30 Under 30: Meet your Digital winners

Staff Writer

You simply can’t ask a radio network, content or audio boss about the industry without hearing the word “digital” in response – so there’s no doubt digital teams play a pivotal role in an audio company’s brand, audience connection, reach and success.

So here are three of the women leading the way in the space – your three 30 Under 30 winners in the Digital category.

We have Bree Gashparac from Australian Radio Network, and Teagan Sydes and Charlotte Kelly from Southern Cross Austereo. Read about the challenges and opportunities they see in the market below.

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, Sales, Content and News categories.

Bree Gashparac, Australian Radio Network

What are the biggest challenges facing the industry?

“A content director that I worked under at The Fox 101.9 once said at an all-staff meeting that digital content producers ‘are surveyed every single day’. I remember this quite clearly because it is a great example of the challenge faced when social media is ever-evolving.

“I may put a video meme of Cardi B eating popcorn with a tagline about Married At First Sight. It’ll reach 1.1 million people and almost return the same amount of views. A week later, Mark Zuckerberg changes the algorithm and we have to alter the script to get our audience to latch back on.

“Similar to running a content arc on air, you can run a piece of content online and then wake up the next day and realise the audience didn’t care.

“These days, our followers are expecting more from us as authentic content creators. Content that is forced doesn’t always have a pay off and it must come from a genuine place. These days a simple mistake on a caption can be absolutely Earth shattering and I appreciate that our listeners expect us to be at our best. Documentaries such as The Social Dilemma have woken people up as to what effect social media platforms are having on their lives. I believe this definitely has a ripple effect into how they view our online presence.”

Charlotte Kelly, Southern Cross Austereo

What are the biggest challenges facing the industry?

“With many new audio-on-demand streaming services, the fears of significantly less people consuming audio through radio is a challenge for the industry. We are constantly adapting to new listener habits in a modern world and in an attempt to combat this, we amplify our radio content through audio-on-demand services and promote listening to digital audio through our online channels and assets.

“Within a digital space, a major challenge we face is relying on third-party social channels for content distribution. With social channels such as Facebook and Instagram constantly changing their algorithms which is not always in favour of businesses, we are constantly ideating solutions that deliver on business results, not necessarily social media results. The unpredictability of the future of these platforms is a challenge we face as a business relying on them for content distribution.

“As a digital producer, I face these challenges by encouraging more audiences to subscribe to our Fox FM app where they can access our audio-on-demand services without relying on social media channels. Through strong relationships with talent, their contributions to on-air mentions on how listeners can ‘catch up’ on missed content, also helps with this challenge.

“I am constantly innovating new ways we can build a healthy digital audience that won’t be lost or affected if people were to switch off their radio or if social platforms disabled businesses from sharing their content.”

Teagan Sydes, Southern Cross Austereo

What are the biggest challenges facing the industry?

“Before major changes were made to many regional Breakfast shows across the country, my answer would have been equal opportunities and resources afforded to our phenomenal regional-based producers and content creators is something that is lacking.

“After moving to Melbourne, I met and began working with some fantastic regionally-based producers (digital, on-air, or both in most cases). I developed close relationships with many of them and was blown away by their work ethic, enthusiasm, thirst for learning and embracing how the digital product can help amplify their ideas and the content born from that. These employees were truly one-man/one-woman shows in their respective fields.

“For example, where a metro market would have at least five people dedicated to a show, they’re doing it all. This is everything from waking up at 3am for Breakfast radio, wrangling talent, panel-operating, on-air announcing, video production, writing editorials, liaising with PR and handling their social media accounts. Most of these markets were using their own equipment and software, not to mention time off the clock, to create digital content.

“In the past 18 months, so much of SCA’s best-rating digital content and most-downloaded audio has come from producers out of Mackay, Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie, just to name some of many. Working with these markets to surface the stories that were clearly so important to connecting regional audiences during this devastating and isolating pandemic has left me inspired to think beyond what we as producers directly affect and to consider the halo effect instead. I look forward to the year ahead of prioritising reinvestment in regional, and helping communities reconnect through both on-air and digital content.”

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

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