Who wants to be a better Content Director?

Barry Keohane previews the revamped AFTRS Content Director’s course.

One of the things I love doing most in my job is teaching others about radio, and sharing the knowledge that comes with 20+ years experience in the industry, working across numerous formats, markets and countries.  

I get a real buzz talking radio with people who share the same passion for this crazy industry, and hopefully I help them to take that next step in their careers.

Last year I had the privilege of lecturing students at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School on being the next great Content Director, and I’m excited that I was asked back to lecture again this year, and asked to write new material.

As we have made a few changes, I thought I should talk about the course and what students can expect, how the course is run, and take you through some of the new material included in this years course. Oh, by the  way, it has a new name. Welcome to the “Industry Certificate: 2019 Radio Content, Management and Leadership”.

What content is included in the course?

The course is broken into four sections – Content Design, Learning and Leadership, Building Teams, and Tactical Programming. We cover quite a lot of content in the 24 weeks – everything from audience research, to different formats, principles of adult learning, motivation, leadership and management skills, right through to designing strategies for success. The course has evolved over the years and really focuses on what you need to know to take that next step to becoming a great Content Director. Plus, it’s open to anyone with radio experience, either in community, commercial or public broadcasting.

What’s new?

Following consultation late last year with an industry panel, AFTRS identified a number of areas that needed updating and also a few areas that were missing. This year we have included more on the attributes of a successful programmer, and explain the difference between station strategy and tactics.

I also spent quite a bit of time working on tips to building resilience with your team when things go wrong. And, most timely, there is also a new section designed with help from David Fuller (HR at Commercial Radio Australia) around Codes and Compliance, managing physical and mental wellbeing in the workplace, and calling out inappropriate behaviour (eg. Bullying, sexual harassment). We also identified a need to better understand the business of radio, so there is new content around understanding the business and tips on fostering strong client/partner/sponsor relationships.

What is the delivery mode?

All of the content is available online, and we work through each stage together. Students can work at their own pace (but not too far ahead), and there are activities to complete along the way. After each activity, I provide individual feedback to students to help them prepare for the assessment task at the end of the subject.

There are four assessments to do over the 24 week period. We also connect each week via Zoom (video), and at the start of the course there is a residential workshop at AFTRS (Sydney) where we meet face to face, and hear from some amazing guest speakers. Plus enjoy a drink or two.

How do the Zoom sessions work?

The Zoom sessions run for 1 hour, and are a great way to connect with other students and share ideas, and talk through the content. We also invite special guests each session to talk to the subject at hand. One of the real strengths with this course is the incredible access you get to experts from around the industry, who are all happy to give up their time to talk with the students. Previous guests have included Sue Carter (Gold 104.3 Melbourne), Craig Bruce (Ex SCA), Ronnie Stanton (Grant) and Peter Yiamarelos (SCA).

What are the challenges?

Like any study you do while working fulltime, the only real challenge is time management. My suggestion is to follow the guidelines we provide, read the assessment well ahead of time and know what is required, and start working on your activities/assessments as soon as possible. Don’t leave it until the last minute. And make sure you read the questions properly!

What support is provided?

Apart from the weekly Zoom sessions, I’m only ever an email/phone call away. Always happy to talk about the content, and answer any questions you have around the activities/assessments. Plus you get to meet other students at the residential weekend and can share ideas and questions/answers with them. I know how hard it is to study and work fulltime (while also having a life), so we will work through challenges together.

Enrolments close on April 29. Enrol here.




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