Expat files : Andrew Jeffries

Staff Writer

With so many Australian and New Zealand radio professionals around the world doing great work, it seemed like a good idea to profile them. We'll start with Andrew Jeffries who is klcking goals in the US.

Andrew is a Kiwi having worked in Wanganui, Blenheim, Hawkes Bay, Timaru and Dunedin. He spent time in the UK programming in South Hampton, Brighton, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Yorkshire, Birmingham and finally London. And on the way he programmed Nova 937 in Perth for a couple of years.

Now he's the Operations Manager for Clear Channel Los Angeles looking after 8 stations in LA: KIIS FM, 987, Hot 92.3, KOST, MYFM, KFI AM, KLAC and KTLK.

Andrew is pictured below hanging out with Coldplay. As one does on a typical day at Clear Channel Los Angeles.

It's a long way from Nova Perth to a Los Angeles cluster of 8, so how did it happen?

Some things are just meant to be – you know, exactly the same way many of us got into radio in the first place. A bit of drive, persistence, energy, ingenuity and some luck all blended together.

After leaving New Zealand radio in 1998 for a 6 month vacation, I ended up working for Capital Radio in the UK for nearly 6 years. Took a 1 year sabbatical pretty much to assist the legend Gary Roberts & the team at NOVA 93.7 launch, and then returned to the UK for another 5.5 years launching UK rock radio Kerrang! before programming KIIS 100 London.

The transition to the USA was somewhat unexpected… I’ve been fortunate and really had some wonderful successes with the teams at many stations, and like the online community, success gets noticed I suppose you can say… I was lucky enough to have the eyes and ears of Clear Channel focused on some of the activity, one conversation lead to another over a few years of idea sharing, and then one day a call to San Francisco. What a great city, and hard to leave after just 9 months to take up my initial role at Clear Channel Los Angeles just over 3 years ago.


Tell us about being a Kiwi working with US talent, are their cultural differences?

I truly think New Zealand and OZ are uniquely situated through our upbringing to morph into most cultures. Maybe it’s our unique view on the world from our small corner, our desire to travel and see more – therefore be worldly aware of our position, plus the bullish can do attitudes, maybe even our TV and media consumption… we get the best from the USA and the UK – add our own flavour and, well, it becomes ours!

I really have not nailed the reason we are generally well accepted… but in my experience we are. However there are distinct differences to watch out for too… 

– We are direct and blunt… saying that is shit straight out does not go down well in the UK or the USA… Tried that, failed – and it took ages to remedy the damage. You must be more calculated in how you approach people here than in OZ or NZ.

– Don’t keep rubbing in foreign experiences “we did it this way” – you have an accent, they remember you are not from here. I suppose no one wants to hear “hey in Perth we did it …” if you are in Queensland – the markets are different, you don’t have to accentuate it with the whole experience – a good idea is a good idea wherever it comes from though… maybe keep that bit to yourself if recycling an idea from elsewhere.

– More personal, than cultural, but don’t ever take your family and friends for granted. The people that were there for you at the first break up, car wreck, your 21st, graduation, when you needed someone to just hang with and talk with…. Having moved a lot, personally I find this the hardest beyond any culture, the tenure with your friends is by default much shorter. My best friend in the USA I’ve known for 3.5 years…. My best friends in NZ I have known for nearly 30. Don’t take them for granted, even if you have moved states in Oz… keep them close – you’ll need each other. That was way too deep…. But true.

– Oh, and forgetting you have an accent is actually easy when you don’t hear yourself back.. after a while you think you sound the same as the locals… guess what… 


Marketing in LA – there always seems to be lots of outdoor – is that the most effective method in that market?

If there is a magic weapon, I have not found it… this is such a diverse city, spread out, with no real centre of town, Hollywood is probably the default. For a fun example, if the local government could ask every one of the 12 million or so Los Angelo’s to go immediately to the city center to avoid being hit by a meteor – you would end up with a few hundred thousand people, at about 50 different locations… each city within the city has a center, but globally there is not one.

Travel times in vehicles are high, it can take 2 hours each way to work, and therefore outdoor marketing gets viewed positively, maybe a little falsely. However we sure use it, along with direct mail, TV, press, telemarketing and the good old face to face events. It’s a combination.


Before you programmed in LA, you looked after Star in San Francisco, what are the differences between the markets?

More fog. Less listeners. Has embedded markets (San Jose) within the San Francisco metro TSA. Population build-up is drastically different. LA is around 42% Hispanic, San Francisco is around 18%.

San Francisco is so heavily influenced by Silicone Valley.. Apple, Google, Facebook, Oracle head office was just down the road from our family home when we lived there.  Los Angeles is more diverse, with Hollywood and the surrounding studio network really having a pride of place, not just in the premiere or gossip world… but the real working people all know someone who is or has worked for a studio in some capacity. Where we live in Santa Clarita is about 25 miles north of Hollywood area / centre LA… Huge number of people all involved in the studio marketing, special effects, writing, audio, catering worlds. Oh and the aspiring actors in every restaurant.


The general view of radio in the US, from Australia, is that it is a market of extremes – some amazing stations, and some awful ones – tell us about your view of the US radio landscape.

Like everywhere I’ve experienced… Some stations are great, and have ratings and revenues to match, others are not so fortunate on either front.  What rumblings of USA radio do distill through to OZ, NZ and elsewhere are probably not a real reflection – maybe the extremes get reported more than the norm?

Radio here is invigorating, fast, creative and very listener focused in general – yes there are the stations we look at and scratch our heads on the strategy and execution…. But we have 8 amazing stations 😉


Clear Channel own about a billion stations in the US now – I know you work for them, but how do you feel about such concentration of ownership.

How much media does Murdoch own now? (maybe a bad example) Let’s try how many sub division businesses are there to Google? When they see an online company that is beneficial to them, they acquire and consolidate. No one really thinks about it. Consolidation is inevitable, and creates many new opportunities. Don’t believe the press, it’s not all bad.


What are the great stations in the US and why – excluding any of your own.

Wild 949 in San Francisco
Z100 New York
Q 104 New York
WDVD Detroit
KCBS Los Angeles

They’re all well run stations; these few come to mind first for no apparent reason. You can hear the crafting, brand, pride and real focus.



Andrew Jeffries is Operations Manager of Clear Channels Los Angeles cluster of stations. And he's a kiwi. Nice one bro.

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