Jo Stanley launches female-focused online station, Broad Radio
The woman who fronted Melbourne’s number one FM Breakfast show for more than 40 surveys as part of The Matt & Jo Show, Jo Stanley, is back in the game – this time as the brains and voice behind a new online radio station, Broad Radio.
The station starts out as a one-hour weekly livestream, but Stanley tells Radio Today she has plans for it to develop, and there’s no reason it can’t evolve into a 24/7 fully programmed radio station.
“There’s space for that in the market,” she said, despite acknowledging that at the moment, it’s a “very tiny, minimum viable product”.
Stanley said the idea for Broad Radio came to her not because of commercial radio’s failings to cater to women of a certain age, but because people are craving deeper, more inspiring conversations – the type of conversation which has been drawing people increasingly to podcasts.
Broad Radio will have “conversations about the areas of interest that you are drawn to when you’re over 40”.
“We’re at a different life stage. We want things that are perhaps more inspiring women, or more about the juggle of motherhood and ageing parents and work, or more about understanding who we are in different ways as our children get older,” she said.
“I don’t think there’s a great deal of conversation in commercial radio about that.”
Plus, it’s been all she can think about.
“It’s kind of been the thing that when I close my eyes at night, or when I meditate, or if I’m in the shower, it’s kind of just sat there as a thing that I really wish existed – I wish I could listen to,” she explained.
“And then this year, as I was sitting at home, and watching Zoom and knowing that there are lots of different ways for people to engage with content now, I really felt like it presented an opportunity for us.”
She said starting out with a one-hour livestream enables her to test the waters – if Broad Radio provides really fun, engaging content, will people listen? Will they join her? Will it work?
“It’s a way of testing that hypothesis and really having some fun with great co-hosts and doing it in the safety of our own home,” she said.
Those co-hosts include Angela Pippos, a sports journalist and documentary maker; Shelley Ware from NITV; Anjali Rao known for CNN and Real Housewives of Melbourne; Zoe Daniel, a former foriegn correspondent for the ABC; Bianca Chatfield, former Aussie netballer turned commentator; comedian Kirsty Webeck; and Kerrie Stanley from livestreamed live entertainment variety program Kerrie & Dolly.
The audience will be encouraged to get involved, and Stanley wants them to feel seen, heard and celebrated.
“I want them to feel like every part of them is accepted, and that we know that women are curious and clever, that they’re interested in inspiring people, that we’re interested in women in sport and women in roles of leadership. I want them to feel like they’re informed and they’re really uplifted, and that they’re connecting with women exactly like them,” she said.
Along the way – ever the content opportunist – Stanley realised there could be even more to this story.
She was trying to build a business, launch a product and build a brand, all without the practical and administrative knowledge of the “boring bits”.
She realised many women are probably in a similar situation, and don’t know how to bring their dreams to life.
So, in addition to Broad Radio, she’s launched a podcast, She Did, You Can, featuring entrepreneur George McEncroe.
McEncroe, Stanley explained, is the “She Did” part of the equation, while Stanley herself takes on the voice of those who want to – “You Can”.
“Every step of the way has been a huge learning curve for me,” Stanley said of both projects. “Because I know content. I can program a radio show and pull together the hosts, and that’s like instinctual for me, and that’s the fun side of it.
“But I guess the other side of it is, how do you finance it? How do you find investors? What do you do when you have someone who wants to invest? And how do you go about actually setting up that in the legal way.”
The second episode of the podcast covers this, and is aptly titled ‘Boring But Important’.
Admin may be boring, but Stanley finds content and engaging with her audience anything but.
So in addition to courting listeners, and commercial dollars in order to make the product viable, Stanley will feel successful in her latest endeavour if Broad Radio has a narrow impact – that is, just one moment for one person is enough.
“A lot of the time, one person is enough for me. If I get one person saying to me ‘Because you had that conversation, I had a better day’. That’s the reason you do radio… But that’s not going to pay the bills. So, you know, there are some very real business metrics there, but I really just want women to feel like, when you are in your 40s and 50s and 60s, and you are overwhelmed by life, you can connect with our community and know that you’re not alone,” she said.
“It’s really key to us that people know this show is built from them. It’s for you, by you. And a lot of our programming is coming from our audience, so their input is critical and we love it… I would say there’s room in radio for lots more different kinds of content, and I have and continue to love the radio that is around, but I just feel like we could add to it.”