30 Under 30: Meet your Content winners

Staff Writer

How many times have you heard “content is king”? You’re right, too many. And yet, here we are.

So it’s time to meet the content monarchs of radio – the 30 Under 30 superstars who took out the Content category.

There was representation from across the board, with Abi Benaud from Southern Cross Austereo, the ABC’s Matilda Marozzi, and ACE Radio’s Matt Lipiarski.

Here, the award winners reveal their thoughts on the biggest challenges facing their kingdoms.

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

You can also read about winners in the On Air, Marketing, Campaigns, Music, Podcasting, Production and Sales categories. The remaining categories will be released throughout the week.

Abi Benaud, Southern Cross Austereo

What are the biggest challenges facing the industry?

“I believe one of the biggest challenges facing the industry is the decline of young audiences. Gone are the days of entering the kitchen and hearing the 7:00am ABC Chime from mum’s radio. The radio had a place in everybody’s home. Mum’s on the fridge, Dad’s in the garage and the fights in the car as the nobs were switched from the latest pops to the cricket results and back to ABC for news and weather.

“Unfortunately, there is a decline in car listening. We now all have our own devices locked in by ear plugs or headsets. Our individual tastes and needs have surpassed ‘family time’ or majority rules. Whilst radio networks have been reinvigorating themselves to hold onto to the older audience, the decline in the younger audience continues to occur.

“We have to be innovative; the rise of streaming apps, pre-recorded podcasts and online media services such as YouTube, Instagram and Spotify are helping us cater for individual needs. These new platforms are shifting the focus to a wider variety of content, information and genres.

“Whilst we focus on keeping our loyal listeners and encourage them to embrace radio-generated podcasts, we need to be creative in our approach to entice the younger audiences.

“SCA operates Australia’s leading premium podcasting network – PodcastOne Australia – and provides for global open audio platform SoundCloud. SCA’s premium brands are supported by social media, live events, video, online and mobile assets that deliver national and local entertainment and news content. This innovation is vital, but it is also reflective of an environment that is changing, that is listening to it listeners’ needs.”

Matilda Marozzi, ABC

What are the biggest challenges facing the industry?

“The biggest challenge facing the industry is to grow the trust and loyalty of existing and emerging audiences – we need to retain and grow listeners to help stem revenue losses.

“Today people have access to more information and entertainment options than at any other previous time in history. You can tune into radio or podcasts produced anywhere in the world, or stream videos and music online – the choices are limitless.

“The radio industry needs to make sure that we are producing content that deserves people’s precious time and attention. Why choose to spend your time with us over everything else?

“Part of the solution is in making sure people can hear themselves in the content we make – are our talent as diverse and rich as the audience we are broadcasting too?

“In an era of misinformation and ‘fake news’, current affairs stations need to be more reliable than ever. Trust is crucial to retaining audiences.

“Radio also needs to be multiplatform – available where audiences are, whether it is their phone, analogue radio, car, television or smart speaker.

“Just like our platforms have diversified, so too must our income streams. Should we be looking at subscriptions or donations like the US? With digital technology constantly changing it can be hard to keep up – particularly for smaller commercial and community stations.

“Most radio broadcasters are embracing social media. Still, there are questions to be asked about what it means to be sending audiences to third-party platforms: Are we also sending advertisers there? Or are we just finding listeners where they are?

“The great news is people still want to be entertained and informed with audio content. We just need to figure out how to keep paying for it.”

Matt Lipiarski, Ace Radio

What are the biggest challenges facing the industry?

“As technology develops, so does the variety of listening choices for our audiences. Radio now competes with streaming services and podcasts for music and content, as well as social media and the 24-hour news cycle for immediate news coverage. The need to continue to adapt or risk falling behind is ever present.

“In our network, our digital and social media components have grown as promotions take on a grander scale and we ensure social media pages are up to date with the latest news, information and trends. It can be an overwhelming task. However, a sign that we are still a medium to envy comes from brands such as Spotify launching their own news services and featuring their own announcers in between streaming music – directly mirroring what radio does. This is because nothing beats connecting with voices you know and recognise.

“This also highlights another challenge to the industry – the risk of losing localism. The more we remove local content and talent from radio, particularly in regional markets, the more every station in the country sounds the same and we lose our point of difference from streaming services. If we sacrifice that local connection, then listeners won’t relate to our product in the same way or feel that pull to return to it.

“Keeping localism alive means there is always a place for spontaneity and unique content on-air. It means our listeners can be assured of a special and individualised experience that they can call their own. In the end, that is all competing services offer – power to engage with content that is unique to your needs and taste, and which hits you personally. If we can offer ourselves as both entertaining and designed especially for our listeners, then we remain competitive among their options and relevant to their lives.”

Stay tuned for the rest of the week 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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