The Next Level

The Next level is a space where I like to create discussion around things in the radio space that I observe or have opinion on. Coaching, training, learning, development, head bumping, creating, curating and executing appear in a variety of ways in the radio space and I feel we should spend time talking and sharing our experiences. I believe there is value in engaging with like minded professionals and taking our conversations to the next level.  

The material below offers my thoughts on broadcast material that I have heard, articles that have been published or interactions with professionals in our business, I have always maintained that I only offer an opinion and am always happy to hear opposing thoughts or ideas.

The Awards, #winning?

After an absence of a year, the Radio Awards take place again tonight with judging being completed more than a month ago.

The celebration of work done in our business must not be underestimated. We have very little opportunity as an industry, by no fault other than our own, to get together and just catch-up on careers and things going on at an operational level in a social environment. Basically to see industry friends and get drunk. The awards have always presented me with this opportunity and this has always been my main value extraction.

I was fortunate enough to be inducted to "The Bright Stars Club" in 2012. Do I include this in my profile, absolutely. Has it made a difference in my career, probably not. There is no doubt in my mind that I worked tireously in the 15 years leading up to award and one does feel rewarded when you recognised by a group of your peers.

As a programmer and judge of the awards I am always left wondering if we are awarding the right people and stations. The "vacume" approach in which everything takes place, the judging metric, judges and final results don't necessarily celebrate or reward the right people or stations, and the playing fields are definitly not eqaul.  

Is there a better way?

I always enjoy the bravado before the event and in the announcement of the finalists before the gala event. Modern grammar can thank the hashtag for contributing, #blessed #humbled #nominated #hardworkpaysoff #radioislife . I can't help but smile, nod and wave, #really. 

To add more credibility to this great initiative we need more participation from stations across board. There is a noticable abscence in the commercial space of YFM, Metro FM, Primedia and TMG. The SABC as the lion share player with 71% market share must get its house in order and get all services to participate. The reality is they have an entire category where only their stations can win, they don't have their own awards and therefore have a responsibility as a public institution to support an initiative that recognises the work they do. Community radio  is an entire conversation on its own and then let's not exclude the new wave of on-line services.

There will need to be a revamp of the judging system, metric and process. When I was in the  commercial space I was astounded to hear that practitioners from the community sector were judging commercial stations where they would be unlikely to even be employed or the judge was a radio legend from the 80's who thought twitter was a new alcoholic beverage. The converse also applies, you have commercial and public programmers judging heaps of community entries that aren't provisionally screened for a base level of competence.

Do we need awards? Absolutely. Do we need to support them? Definitely. Do the awards need refining. Yes. Kudos must however to the team at the awards for bringing the industry together and creating hype, pride and camaraderie. Also to Liberty who is funding the process and investing where we don't.

Till then I"ll celebrate with the hashtag brigade, commiserate with the #runnerup and turn up the volume with colleagues who work daily to make this the best place to earn a living.

Bravado (not sure how I feel about this).