Last but not least: The final 30 Under 30 winners ready to take on the world

Former Editor & Content Director

Today’s 30 Under 30 winners come from lands as far and wide as content, strategy and the news room.

They might have different backgrounds, different departments and different KPIs, but they are united by their love of radio and their ability to step up and get things done – whether that’s Jenna Benson’s unique contribution to the Is It Just Me? podcast (in addition to her day job), Jessica Rouse making sure her news bulletins are always local and resonating with audiences, Meg Van Lohuizen pushing to inspire the next generation, or Arabella Adams helping to define audio and get results for both herself and her clients.

Our four superstars today are ready to take charge, so let’s see what they’ve got to offer.

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.”

Jessica Rouse, news director, 2HD and NEWFM Newcastle, Super Radio Network (25)

What makes Jessica Rouse a future leader in the audio industry?

“My love of the radio industry and my passion to make the best, most informative, local news bulletin will make me a future leader in the industry.

“I think what prepared me most for the jobs I’ve had so far is the training I had under Ian Crouch at 2NURFM. I learned how to find, write and read the news, I also learned how to lead a newsroom and was trusted to stand in as news director when Ian was away for a day or even weeks at a time.

“Spending more than three years at 2NM and PowerFM in Muswellbrook being in charge of the local news certainly taught me that I had to make the right decisions on news items on my own and quickly. I was able to hone in on my skills and developed a very good gut instinct when it came to hunting down news items and deciding what was news and what wasn’t.

“Being there for an extended amount of time meant that I was able to learn what the audience really cared about when it came to news. Every time it was something that was local. Anything from a car accident to a local community group getting a donation of money or goods, the community cared about it every time.

“Before I left I was able to train some of the people at 2NM/PowerFM and at other stations in our network on the news role as well. For example, I was teaching my temporary replacement how to find, write and read news whilst also mentoring other people in the network answering questions they had or helping them work through problems such as what was legal and ethical to publish about a matter before the court.

“I’ve been in my current leadership role for six weeks now and everything I learnt over the last four years has helped me immensely already.

“A new skill I’m developing is ‘people management’. I have learnt quite quickly as a leader ‘people politics’ plays a big part in your job. Already I have had to negotiate for one of my journalists working from home amid the COVID-19 pandemic which isn’t the simplest task. Using my problem-solving skills I was able to successfully negotiate a way for it to be implemented in a way that caused minimal disruption to on-air announcers and management.

“I think my natural ability to get along with anyone and work with people from all backgrounds helps my leadership style as well. I believe that while I might be the news director, the newsroom is a team, and the director must lead from the front.”

Meg Van Lohuizen, journalist, Nine Radio (24)

What makes Meg Van Lohuizen a future leader in the audio industry?

“I am a future leader in the radio industry because I believe in helping the next generation succeed.

“In each stage of my career, I have invested my time and skills to train others, and share my passion for radio. I have helped guide new members into the world of commercial radio and everything it entails – from community connection, to pride in their work.

“I believe I have the skillset to one day move into management to help guide the next generation of the audio industry. I am patient, an excellent communicator, and willing to help others learn. In addition, my passion for the industry will engage future radio stars, and I hope to help them on their journey of success. My experience in regional radio, and current journey in the metro market gives me experience in all stages of a person’s radio career. I believe I can use the story of my journey to inspire others and guide them in their own career.

“I hope to one day help others by offering guidance and insight, and provide training similar to what I received at the start of my career.”

Arabella Adams, client strategy manager, ARN (27)

What makes Arabella Adams a future leader in the audio industry?


“As a strategist your day-to-day is to uncover opportunities so I naturally gravitate towards challenging, learning, truth-seeking and questioning. It’s this kind of mindset that leads to progress, innovation, and growth. This sense of drive in both discovery and un-covery marks the value of a strategist in the audio industry and is why I can help propel our industry forward.

“Drive to uncover
“Our industry is changing, as we move away from a ‘radio-only’ mentality and see listeners and advertisers look to a more holistic approach to audio it means we have to push the boundaries to discover new ways to connect listeners and brands.

“At ARN I am lucky enough to be at the forefront of this; with ‘Defining Audio’ as my guiding principle I have set out to do so.

“Each client brief we receive I aim to push the limits. I am driven to assist our clients and agencies better understand their audiences through in-depth data analysis on audio consumption.

“Drive to deliver
“Everyday, I aim to deliver the most strategically sound solutions. At the end of the day we are in commercial radio, and as a strategist I always have my own key objective top of mind: Deliver audio-centric solutions that will benefit agencies, clients, colleagues and most importantly listeners. One example being, I have worked alongside the Commercial Connections team at ARN by leading the release of the insights series, Australia Unplugged.

“This 10-part series covers category specific deep-dives off the back of COVID-19. Myself and the Melbourne strategy team of two have collectively presented this 30+ times in-market to ensure we are providing valuable insights to help brands and clients connect to the new Aussie consumer post-pandemic. It is this sort of utility that can help continually pave the way forward and create new audio connections and innovations in-market.”

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