Former MD of Nova Perth, Gary Roberts, joins ARN’s 96 FM

The man who was at the helm of Perth’s Nova 93.7 FM until he resigned in April last year, has popped up at rival Australian Radio Network’s (ARN) 96 FM as managing director.

Roberts had previously worked at 96 FM, launching the station as program director in 1980, before becoming general manager for 12 years. 

Roberts is rejoining ARN’s 96 FM 

Now, he takes on the newly created role of Perth managing director for 96 FM, and will be charged with providing leadership and management across commercial, content and operations.

ARN said Roberts will work closely with ARN’s national executive leadership team, including chief commercial officer, Peter Whitehead, and national content director, Duncan Campbell, to support the sales team on revenue growth, and the content team to drive ratings.

ARN CEO Ciaran Davis noted Roberts is the only person in Australia to have managed all commercial FM stations in one major market.

“ARN is proud to welcome Gary to the role of managing director, Perth,” he said. “This appointment forms part of ARN’s broader strategic review, and Gary’s unique and unprecedented career in radio will ensure we have the required level of senior leadership and management in Perth.

“With an outstanding radio career and achievements spanning decades, we look forward to a strengthened strategic approach for 96 FM under Gary’s management.”

Roberts added: “I’m excited about my return to 96 FM. It has the strongest FM heritage brand in the Perth market, and I’m looking forward to reigniting the strengths of 96 FM for both our audiences and advertisers.”

In the first radio survey of 2019, 96 FM fell 0.8 percentage points to an overall audience share of 7.8%, well behind Southern Cross Austereo’s Mix 94.5 (up 0.8 points to 15.6%) and Nova’s 93.7 (down 1.5 points to 12.2%), and lagging behind SCA’s other station Hit 92.9, which was down 1.6 points to 9.4%.

The announcement of Roberts’ return is the latest in a series of appointments and movements for ARN, which comes in the wake of the departure of CEO Rob Atkinson, and Conversant Media being folded into the company.

The parent company of ARN, HT&E (formerly APN News and Media), has been focusing on “streamlining the organisational structure between the corporate and ARN divisions”, chairman Hamish McLennan said last year.

As part of the restructure, Melbourne sales director Nick Flood was promoted to national sales director last month, while Anthony Bartram came across from Ooh Media to take on the new role of national trading director.

In addition, Lauren Joyce took on the role of national strategy director, and Sam Harris came from agency side to fill the void left by Flood in Melbourne.

Then, last week it was announced Amobee’s group operations director for APAC, Rich Howells, will take on the role of national digital commercial director. 


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