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Radio Adelaide workers fear station's "slow death"

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In this week’s column, some Radio Adelaide workers form a new body to represent their interests amid ongoing fears for the station’s future, one of Australia’s smartest marketing thinkers explains why few companies are good at digital marketing, and much more.

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Radio Adelaide workers fear for future

Some media made the bold suggestion that Radio Adelaide had been “saved” by the University of Adelaide’s deal with Fresh FM.

Under the arrangement, Fresh will “help” Radio Adelaide transition to a new ownership structure and the stations will be co-located, at least in the first instance.

However, the deal was never a rock-solid guarantee of the station’s future, particularly if ACMA refuses to grant the licence transfer, which seems at least an outside possibility.

A hallmark of the university’s behaviour over Radio Adelaide has been a lack of information, and a perception among staff and volunteers that they’re being kept in the dark.

That appears to be continuing.

A new group, calling themselves the RadAd Station Workers Association (RASWA), has been formed to represent the broader station community because paid staff are gagged from commenting.

RASWA says the station is in good shape, despite the shock of the “secret deal” between the uni and Fresh.

However, RASWA chairperson Nicky Page says the station community fears the “slow death” of Radio Adelaide due to lack of studio space in the arrangement with Fresh, and the possible loss of some contracts which are the station’s main source of income.

Page also points out that conditions for the transfer of a licence require the new licensee to “meet the expectations of the existing community, and involve them in the transfer process”.

“So far this has not occurred, though the community through RASWA has repeatedly expressed its willingness to engage with the process,” she said.

Another potential sticking point has been made before – that one licence holder can’t hold two community radio licenses. Although Fresh and the uni insist that Fresh is only there to help, the relationship seems ambiguous at best.

If ACMA knocks back a licence transfer to a new body, that could spell the death of Radio Adelaide after more than four decades.

So, it’s pretty clear the station workers have a vested interest in making the new arrangement work.

A key to resolving the situation is a new “transition coordinator”, appointed yesterday to oversee the move of Radio Adelaide to an independent structure. He is David Grice, the general manager of the Musitec creative hub, which is sponsored by the State Government and Fresh FM, among others.

A university spokesman said it was “pleased with the progress Fresh 92.7 is making to secure Radio Adelaide’s future”.

“Their new Transition Manager David Grice, who has a background in community radio and RTOs, was announced just yesterday. He will no doubt meet staff as soon as he commences. Fresh 92.7 is planning modern digital studios for Radio Adelaide, which require less space than their old analog facilities did.”

Looking into the digital future

Founder of Mumbrella, Tim Burrowes, will be in town at the end of the month for a joint InDaily/Mumbrella event about the future of digital communications.

Burrowes will introduce the session, then chair an expert panel discussion and an audience Q&A. The event will end with a networking opportunity for attendees.

To be held in the city from 3pm to 7pm on March 31, it will canvas the latest developments in digital communications from experts in the field.

Tickets are still available for the event (scroll down for booking details).

We caught up with Burrowes ahead of the event to quiz him about the future of digital marketing in Australia.

InDaily: The new digital world seems to offer lots of opportunities for media and marketing, but it seems that only a handful of smart players make the most of these opportunities. What’s the most important first step for those companies that want to improve their digital marketing?

Burrowes: It sounds trite but the most important thing really is to simply start. The great opportunity for digital marketers is that you no longer need scale or a big budget to do some very effective things.

In the same way that it seemed a bit daunting five or six years ago to launch a social media presence, many digital marketing strategies now available aren’t as hard as they look from the outside.

The technology is now simple enough that just about anybody can be more sophisticated in how they do their email marketing, for instance. Segmenting your email messages to different customers and potential customers is really easy if you just invest a bit of time and thought.

The same goes for re-targeting ad messages, particularly if you keep it simple and stick with the likes of Facebook and the Google display network.

But the old rules still apply. The most important thing still is, and always will be: understand your customer.

Looking forward five years, which “legacy” media will survive in best shape and why – (I’m thinking about print newspapers and mags, free-to-air and pay TV, and radio)?

