniliquin, part of the Deniliquin Community Group, I’m a Rotarian, part of the tourism group in Moama. I actively encourage our staff to do the same because we care about what happens in our town.
If something does negatively impact our town, which it has, we’ve gone through a couple of years where we’ve been affected by the floods. We can certainly be there to support the businesses and to support the community to get back on their feet. Rochester’s obviously being devastated by the floods two years in a row. My heart breaks when I hear the stories that people are still displaced after such a long time. Any way that we can help those communities I want us to be part of that because I want those communities to get back to being as strong as what they were.
I honestly feel really blessed to be in this industry, and part of an industry that’s still thriving. We have a lot to offer our listeners and our community and I’m happy to be along for the ride for hopefully a long time.
General Manager of the ACE Radio Network‘s 2QN and EDGE FM‘s Ange Parker is this week’s Radioinfo Manager’s Special in a series that we will run throughout 2024. If you’d like to chat, or nominate your GM, drop me a line.