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SCA launches talent development platform to attract new radio talent

Southern Cross Austereo is tackling the radio industry’s talent shortage with the launch of its own dedicated talent development team and internal software platform, Hubble.

The new division, which will also have a public website, is designed to discover new audio personalities and uncover new talent for the company.

SCA’s Hubble logo, as shown on the IP Australia website.

SCA’s new software platform will feature a skills database and track talent development while the external website will accept applications from anyone. It will include a masterclass series for training prospective talent.

Speaking to Mumbrella, Dave Cameron, general manager of SCA Melbourne, said the project – which commenced 12 months ago – is about finding the next “interesting content creators”.

The division has already had its first success story, duo Lewis Spear and Luke Kidgell, who will start on Melbourne’s Fox FM on Sunday nights. They made their debut on Triple M modern digital.

“We’ve created our own internal unit for the first time ever. In fact I don’t even know if there’s a radio company around the world that’s got its own internal talent development unit, so we kind of feel like we are pioneering in the space,” Cameron said.

Those who join the program, could have the opportunity to work across any of SCA’s assets, including its digital stations

“At the end of the day, we have the most amount of radio stations in Australia and if we are not going out and discovering the new general of stars for ourselves, no one else is going to do it.”

“What we are trying to do is we are trying to take away a lot of that gut feel and a lot of that bias by accurately assessing talent based on a range of criteria that we believe are common traits of successful talent. That’s not saying every talent has to tick every single box that we are assessing, some might tick only one or two boxes but you start to take away that personal bias and you start to hear what you are looking for rather than something your ears are attuned to.”

Cameron said potential radio industry entrants will not need experience when first entering the program and, as a result, the company is looking in “grassroots areas” for new talent.

“We are trying to take a away a lot of that gut feel and a lot of that bias, by accurately assessing talent”, SCA’s Cameron said

Successful participants could eventually be deployed across SCA’s linear radio, digital and podcast assets, he added.

“We are opening up our digital stations now to be able to create new shows. They might only be on for a month or they might do 12 months but we want to get as many of those through and on the air working on our digital stations where they can actually experience and learn on the job rather than just doing a 20 minute demo in a pre record every 12 months. If people are going to progress, we need to give them that opportunity to actually grow and learn.”

Commenting on the reasons for the launch, Cameron – who is currently working alongside two others in the unit – admitted the industry and SCA hadn’t been assessing talent “accurately” in the past. Now, SCA will embrace a ‘discovery, development and deploy’ model, to ensure those who have previously slipped through the cracks, are sought out.

“I don’t think that we’ve explored all the areas that we need to in the past,” he told Mumbrella.

“It would be fair to say that most assessments on talent, most decisions have been made by one or two people with personal bias. What I mean by that is people that naturally have a bias towards outspoken people, or people that only do comedy, or people that only can talk about their life. Often in this space you get programmers that will tend to lean towards personal bias on what they like and gut feel.

“It’s about how do we actually make sure all the content creators we need for the future? Right now it’s fair to say we don’t. We don’t have enough and there are heaps of people who have fallen through the gaps that we need to be aware of.”

Grant Blackley, CEO of SCA, said in a release Hubble will “revolutionise” the way SCA discovers, develops and deploys talent.

“We are excited to pioneer a new approach to the discovery and development of future audio and radio personalities, provide an increased number of opportunities to talent, and create exciting new content for our listeners,” Blackley said.

Guy Dobson, Chief Content Officer, SCA added: “ We know there are many talented people right across Australia, eager to break into this increasingly competitive industry, and we are thrilled to be able to provide a foot-in-the-door with Hubble.

“Entertainment is a fast paced landscape and it can be difficult to discover and keep track of who’s out there, and then align talent with audiences; this system will change all that.”

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