ACE Radio: An eye on the future

There’s been a lot of discussion about the future of the Australian radio industry. In an era of mega-networks, hubbing and syndication, are there the jobs to bring new blood into the game?

For the ACE radio network, the answer is a resounding yes. With 18 stations in its stable across Victoria and southern NSW, the family-owned network is standing strong in what has been some difficult times in regional Australia.

ACE Radio CEO Mark Taylor says they adapt to and manage the economic challenges.

“Each market has its ups and downs often caused by matters out of our control,” he said.

“For example, over the years, droughts in our Wimmera and Mallee areas, or the Hazelwood Power Station closure in the Latrobe Valley and the economic effects from that happening now.”

Taylor explained that the network continues to find a way to reach its targets, primarily through the tight senior management group the company has gathered.

“This carries through to programming and every aspect of our operations. Overall, revenue both locally and nationally with our partners TRSN is going very well at present.”

Better times means more jobs and for ACE Radio it’s been hard to keep up with demand, especially as staff move on to bigger markets and bigger networks.

The answer has been investing at the grass roots with the Radio Training Institute filling the gap since the demise of Swinburne University’s Graduate Diploma of Arts (Commercial Radio) course.

“We contribute to our local communities very heavily both with ‘in kind’ advertising and with more financial support than most would imagine; the same principles are applied to why we got involved and remain so, in the RTI – we want to give back.”

“The RTI is our contribution to the industry – our owners Rowly and Judy Paterson, and the ACE Board, are passionate about it”.

Taylor also rejects talk that digital and podcasting will be the death of broadcast radio for two reasons – there’s currently so much work that they can’t produce students fast enough for all the networks, and ACE is leading by example by embracing the new technology.

“We would not have just bought four more stations if we were not very confident in radio and its future. We have made digital a part of our offerings to clients and have a staff of six dedicated to this based at our Traralgon media centre.”

“ACE Digital headed by my long-time colleague and friend, Grant Johnstone, is doing great work in this space,” he added.

Based in South Melbourne, RTI runs courses in voice-over, sports broadcasting, podcasting and an Advanced Radio Course that run 20 weeks and includes work attachment.

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