Content Kings: Greg Smith
Greg Smith is one of Austereo’s longest-serving and most revered group program directors, holding the role for 9 years from 1986 through to 1995.
He’d previously been the first PD to take a mainland FM station to #1 overall for People 10+ at the helm of Adelaide’s SAFM.
In 1992 Greg presided over a Survey that saw every FM station in Australia owned by Austereo go to #1.
Since then he’s established a successful radio and research consulting business and been inducted into the Commercial Radio Hall Of Fame.
Greg recently featured on Radio Today’s list of the most successful programmers of all time in Australian metro FM radio.
Below he gives insight into how to be successful as a group PD, in part two of Radio Today‘s ‘Content Kings’ interview series.
What are the common factors you see when looking back on the great programmers of Australian radio?
They all understand it’s a balance of strategy & creativity. They take advantage of their competitors’ weaknesses?
Also, knowing the answers to the following:
- What do we stand for?
- How are we unique?
- What word or phrase do we own?
What’s changes have you seen in the programmer role compared to when you first started out?
There’s not enough effort put into getting the product right.
A while ago I had a call from one of the 3 major networks asking me how to do a format search study.
This research project that should be conducted every year in every major market.
How do you see the future of the programmer or group PD role developing?
A winning content director has to develop great judgement. Their goal is to get the audience afraid to turn off because they might miss something.
As radio legend, John Parikhal says, ‘It’s all about the listener. Never about you.’
So, listen to them. Understand them. Be empathetic and put yourself in their shoes.
Try and figure out how to give them what they ask for, even if your ‘formula’ says you can’t.
What are your proudest moments developing talent?
Helping Jeff Allis, Brad March, Brian Ford, Guy Dobson and others along their journey.
Who is the best programmer working right now?
Scott Muller at WSFM. Scott has a very good understanding of strategy & how to execute it.
A lot of programmers talk too much and they miss audience signals. Scott is a great listener.
He also has terrific judgement.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to aspiring programmers today?
Jeff Allis of Boost Juice fame says that continuous improvement was the most important thing that he learnt during his radio career.
There is no finish line. Your station is either getting better or going downhill. Stamp out mediocrity.
Radio Today spoke with Jeff Allis in Part One of the ‘Content Kings’ series.