30 Under 30: Meet your On Air winners

Staff Writer

30 of the most promising rising stars in radio were revealed last week as part of Radio Today’s 30 Under 30 competition.

And after an extensive judging process, three winners were crowned in the hotly contested On Air category.

Congratulations to Lachi Rooke from Ace Radio; Nathan Roye from Southern Cross Austereo; and Jonathan Skewes, Grant Broadcasters.

Here, each winner spells out exactly what they think the greatest challenge facing the industry is, as they watch it change and evolve from behind the mic – and why they believe, despite the challenges, radio will continue to thrive.

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

Lachi Rooke, Ace Radio

What are the biggest challenges facing the industry?

“Talent development is a big challenge for the industry. I cut my teeth in regional radio as a young kid coming in on weekends learning the craft. Unfortunately those opportunities aren’t as available anymore, due to many factors, one being networking.

“Obviously COVID has had a huge impact on staff numbers in the industry as a whole and hopefully post-COVID, we can get back on track, sit down as an industry and work out ways to keep people in radio.

“I know people are still keen to get themselves in the industry and why wouldn’t you? It’s an amazing one to be a part of, but we need to provide that outlet for people in some way, shape or form.

“I also think keeping radio relevant going forward is another challenge. We’re seeing so many different forms of broadcasting and avenues of advertising that the challenge is on us to make sure radio is still top of mind when advertisers are looking to spend money again. From a regional point of view, local businesses are key, and supporting them and developing relationships with them can hold us in good stead for when that money-spending time comes. I think that applies right across the board no matter what size market you are in.

“In saying this, I do feel a sense of excitement towards the challenges because it forces us to think outside the box and challenge the norm, so to speak. They’re challenges we need to embrace and face front on.”

Nathan Roye, Southern Cross Austereo

What are the biggest challenges facing the industry?

“The obvious answers to ‘What are the biggest challenges facing the industry?’ come off the back of the impacts of COVID-19.

“Commercially the challenge we have already seen is ensuring revenue can return to the industry and radio, ensuring commercial clients trust the medium, and see and understand the great benefits of spending their marketing dollars with us. Radio must ensure that content wise we can deliver commercial products unlike any other marketing mediums. We can deliver products that provide cut through and meaningful connections to consumers with proven results. Restoring, reinvigorating, and rekindling that trust with commercial clients, be they local or national, is a pivotal challenge the industry will constantly face.

“The challenge to remain local is one that that syndication/nationalisation and redundancy inevitably works against within the radio industry. The power of localism is really all radio has left. Locals love local, and to starve communities (be they metro or regional) of local radio broadcast and the biggest issues they care about and that directly impact them, will be detrimental to our medium.

“No other media service can do what we do – papers are bland, TV is scripted, but live radio has the power to deliver relevant local content important to listeners day in, day out.

“To stay at the top of the media landscape, radio must not lose its ‘local’ – it is the only thing that separates us from the beasts that are streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music.”

Jonathan Skewes, Grant Broadcasters

What are the biggest challenges facing the industry?

“There’s a general resistance to change in the radio industry.

“‘Why would we change the way we do this, it’s been the same for years now?’

“Content consumption is moving at a blinding pace, and unfortunately the radio industry as a whole is having a hard time keeping up. It has slowly moved from being proactive to reactive; setting trends to following trends.

“I believe radio is far from dead, but those who can not adapt to change will not survive.

“Nobody knows what radio will look like in 10 years from now, but I’ll definitely be here to find out.”

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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