Audata’s Keegan Bakker on founding radio’s leading promotions management system
Keegan Bakker is the co-founder and CEO of Audata, a software startup that helps media and entertainment businesses build more compelling, data-driven experiences for their audiences. Some of the biggest media & entertainment brands in the world now use Audata to manage and automate their promotions and prizing on one platform, making it the world’s #1 broadcast promotions management system.
Keegan started working in radio at 16 and landed his first major on-air gig at 21, when he scored the Afternoon shift on Fox FM, Australia’s largest radio station. He’s held the position for seven years and started Audata from his own experiences as a radio announcer.
Outside of his roles at Audata and Fox FM, Keegan is studying a Business degree at RMIT University in Melbourne, and is an Ambassador for Cystic Fibrosis Australia. We sat down with him to talk about the rise and rise of Audata and how he juggles the Justin Bieber back-announces with running an international software company
Where did the idea for Audata first come from?
I was a solo presenter on a station that does a lot of prize giveaways. It was just a nightmare trying to get all a winners details over the phone, then edit the call to get it on-air in the space of 1 or 2 songs. I knew there had to be a better way to handle the process, so I designed what is now Audata.
What is your driving purpose for the company?
I really love radio. Everyone talks about how traditional media is dying, but radio still has enormous audiences worldwide and creates such incredible content, so I’m obsessed with finding ways to use technology to help radio stay competitive and thrive in a data-driven media landscape.
What is the most common feedback you get about Audata?
I always get on-air people telling me how obvious it is that Audata was designed by an on-air person. It always sucks when you need to learn a new system or new software for your job, so it’s an enormous compliment when people who work in my industry tell me how much they love it.
What did you wish you knew before you started?
I wish I knew how important it is to enjoy the process and stop focusing so much on the outcomes or the objectives. Starting and growing a business is (obviously) not without it’s ups and downs, but there’s no point doing it if you don’t stop to appreciate the little wins and be mindful of the journey.
What have you learned about yourself during your journey?
I’ve learned that I can actually do sales pretty well. As an introvert I never picked myself as a natural salesperson and I’ve always hated the idea of picking up the phone and annoying people to try and land a meeting, but I’ve come to realise that sales isn’t really like that. There are people out there who are genuinely looking for new and better ways of doing things and they actually want to hear from you if you can offer that. If you believe in what you’re doing, it comes naturally.
What’s one thing have you had to overcome to get to where you are today?
I’ve struggled with a lot of imposter syndrome along the journey so far, and feeling constantly out of my depth. But the more I talk to other entrepreneurs and people in similar situations, the more I realise that nobody really seems to know what they’re doing. It’s just about sticking with your vision and having the confidence to keep going.
Does your role at Fox FM compliment your work on the business?
I’m very deliberate about wanting to stay in touch with our customers, so working in radio is obviously a great way to do that. In addition, being an entrepreneur can get quite lonely at times, and being amongst the amazing team at Fox is a great way to have human connection and stay sane.
Have you achieved all you wanted to in radio?
The only real professional ambition I ever had was that I wanted to do workdays at Fox FM: I decided that when I was about 18, and achieved it at 21. Since then I’ve been enjoying the ride, and I count myself incredibly lucky for some of the experiences I’ve been afforded through my on-air career.
What is the next move for Audata?
Our vision is to be the primary audience database our customers use. We want to help media businesses collect all their audience data from different systems & touch-points in one place, then use that data to drive insights & create personalised experiences for listeners. We’re investing a lot in developing that technology at the moment.
Tell us about the promotion you are running for Audata?
We’ve just announced our first ever Promo Star competition, an award to celebrate our end-users and the exciting & original radio promo ideas they’ve come up with and executed with Audata. We’ll be heading to Portugal next year for Radiodays Europe and we’re going to invite the winner to come along with us.
For details on Audata’s Promo Star competition, a chance to win your way to Portugal for Radiodays Europe 2020, click here and stay tuned for more info on the first Audata Accelerate conference coming later this year.