SCA boss signals he will look to give more radio talent equity in attempt to help ‘breed loyalty’

The CEO of Southern Cross Austereo Grant Blackley has told Mumbrella he wants to give more of the company’s talent shares as part of their salary packages.

Last week SCA gave new 2Day breakfast host Rove McManus $2.1m in shares as part of his remuneration package while Hamish Blake and Andy Lee received around $3m in shares when they agreed to return to the network last year.

Blackley told Mumbrella: “Frankly, I think (these deals) will be more common than less common as we go through. We will cycle through all of our contracts and people that we invite into the network and I’d like to think that they will become equity owners of the company as well.”

He said the deals were about getting alignment between staff and the company.

“I think getting greater alignment between the talent, the network and the network’s objectives is vital as we move forward,” he said.

“They have therefore got a business interest, they have got an alignment with our company, and arguably I think thats a good thing.”

The Southern Cross Austereo boss, who only took over the broadcaster in May, noted that it was not the first time that such deals had been done, with the likes of Macquarie Radio having given Radio 2GB breakfast host Alan Jones equity, in the past.

“It is not the first time it has been done,” said Blackley. “This is an alignment that has been proven before and it breeds loyalty to that network and talent because you are spending a lot of money and time bringing that to life.

“If you can do that more often then it helps the business and then ultimately the individual, particularly if they perform, because they get more income than they otherwise would have if they have an appreciating share price.”

Blackley also acknowledged there were risks, having earlier told the audience at National Radio Conference these deals meant talent had “skin in the game”.

“Share prices go up and down and there is a risk for both parties but the alignment is great. It has to be led by the company and by the executive – it is not taken lightly and has to be approved by the board.”

Asked if equity might hamstring management seeking to terminate the contract of a presenter who was not performing the CEO played down the risks: “It is about how you structure those equity arrangements and you have got to have good vision and structure in terms of those.

“Ultimately it is just another lever in the remuneration structure and essentially, if you put the right measures in, you can change that as you see fit.”

Blackley also signalled a willingness to roll such equity arrangements out more broadly to the wider Southern Cross Austereo staff, noting the success these arrangements had during his time leading Network Ten.

“From my years at Network Ten we used to, in a good year, give $1,000 worth of shares to every person in the company and there were 1,200 people in the company,” he said.

“What we saw that did over time is that people wanted to understand more about the business, they wanted to know how they could influence the business positively cause they were shareholders themselves.”

Nic Christensen 

Related content: 


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.