Collaboration, communication and… Ted Lasso? 30 Under 30 winners reveal their leadership secrets

Editor & Content Director

Collaboration and communication is key to success in radio, but sometimes you also need something else.

According to Jake Powell, a music director at Grant Broadcasters, that secret ingredient could be a little bit of Ted Lasso, a TV character who likes to wrap the people around him up in a (metaphorical) hug.

“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,” the 30 Under 30 winner says.

Kate, Tim & Joel’s producer, Gemma Prendergast, similarly wants those around her to succeed.

“A great leader understands that they can only succeed if the people around them succeed. A great leader is supportive, asks questions, is an incredible listener and allows people around them to achieve their goals,” she says, noting she’s looking forward to helping shape the next generation of radio superstars.

Helene Lambetsos, meanwhile, believes she was shaped by the strong leaders around her, which she can now adapt and impart on others.

“In my time at radio, I believe I have learnt from the best. My news directors have been strong, smart and news-savvy women, who have prioritised accuracy and fairness above all else. They have taught independence and judgement within the newsroom, which I believe has quickly shaped me into the journalist I am,” she says.

Read more about our 30 Under 30 winners below.


Gemma Prendergast, national Drive producer – Kate, Tim & Joel, Nova, NOVA Entertainment, (27)

What makes Gemma Prendergast a future leader in audio? 

“In order to be a future leader in the audio industry I believe one must understand the agile and ever-changing landscape that the industry is facing. As an individual, I pride myself in my ability to not only adapt to change but also understand why it’s happening. Throughout my career I’ve always had the mindset of ‘What’s next?’ and looking towards the next big challenge. My natural curiosity and eager-to-learn-new-things attitude has allowed me to gain an in-depth understanding of all aspects of the audio industry, which I believe is essential to be a leader in this business.

“Another key trait which is essential to be a leader is the ability to work with a range of different people and functions within the one business. My career so far is a prime example of my capability to achieve this. As a producer you have to successfully work with a range of different people on a daily basis – from talent, to talent managers, members of the sales team, digital, audio, promotions, copywriters, just to name a few. Without clear and effective communication between these different functions, the show would not be as successful as it is.

“A great leader understands that they can only succeed if the people around them succeed. A great leader is supportive, asks questions, is an incredible listener and allows people around them to achieve their goals. With the above in mind, I can see myself as a future leader in this business as I believe that I have all the attributes needed to guide the next generation of young professionals in the audio entertainment industry.

“The audio industry is agile, exciting and ever-changing which is an exhilarating venture that I’m eager to continue my journey on.”


Helene Lambetsos, journalist & newsreader, Nine Radio (26)

What makes Helene Lambetsos a future leader in audio? 

“In my time at radio, I believe I have learnt from the best. My news directors have been strong, smart and news-savvy women, who have prioritised accuracy and fairness above all else. They have taught independence and judgement within the newsroom, which I believe has quickly shaped me into the journalist I am.

“That environment has given me a leadership style which is largely collaborative with others in the newsroom. People bring different strengths to the table, so even when editing and reading the news I believe it’s important to seek the feedback of other reporters on the best way to shape a story, and what is of most importance to our listeners.

“I believe this will help my ability to be a future leader in the industry because it will allow for adaption along with technology. Radio is going through a huge change right now, with more content going online. That will naturally lead to a wider range of voices being part of the news cycle, and a broader demographic of listeners, so it’s important to be able to learn and adapt from others.”


Jake Powell, music director – Random 30 & Oz Made, Grant Broadcasters (26)

What makes Jake Powell a future leader in audio? 

“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 seven 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 shrunk 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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MP
14 Oct 2021 - 2:03 pm

JP is the best of the best

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