Ask the Experts – how long to stay in one spot ?

Staff Writer

Radio Today's 'Ask the Experts' is where we pose your questions to a revolving group of industry experts. As always, if there's a question you want to ask (and you can remain anonymous if you like), shoot it through to us here.

The experts this time are in HR and Management from various markets and companies across Australia.

Your question….

“Some people stay at the same place for up to 50 years, while other people have moved 50 times in their career.

 Too long at one place could make you stale, but chopping and changing all the time shows no "staying power". 
What's the ideal length of time to work at the same station?”

So what do the experts say….


Sean Ryan : General Manager, Nova 106.9 Brisbane (dmg radio australia)

I don’t think that you can come up with a number in terms of how long you should stay at a station. Most people I know in radio are passionate professionals who love the industry and both love and believe in the station/ Network they work for. Whilst you are having fun, offering value, growing and are shown respect, enjoy the experience. When one or all of the above wain, it is probably time to reconsider your future.

Some people look for the easy way to progress in the industry by job hopping, there is only one to reach the top….bloody hard work, team work and respect for all stakeholders……Internally and externally. This includes respect for your Product, listeners, the industry.

Understanding the vision of your company and knowing that we are in a very exciting transition period as an industry is a must. I love it!


Linda Wayman : General Manager, Mix 94.5 / 92.9 Perth (Southern Cross Austereo)

The key to staying in any role for an extended time is about attitude. If you remain enthused about the product or Brand and enjoy the role that’s great. But it’s more than that. You also need to check that you are alert to changes that are happening, whether it’s technology or competition, and that these changes are viewed as opportunities to learn, adapt and improve the business. If you find this motivating, then no one is really going to get stale.

However, if you are daunted, overwhelmed or just tired of it all, then it’s time to find a fresh challenge and motivation. It’s always best if you make that call, rather than someone else. Everyone is different and responds differently to change. People are also at different stages of their careers and their appetite for risk is also different. So there is no ideal length of time to stay at one station. Be ready to learn, maintain the enthusiasm, be open to opportunities, and Fate will take care of the rest.

Jayelene O'Callaghan : HR Advisor, Australian Radio Network

I don’t believe there is any particular ‘time frame’ for people to stay at one station, however I do think it is important for people to continue to learn and develop not only in their role, but in other areas that interest them.

There can be a number of factors that play a part in a person’s length of service with a particular organisation. Some people stay working in the same organisation for a long period of time if they are highly engaged in their role and the company or if they have been promoted internally into a management roles or within different departments.

At ARN we encourage staff to learn about different roles in the company and to apply for internal roles by advertising each week the current internal vacancies.


Kate Dundas : Director Radio, ABC

The need for program teams and individuals in a station to stay fresh, committed and connected remains key to a successful radio offering.

Let’s not forget though that the audience has a say in it too. They’ll quickly tell you when a program has stopped engaging them, whether it’s through ratings or increasingly via direct comments in social media spaces.

It takes time to build good presenters, producers and program teams. At ABC Radio we invest in training to help our people right through their careers – whether it’s a fresh face not long out of a radio course or Uni, a mid-career regional presenter, or a senior producer in a  metro station, it’s vital for everyone to keep learning about their craft, their audiences, and to stay focussed on how best to engage people on-air and online. When that stops happening, audiences know and fall away. You certainly know then it’s time to consider the options.


Anthony Wight : General Manager, 4MK / Zinc, Mackay (Prime Radio)

I agree with a saying our CEO, Ian Audsley, has which is "the ideal time to stay at a radio station is for as long as you're fulfilled in the job and feel you're continuing to add value to the business".

You also have to think about where your Radio Station sits in the cycle of a career. For us, a provincial town with 4 commercial stations, many people come here to achieve something great and then move on & upwards in the company.

I'm really comfortable with that, as helping people achieve their goals is a really great thing to do in life.

On the other hand, some people come here with the idea of doing just that, but then they find they get settled, create a great life and they stay for an extended time.

So for me, there is no 'right amount of time', but there is a right 'timing'. For some that timing can be as little as a year, whereas for others, they can still be delivering great, ever evolving and compelling radio 20 years from when they started. And that's what makes legends.


Any thoughts? Leave your comments below.

And as usual, if you have a question you want to ask our revolving group of experts (they come from all area's of radio), let us know here and we'll get it sorted for you.


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