Joan Warner to step down as CEO of Commercial Radio Australia
Commercial radio’s peak industry body Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) is on the hunt for a new CEO.
Longstanding leader Joan Warner said she advised the CRA Board some time ago of her intention to step down on December 31, however at the Board’s request, she will remain until March 31 next year.
Warner said this will allow CRA to undertake a comprehensive and far-reaching search for a replacement, as well as giving her time to assist with the early implementation of some major projects.
The industry body has recently unveiled its new radio ratings system, Radio360, which increases the focus on digital streaming and moves towards digital data collection methods. It also shook up the Australian Podcast Ranker to focus on ‘listeners’ rather than ‘downloads’, which changed how some podcasts performed compared to their peers.
Another major project of CRA is the annual Australian Commercial Radio Awards (ACRAs), which were called off last year. This year, the event will proceed, however full details – including finalists – have not yet been released.
CRA chair Grant Blackley, also the CEO of Southern Cross Austereo (SCA), thanked Warner on behalf of the board for her long and outstanding commitment to the organisation over the past 20 years.
“We have been fortunate to have Joan leading our industry as CEO of Commercial Radio Australia and we are very pleased that she has agreed to extend her time with CRA to allow for an orderly transition to a new CEO,” he said.
“Joan has had a substantial and meaningful impact on CRA and the industry over the past two decades and has worked tirelessly to advance the strategic imperatives for a healthy and vibrant radio industry.”
Blackley noted Warner’s expert policy and regulatory management, her drive to innovate trading and advance the sector’s digital posture and her ability to do all this while maintaining a focus on the marketing and promotion of the industry.
He also flagged the big changes ahead for the organisation and the wider radio sector.
“The radio industry has recovered well from the COVID impact and is gaining further momentum with a renewed commercial approach at industry level to drive increased share of advertising to radio,” he said.
“CRA recently announced the biggest change to measurement in radio’s history. The Australian metropolitan radio ratings will undergo a major revolution in response to the rapid digitisation of audio consumption in Australia, with live streaming data to be integrated into a new multimillion-dollar hybrid measurement system.
“There is an extensive amount of work already underway across industry integration with smart speakers and connected cars, an improved and comprehensive all-of-industry automated trading platform to be implemented in 2022, and the continued maturity and acceleration of both podcasting and audio streaming platforms.
“For this reason, we are very pleased Joan has agreed to extend her contract to allow for the seamless implementation and handover of this important set of initiatives.”
Warner said she had no doubt that in its new chapter, radio would continue to evolve, innovate and thrive.
“I’ve been privileged to lead CRA through an amazing period of growth and evolution, have worked with talented, passionate and outstanding CRA staff, chairs, board members and executives,” she added.