Today and tomorrow, around 200 of SCA’s finest gather in Sydney for their second annual “One United” management conference. Big enough to rival CRA’s Radiofest, Southern Cross Austereo have secured their own internationally famous keynote speaker in the form of super salesman and convicted fraudster, Jordan Belfort. Now a motivational speaker and best selling author of the Wolf of Wall Street, Belfort will be played by Leonardo DiCaprio in a forthcoming movie by Martin Scorsese.
Attendees from 45 locales representing both the company’s Radio and Television assets include General and Sales Managers, Content Directors, Heads of Integration and others from the pointy end of the SCA totem pole. Heading all that up, of course, is CEO Rhys Holleran who spoke exclusively to Peter Saxon on the eve of the conference.
radioinfo: It’s been just over a year since the merger. At the time you suggested there’d be synergies that would make the whole greater than the parts. How’s that panned out?
Holleran: Synergy literally means when you put two parts together, you end up with a bigger part. We didn’t take over a company we brought two great organisations together.
There’s been a lot of good outcomes for us. Businesses like our Entertainment Media Unit have been able to expand their horizons and do things not just across markets, but across platforms. Cross-platform for us means broadcast radio, broadcast television, online, experiential, social media… all that sort of stuff.
radioinfo: What’s the overall theme for this conference?
Holleran: Last year was about uniting everybody as one team. Now that we are a united team, it’s evolving into areas like; how can we be number one in all of our different areas of business, whether that be in sales or delivery or the many aspects we have now with content?
radioinfo: Walk us through the agenda…
Holleran: We open up with our keynote speaker Jordan Belfort (left) who’s had a fascinating career. His story is pretty colourful, but it’s a very strong story of sales success and building teams and getting people to work together. That’s a pretty good opening for our group.
I always do a bit of a wrap up of the past year and the year ahead and the state of our stations. Our national executive team members do presentations on where we are with our brands or where we are with sales or our social media. They form the first day of the conference, the plenary sessions.
Then on day two we put three special streams up. Those three streams essentially represent the three pillars of our business; We produce content. We monetise that content. And we deliver that content across multiple platforms.
So we have a content stream. A sales/management stream. And then we have a technology stream. Then they focus on different things such as, how to create a great breakfast show or basic issues such as compliance – not just broadcast compliance, but workplace compliance which is a significant issues for large companies these days.
Its all that basic stuff. Whether that’s about sales prospecting or how to write a brief and emerging trends in sales etc. Those sort of basic things… it’s good for people to go through that sort of process.
radioinfo: What do you hope will be the main outcomes from the conference – what changes will take effect when your delegates go back to work next Monday morning?
Holleran: I don’t see our conference as some sort of rah rah session or group hug. We’re not pyramid selling products we’re building a business.
For us it’s a lot about renewing your vows. I think its important that 200 people from probably 45 different parts of Australia, towns and cities, all get together. I think the chemistry of all that is sensational. My expectation is that they’ll feel more connected.
The absolute strength of our company is our production of content and our production of local content. And our strength, of course, is that we’re a great network. We produce content that goes across all platforms in all markets and we also produce content for just one particular market. So getting people together gives them a sense for where some of the content delivered to their market comes from. I think that that’s incredibly valuable for their thinking and ongoing education.
radioinfo: What do you see as the challenges for SCA in the coming year?
Holleran: Obviously the world financial markets are difficult still. The advertising market is choppy. Advertising cycles are shorter than they’ve ever been. There’s certainly a bit of anxiety and uncertainty out there. These are things you don’t have a great deal of control over, but they do shape organisations. They’re not issues you can do a lot about, but the skill is; how do you operate in the environment you’re in. I don’t think there’s any one quick answer to those things. But I think that we’re pretty good at it.