The B TEAM has arrived at SCA
This week Southern Cross Austereo’s new CEO Grant Blackley commenced in a role that is the most challenging in Australian radio.
Recruited by new SCA Chairman Peter Bush, Blackley, like Bush, has major market metro media experience.
“The B Team”, Bush and Blackley have the advantage of coming from metro media; television, which is a far more aggressive, competitive medium than radio simply because advertising revenue is significantly higher *
(* Metro radio being worth approx. $700 mil and Metro TV around $2.5 bil)
Blackley presided over the Ten Network as CEO during a very successful period in terms of ratings, revenue and profit. He successfully took on the television heavyweights, market leaders Nine and Seven .
Bush has vast experience, he’s been a Chairman of Nine Entertainment as well as a former CEO of McDonalds Australia and a Chairman of Pacific Brands.
“The B Team”, Bush and Blackley know the importance of product. They both have a background in product driven media businesses. And they know about the importance of ratings to drive revenue.
No doubt their focus will be on restoring the ratings leadership of the 2day / Hit Network and shoring up the Triple M network ratings. They will also address regional radio, which has performed reasonably well, the regional television deal with the Ten Network and the companies all important digital future. But first and foremost their attention will be directed towards SCA’s core business of metro radio, which has in the past contributed nearly 50% of the groups earnings.
SCA’s metro networks Today/Hit and Triple M were once the number 1 and 2 rating stations in every capital city. They had premium high rating brands and the revenue for that premium flowed.
Blackley and Bush don’t have actual radio experience, they will rely on savvy SCA executives and industry experts to gain the insight necessary to bring SCA back from the brink, the company recently recording its lowest ratings, revenue and profit in years. And its share price has taken a battering, losing hundreds of millions of dollars in recent times.
The B Team Blackley and Bush have a great opportunity to not only restore ratings and revenue at SCA but also to build a new winning culture from scratch and in so doing create something new and great for the 21st century.
Austereo at one time set the standard of radio performance and culture here in Australia and overseas.
Now there is a sense of “loss of former greatness” with a lot of SCA people who have been there for a long time looking back to the ‘glory’ days.
The Australian Radio Network and Nova Entertainment groups have left SCA in their wake, both those groups now occupying the ‘talent’ position and being ratings leaders, a position once ‘owned’‘ by SCA.
Good luck to The B Team “Bush and Blackley”. They herald the start of a new era at Southern Cross Austereo.
* For the avoidance of doubt, the phrase ‘the B Team’ refers to Peter and Grant’s surnames, not as a reference to their undoubted skills. But we did think it was amusing nonetheless.
Brad March is a Director of Radio Today and a former Group Managing Director and Group Program Director of Austereo. He is Director of Marchmedia.