TV didn’t kill radio or newspapers when it launched half a century ago, but it certainly took some of their advertising dollars. And the fact remains that digital will take a few more dollars yet away from traditional media.

But that doesn’t mean that any particular medium will die altogether. It’s all about making each medium play to its strengths. Print, particularly magazines, is still a beautiful format for the right sort of content.

But of course we’ll see losers in each medium. The winners will have to reinvent themselves.

There are new opportunities. The rise of subscription streaming services is certainly a big challenge for the traditional TV broadcasters. But it’s also a wonderful new source of revenue for those making and selling content.

Can traditional “display” advertising survive for much longer? Or will native advertising rule the future?

Online display advertising is facing real threats. There are doubts about its effectiveness and of course for the audience, when ads become intrusive they can be a turnoff. Hence the current ad industry panic about the rise of adblocking technology.

Programmatic is certainly attractive for advertisers who want to be able to target a particular audience wherever they are on the web – and at a cheaper price. But at the same time if this means creating quality content becomes economically unfeasible for publishers, then this is bad news for advertisers and audiences too in the long term.

Who are the best digital marketers in Australia and why?

There are very few local examples of really effective AND creative digital campaigns locally. Several big brands including Coles, Telstra and Qantas have got very good at targeted relevant messages, delivered efficiently. But there are actually very few local case studies available of game changing digital marketing. But I suspect that will change very fast.

How can marketers stay plugged in to trends in digital? What five websites, for example, should they follow?

I hope people subscribe to Mumbrella’s daily email (which is free, by the way). I look at Digiday from the US most days, and The Media Briefing out of the UK is very good on digital media strategies.

Digital Buzz Blog is always full of good local and international best practice. And for the truly nerdy, drop by Tech Crunch from time to time.

DigitalFutures2016_InContent_Panel

Media consolidation begins

Just weeks after the Federal Government decided to free up media ownership laws, Nine Entertainment has taken a 9.99 per cent stake in the Southern Cross Media Group.

The $88.3 million stake gives Nine a foothold in Southern Cross, which owns regional television stations and two FM radio networks – including Triple M and hit107 in Adelaide.

The Government’s proposed changes include scrapping the so-called “two out of three” rule that prevents one owner controlling more than two of three radio, television and newspaper assets in one region.

In other moves, there’s widespread media speculation about Telstra offloading its stake in Foxtel (maybe to fellow shareholder News Corp). Adding fuel to the speculation is the fact that News Corp CEO Peter Tonagh will replace current Foxtel boss Richard Freudenstein.

Naughty corner

It’s been a depressing week in the media, both on the pages and in the offices of at least one of our major news groups.

Fairfax Media announced yesterday it would be sacking 120 journalists from its Sydney and Melbourne offices, leaving fewer journalists to provide the substance amid the trivial rubbish apparently favoured by Fairfax’s online editors. The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald were once Australia’s greatest newspapers – and by some margin. No more. And it’s hard to see these sackings doing anything but hastening their descent.

Meanwhile, the free-for-all unleashed on vulnerable young Australians (mostly by Murdoch’s The Australian newspaper) continues with the oldest chestnut in the vile history of homophobia – conflating homosexuality with pedophilia.

Here’s Rowan Dean’s first paragraph in the Courier-Mail this week, in a column about the Safe Schools program. It’s not even a dog whistle.

“At the same time as we are conducting a royal commission into those institutions in the past that turned a blind eye to the rampant kiddyfiddlers in their midst, taxpayers are funding a program that allows today’s authority figures to engage in another rampant form of abuse: fiddling with young kiddies’ minds. All in the name of ‘anti-bullying’.”

Top of the class

The shenanigans in the Senate overnight lend themselves perfectly to a BuzzFeed “listicle” – and this one doesn’t disappoint, with the medium matching the ridiculous quality of “debate” in the chamber.

At the other end of the scale, this piece in The Atlantic takes “long form” journalism to a whole new level. If you’re interested in the minutiae of Obama’s foreign policy, then you’ll find a huge amount of fine detail and insider observations.

Media Week is published on Fridays.

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