One of the most exciting projects a radio nerd can be involved in is building a station from scratch. Having launched a couple of brand new stations over the years, the memories from those experiences are nothing but awesome.
So, now let’s imagine it’s lunchtime on the school oval and you’re the captain of the lunchtime “radio” team.
There’s a bunch of kids standing in front of you, picking their noses, shoe laces undone, arms folded, kicking the dirt and waiting patiently for the call up.
Who do you pick first?
If it was me I’d start with the lippy smart arse who’s always taking the piss out of the teacher and talking in class. He or she would slot straight into breakfast. Mick Molloy – you’re in.
From there it gets interesting.
If I’m going to hire someone who’s a little cray-cray in breakfast then I’ll need someone who can direct him and make sure he doesn’t get expelled after every shift. Sam Cavanagh – that would be you mate. The most successful shows of the last 10 years have all had brilliant EPs. In fact having any kind of sustained success in breakfast is almost impossible without an EP who can manage the show whilst it’s happening.
That’s breakfast taken care of.
I have always tried to build close relationships with my imaging producers. People like Linc Kelly and Dom Evans have always managed to make my stations sound even better than how I imagined them in my head. So my second off-air pick is a brilliant audio producer who can interpret the sound of the format and create a genuine point of difference to my competitors.
Brendan Tacey – let’s go.
I’ve still got a couple of spots to fill.
Now I need someone who can clean up my mess.
The role of the Content Director is to nurture relationships with his key breakfast talent, this takes time… lots of time. I always worked best when I had someone like an Alexis Kuchel or a Ben Dillon-Smith who I could leave the day to day management of the radio station with whilst I was focusing on breakfast challenges and the 12 week strategic and tactical plan for the station. Alexis – step up kiddo.
Next pick is a brilliant workday announcer.
I want one who can lead from the front and show everyone else on the roster how it’s done. Dangerous Dave Williams, I’m looking at you.
There’s nothing better that being able to show a bunch of young announcers how good the format can sound simply by pointing them in the direction of the morning guy who nails the strategy everyday.
Okay… plenty of sad faces now. I’ve only got 2 picks left.
I need a killer Promotions Lieutenant. The best ones I’ve worked with care as much about the on-air tactics as I did. People like Jodie Cairns, Emily Brown and Chantalle Taylor would be in my office everyday talking about what was coming out of the speakers and how we could make the product better.
But for this team I need another bald guy to make me feel better about myself, so Wade Kinglsey, you’re in.
Finally, I need someone I can trust with the music strategy. Whilst A-grade talent are critical it’s easy to forget that at the base of every radio station’s product pyramid is the music. Selector scientists like Jeff Burzacott and Shaun Gough virtually pick themselves but for this exercise I’m going with Irene Hulme who is so good she can run a music strategy for about 5 different formats.
The one thing that all great content directors do is surround themselves with people who can compliment their strengths and connect with their vision.
The good news is you’re only 6 key selections away from having a team that’s good enough to beat up your opposition and steal their lunch money.
If you get to be captain one day, choose wisely.