2020 Talent Survey reveals what makes a great content director

Staff Writer
Craig Bruce, Hamish Blake
Hamish Blake & Craig Bruce / Game Changers Radio

The results of the 2020 Game Changers Talent Survey were released this week, with feedback from over 200 announcers around Australia making up the data released in consultation with Create Consult Research.

Now, Craig Bruce is breaking down the results, and the latest breakdown answers the question; ‘What makes a great content director?’

What makes a great CD?

“The programmer/presenter combination can change the trajectory of a radio station. Just ask Wendy Harmer, Jamie Dunn and Matt Tilley about the influence that Brad March and Brian Ford had on their respective careers.” Radio Game Changers – the book by Jay Mueller and Craig Bruce.

We asked you to name the best programmer you’ve worked with and what made them so good.

There were 2 key themes that emerged from the comments.

1. Good programmers have a clear plan.

I was never left in any doubt about what he wanted….” “He gives clear direction and feedback on what the goals are” “Someone who works with the team and says how can we achieve this”.

2. They are competent.

He understands how radio works” “She understood the product and the audience” “He understood the needs of the audience”.

A content director’s core competency is to understand in great detail exactly how the format actually works – this is sometimes overlooked or undervalued against the softer modern management skills we rightfully should also be focused on.

Make no mistake though, your team will know if you’re making it up as you go along. You can’t bullshit your way through the role of programming a radio station.

Other comments from the survey that stood out, one describing ex-Fox FM CD Adrian Brine this way – “He was honest and ego-less, that’s a rare quality”…True dat.

And I really like this one – “Some were hands-off and some weren’t. I’ve discovered I needed someone in between. A programmer who gives me freedom, but will help steer the ship when I’m feeling lost and need some motivation.”

And here’s one comment that captured a deeply invested relationship between the CD and host – “He cared about me as a person”.

This reminds me of one of my favourite moments from the Game Changers podcast when I asked Chrissie Swan what she needed from her content director and she replied – “I need me CD to like me, I need to know that he’s in my corner and that he genuinely likes me as a person because I’m bringing all of myself to the show every day.

The message for programmers and producers is really clear.

To get the best out of your show, you need to invest in the relationships with your on-air teams. Spend time with them, listen to them, clear the path for them and most importantly acknowledge their best moments as soon as they happen.

Few things will inspire you like a specific compliment from somebody you admire. It’s amazing… one sentence can carry you for years.” David Perell.

Tomorrow we’ll dissect your thoughts on the keys to landing a clear vision for your show.

And next week the Game Changers podcast is back with more conversations and insights on the 2020 talent survey with NZME’s Todd Campbell, Corus Entertainment’s Ronnie Stanton, Grants Broadcasters Ryan Rathbone and more.

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