30 Under 30: Meet your Campaigns winners

Staff Writer

Today it’s all about the Campaigns category in Radio Today’s 30 Under 30 competition.

Jordan Florence-Rieniets from NOVA Entertainment, and Cameron Maurice and Kerry Gregory from Australian Radio Network (ARN) took out the category, and it’s time to find out why.

Here, each winner spells out exactly what they think the greatest challenge facing the industry is, and why they believe, despite the uphill battle, radio will continue to thrive.

The winners tackle everything from mental health and unrealistic expectations, to podcasting and COVID-19 revenue challenges.

Radio Today’s 30 Under 30 Awards were made possible by support from ARN, Nine, SCA, NOVA, ACE Radio and Sony Music.

Jordan Florence-Rieniets, NOVA Entertainment

What are the biggest challenges facing the industry?

“Sure, we could talk of the threat of other media vying for commercial revenue from radio, of podcasts and streaming killing the radio star, or our slightly archaic way of measuring audience numbers, but I back in our industry’s ability to adapt and to overcome these tests.

“Our biggest obstacle lies deeper than that. It has implications on recruitment and retention of the brightest individuals. It reflects a greater societal concern and there is far more at stake than revenue dollars or time spent listening.

“The mental health and wellbeing of our employees is the biggest challenge facing our industry and one that must be addressed collectively.

“The joint 2018 study How Mentally Healthy Are We? (Everymind, Never Not Creative, UnLtd:) showed that nearly one in five employees in the creative, media and marketing industries show severe symptoms of depression, compared to 12% in the national average. This is a staggering portion of our workforce.

“The radio industry should lead the charge in prioritising the wellbeing of employees above all else. We should actively increase mental health awareness, prioritise the development of personal resilience and job satisfaction, provide flexibility in work arrangements supporting achievable work-life balance, provide early intervention and support staff recovery from mental illness.

“In my opinion, the entire industry should work in collaboration on initiatives that provide training and guidelines on how to foster mentally healthy work environments but also how to respectfully raise awareness and provide guidance on reporting accurately and the language used in reporting. This would ensure that the industry is proactive in its approach and at the forefront of driving awareness, prevention and education of mental health in Australia.

“I’ve personally witnessed how the stress of expectations, unrealistic deadlines, barely attainable targets, and relentless workloads has led to some of the very brightest talent I’ve worked with to leave the radio industry. This is an indictment on our industry, and with wellbeing and lives at stake, one that that requires a radical reset.”

Kerry Gregory, Australian Radio Network

What are the biggest challenges facing the industry?

“This year has been the year of the podcast. Australian audiences have access to a wide range of products to listen to and have had a lot more listening time.

Christian O’Connell recently said to Radio Today, ‘There are some really well-produced podcasts. And I think what’s happened is radio’s been very snobbish, and I think a bit blinkered about it over the last 10 years, where it’s just refused to accept podcasting is getting bigger and bigger.’

“Radio needs to keep up with this medium, and every station should have a variety of podcasts available. The industry has done well to become a multi-platform brand, with social media and digital products. Podcasts need to be a permanent add on.

Christian O’Connell’s Stuff of Legends podcast, is a perfect example of a radio show making use of podcasting. It’s already proving to be very popular on iHeartRadio. Show podcasts such as Jase & PJ and Will & Woody are often charting in Australia.

“I do, however, feel somewhat concerned that podcasting apps in general, could jeopardise the radio audience. I see a challenge for the radio industry as the platform may slow down radio.

“We need to maintain listening. Audiences have access to all kinds of podcasting and streaming services; they can choose whatever they want. Rather than listening live to whatever content a show is doing, they can pick their content from the audio libraries.

“I think this is putting pressure on shows to continue to produce unique content that keeps a listener tuning back in. With so many other options available, I’m cautious listeners may become less engaged.

“As an industry, we need to create quality podcasts and build a strong strategy to keep listeners tuning in to live radio.”

Cameron Maurice, Australian Radio Network

What are the biggest challenges facing the industry?

“The impact of COVID-19 is certainly a major contender as the biggest current challenge. This virus has propelled us in learning how to navigate running a radio station remotely, adapt to changing listening habits, facing volatile adverse commercial conditions and reducing our ability to create certain touch-points e.g. live events, offsite video content.

Audience: Perhaps as a current Melburnian in the eye of the storm and recent results showing a dramatic drop off of Breakfast radio listening (445,00 CUME) this challenge seems very real. Will habitual listening return as Melburnians leave their homes and hit the road again? As creatures of habit, I believe this will return but the challenge is how can we gain the maximum audience on return. Marketing, strong relatable content and escapism will all be pivotal to secure new audience long term.

Revenue: We’re not just fighting for the radio dollar but convert other budgets – e.g. digital, TV – into our remit. The challenge is as every dollar is scrutinised and ROI is squeezed to the absolute maximum radio needs to demonstrate its worth in market more than ever before.

Although FM radio is our bread and butter, there is untapped revenue and new opportunities to help retain advertising market share.

“In contrast to the drop in Breakfast listening, podcasting has seen a period of phenomenal growth/ Therefore as a business our challenge is effectively monetising this audience to our advertiser. We must innovate beyond the standard pre-roll mid-roll by delivering on integrated content, bespoke podcasts and in future live ticketed events with these hosts.

“As history tells us, radio will once again rise to the challenge innovating, developing and creating richer content that speaks to our audiences one-to-one every single day with immediacy and intimacy second to none.”

Stay tuned for the next two weeks as Radio Today uncovers more of the award-winning answers from our 30 Under 30 class of 2020

You can listen to the special edition Radio Today Tonight podcast about the 30 Under 30 winners below.

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