Competition heats up as 30 Under 30 deadline draws near

Former Editor & Content Director

It’s Friday afternoon, but as millions of us can’t knock off early and go to the pub, or indulge in a long lunch, or even have a picnic in a park (yet!), why not bunker down and finish your 30 Under 30 entry?

We extended the deadline once, and can see more than a few of you with unfinished entires in the portal. So, get to it!

You now have until 11:59pm (AEST) on Sunday, August 29 to submit your entries.

You can read everything you need to know about the awards, including eligibility criteria, here.

If a looming deadline isn’t enough to get you motivated or inspired, check out some of the top-notch entries we’ve received below.

Max Burford has worked on Adelaide’s Ben & Liam program and recently signed on the Nova 91.9’s new weekend show The Jodie Oddy ShowHe’s a relative newbie to the industry, but says his relatively rapid rise has pleasantly surprised him.

Jenna Benson, meanwhile, joined WSFM in 2019, and has since then improved is social media output, increased engagement and won ‘Best Off-Air Team Member’ in ARN’s Mini Internal ACRAs. Plus, she brings her own brand of spice and sass to the Is It Just Me? podcast (in case the show needed any more if it!)

And then there’s Jake Powell, whose impressive resume could perhaps disguise just how young he still is. He’s notched up a number of survey wins as music director across multiple regional and metro stations. He is a champion of Australian music and says his leadership style can be likened Ted Lasso (if you know, you know).

To get amongst it, visit the Take 2 Media awards platform and start your submission. Entries close this Sunday, August 29 at 11:59pm AEST, 2021.

The 2021 Radio Today 30 Under 30 Awards with SCA are supported by Australian Film Television and Radio School, ARN, Grant Broadcasters, Nine, NOVA Entertainment and Sony Music Australia.

Max Burford, sports presenter, Nova 91.9 (29)

What makes Max Burford a future leader in the audio industry? 

“I could not work in a team more conducive to learning than the Ben & Liam Breakfast team. In a short time, I have observed some of the industry’s slickest operators in their element. Having such a switched on and versatile group around me in the infancy of my radio career has led me on a steep learning curve and shown me the various paths I can go down.

“In terms of leadership as a quality, I have already taken on a leadership role with The Jodie Oddy Show on Saturday mornings. I like to drive the on-air chat. And the planning and preparation phase is exciting and something I take seriously.

“Away from radio, I am the head sports reporter and sports producer at 10 News. This role involves running the department and dictating our days. I have a big influence over the national sport for the day, as well as running the rule over the entire local bulletin. This involves making decisions – often under enormous time crunches – that dictate what goes to air. I also manage the other sports staff.

“In my opinion, this experience in media has already given me the confidence and authority to take control when necessary in the radio world. Obviously as the fresh meat, I don’t do a heap of that on Ben & Liam. But I would like to see The Jodie Oddy Show succeed and hope that my leadership influences that.

“If you want a little extra sprinkling of leadership, I am the oldest bloke (at 29!) in my local footy team by a mile and thoroughly enjoy taking ownership of the group and rallying the troops. Completely irrelevant…but I enjoy it!”


Jenna Benson, digital content producer, ARN (28)

What makes Jenna Benson a future leader in the audio industry? 

“The Australian audio industry is in need of young, fresh minds – particularly ones that will champion a stronger ethos of diligence, innovation and creativity in all facets and in all rungs of the industry. I believe I tick all those boxes.

“While I primarily focus on the digital/social world of audio, I also produce and feature in the iHeartRadio podcast Is It Just Me? proving my dedication and passion for the industry. By experiencing and understanding these different elements, I believe I am becoming a better leader, and one that can eventually be the representative body of the audio industry’s digital world.

“Based on the DISC Theory by Dr. Marston, I have a ‘C Type’ personality style. This style brings perspective to groups and tends to be the ‘anchor of reality’ in the team. When something is proposed, the C will think through every detail of how it works and the process. They will make realistic estimates and voice any problems they see with the plan or the already existing system. I am very much the ‘C Type’ within the digital and WSFM teams, offering pragmatic ideas that the team and I can easily execute with great results.

“I believe hard work, passion and determination are vital in becoming a leader in the audio industry – traits that I pride myself on. My ability to understand and empathise with the on-air team as well as those behind the scenes is why I have achieved such fantastic digital results across the network.

“Initiative, independence and collaboration are also essential in becoming a future leader. My work cannot be planned, it is reactive to whatever is happening at that moment. My videos, images, articles and podcasts encapsulate this. It is this daring initiative that is vital in leadership. It is also the intertwining of independence and collaboration that is of utmost importance. I don’t rely on others to do the hard work. I do it all myself, but this is where the collaboration aspect comes in. My achievements cannot be attained without collaboration and teamwork, followed by the independence and initiative to successfully get something done without compromising quality. These are essential components of a future leader.”


Jake Powell, music director, Grant Broadcasters (26)

What makes Jake Powell a future leader in the audio industry?

“My leadership style can be described in two words: Ted Lasso. If you have not seen the show on AppleTV+, Ted Lasso is an American football coach who moves to the United Kingdom to coach a Premier League football team while knowing nothing about soccer. Like Ted, I care about wrapping people in a hug metaphorically. That 80s-90s-pound-the-desk-and-yell-at-people style of leadership does not work. Each day I wake up wanting other people around me to succeed. I am constantly asking myself how can I make someone else better? Listening is the key. A great leader knows how to listen and ask the right questions to prompt his or her team into executing goals. I am curious and not judgmental as I want to learn and succeed.

“I have overseen a team of 14 remotely, been a co-leader of a team of over 14 people, a co-leader of a team of 10 people and am currently a leader of a team of 7 people. In each of these situations, I have been the youngest person.

“There are not many new music directors coming through in radio. The talent pool has shrunken due to less investment into new talent and more centralisation meaning there are less roles for music directors. Automatic music scheduling is an ever-growing threat as well. Music lives and breathes. A computer cannot understand what a human can about music. With this in mind, I see myself at the forefront of being the next generation of radio music programmers who is able to guide the young people coming through. I had many great mentors that helped me when they were under the age of 30. Being 26, I have now willingly stepped into that guiding and leading role.”


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Mike Byrne
27 Aug 2021 - 2:44 pm

I don’t know Max but I do know both Jenna and Jake very well. Both are true future leaders of our ever changing industry and if their styles and ability are anything to go by, unlike some of the dinosaurs I see commenting on industry pages, we’re in for an exciting, vibrant future! Vote 1 Jenna… or Jake… or Max.


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