Cathy O’Connor & Peter Charlton talk radio, ratings & talent fees
NOVA Entertainment chief Cathy O’Connor took the industry by surprise on Monday.
The seasoned executive revealed her plans to exit radio after accepting the top job at outdoor business oOh!media, making way for Peter Charlton to become Nova’s new CEO.
Talking to Radio Today shortly after the news broke yesterday (August 31), both O’Connor and Charlton were optimistic about a changing of the guard during a global health crisis.
“I heard from Lachlan [Murdoch] a little over a week ago, who told me Cathy’s news and asked me if I wanted to be CEO,” Charlton told me.
“Australia media, and business generally, have had a tricky time. We all know that. Media businesses have been as affected as anybody, but we’ve refocused and adapted our business.
“We’ve done that as a group executive team throughout this difficult COVID period, and created a structure and a team for the future, and for the future as we see it.”
Pictured: Nova’s outgoing CEO Cathy O’Connor with owner Lachlan Murdoch in 2014.
O’Connor believes that after a 12 year run as CEO, fresh leadership is “a great thing” for Nova.
She has overseen a period of tremendous growth and success for the privately-owned media business, which came under the control of Murdoch’s Illyria in December 2009.
When she departs in November, O’Connor named two career defined highlights from her tenure.
“Bringing Paul Jackson into the country, who had the courage to take Nova from its slightly off-mainstream format right up into the mainstream position was courageous,” O’Connor told me.
“Many people said it would be the betrayal of the Nova brand. So just seeing that pay off over the longer term has been an absolute pleasure to this day.
“And of course, the lessons we learned from Vega and Classic Rock played into the development of Smoothfm. We’re so proud of that brand,” she admits.
O’Connor and Charlton also offer some words of encouragement for future radio hopefuls after mass redundancies across the sector and their thoughts about on-air talent costs and ratings.