Dave Cameron reflects on mistakes at Fox FM
Southern Cross Austereo’s (SCA) chief content officer Dave Cameron has taken Fox FM’s 40th birthday as an opportunity to reflect on where he got it wrong.
“I don’t ever remember a clear run where I thought I had it absolutely nailed or sorted,” he told Fox FM’s current content director Amanda Lee on the Fox Bosses podcast.
Cameron conceded that when he was leading Fox FM, he initially didn’t put trust into the team around him, which put the functioning of “the Fox Family” at risk.
“I pulled all the decision making back to me, and a lot of people lost autonomy and weren’t part of the decision-making process,” he said.
“I remember someone gave me a nickname called Doctor No, or Dictator Dave, or something, I don’t know. And when I look back at it, I kinda go ‘Yea, that was absolutely fitting’, because I was kind of tough on myself and tough on others at the time, and probably didn’t allow team work to happen as much as it should.”
One thing he does well, however, is sell ideas with conviction, even if he’s not completely convinced himself, he explained.
“I think what I can do really well is I have conviction, even if I’m inly 70% sure of an idea, I can sell it with 100% conviction. I think that’s kind of a natural strength of mine. That’s not to say that every decision or everything I sell with conviction is the right thing. It is absolutely not. But I think you’ve got to back yourself in, even when you’re not sure,” he said.
Backing himself in on a tough decision was something Cameron had to do when deciding to axe Fox’s successful Matt & Jo Breakfast show back in 2013 after 10 years on the air, to be replaced with Fifi Box and Dave Thornton.
Cameron recalled on the podcast just how awful the conversation was.
“Look, I don’t think anyone likes having those conversations, and I remember that one really well. And, you know, they’re difficult conversations to have on a personal level. And I think you need to tackle it, one, from a personal point of view with empathy and be completely honest and transparent, and then you need to tackle it from a performance point of view in terms of where a show is, and changes that need to be made, and you need to have really strong resolve in terms of, you know, creating a new future or creating a new path, and working out what you need to do next as your next trick to keep a brand evolving,” he said.
“So, the answer to your question is it’s really tough, and they’re awful conversations. I remember that one really well, but that was done really respectfully, and it was a brilliant show for it’s time, and all great things come to an end, essentially.”