‘We’re playing everybody to their best strengths’: Paul Jackson on Nova’s exec shuffle

Publisher & Editor
Image: Paul Jackson

Extracting dollars from major advertisers in the Google-economy means that media businesses need to work smarter, not just harder, to thrive and survive.

Radio is no exception, just look at the latest September quarter figures compiled by Deloitte.

Advertising revenue for metro commercial stations declined over 10% when compared to the same period last year, which is partly why NOVA Entertainment’s Paul Jackson believes a flatter leadership structure makes more dollars and sense.

It’s the sort of structure that’s already adopted by radio networks in North America and Europe.

After almost a decade with the company, chief marketing officer Tony Thomas departed in August, creating an opportunity for Jackson and chief executive Cathy O’Connor to simplify the business.

Talking exclusively to Radio Today, Jackson revealed a number of programming and operational role changes within the Nova Network, which he believes will result in a better and more focussed product.

“I guess that gave the business, at that point in time, a chance to reflect on what the structure could look like,” Jackson told Radio Today. “With Tony going, it was just a chance for us to reassess what the best structure is.”

Three longtime Nova-loyalists, including Jackson himself, have an expanded portfolio going into the new fiscal year.

Jackson moves from group program director to chief programming and marketing officer.

“In my previous roles at Capital and Virgin, many, many moons ago now in the UK, we always had marketing with programming

“I know everybody very well,” he adds. “I’ve worked with the whole team very closely. So it just made sense to us.

“Something that I enjoy doing and relish as well, but beyond that it made me think about the whole picture of the two main brands we have and the structure within that.”

Image: Ben Latimer

Ben Latimer becomes head of programming for Nova 91.9 Adelaide, Nova 100 Melbourne and Nova 93.7 Perth.

He’s also tasked with overseeing the as-yet-unannounced 2019 Breakfast show in Adelaide, as the imminent departure of Dylan Lewis and Hayley Pearson fast approaches.

“Latimer is going to be based in Adelaide, and hands-on running over Nova 91.9 and the new show that we’re putting there,” said Jackson.

He also confirmed that Lewis and Pearson will broadcast their last show on November 1: “And then off the back of that, we’ll announce within the coming weeks what our intentions are with the new show.”

When pressed by Radio Today on who will replace Lewis and Pearson, Jackson remained on message: “Our jobs are to entertain people in Adelaide every morning. I think we’ve got the people that can do that.”

Rising upstart Matt Thomson will now oversee operations for the Nova Network based in Nova 96.9 Sydney, after a successful stint focussed on Nova 100.

“It’s a natural nice progression and step up for [Thomson] to come into the Sydney market. So we’re very pleased that we’re able to have the ability to promote people within the company,” he added. “Whenever you can do that, that’s always the best way to go.”

Thomson’s promotion follows Dave McClung’s move from Nova Sydney operations manager to program director at Nova 93.7.

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