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Warner to Step Down at Commercial Radio Australia

Has been an active proponent of DAB+ digital radio in the country

Joan Warner, the CEO of Commercial Radio Australia, will step down early next year.

“The search for a replacement CEO will commence immediately with the aim of a new CEO taking up the position during the first quarter of 2022,” the organization stated in an announcement.

It said she originally intended to leave at the end of December but will stay another three months to allow a more comprehensive search.

“There are also major projects with which the board has asked I continue to assist in the early implementation stages and to ensure a smooth and seamless handover to the incoming CEO,” she was quoted.

This past July was her 20th anniversary in the CEO position. CRA represents the interests of commercial radio broadcasters in the country. Known as the Federation of Australian Radio Broadcasters when Warner started, it changed its name to Commercial Radio Australia Limited in 2002.

The announcement was made by CRA Chair Grant Blackley, who said Warner 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.

“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,” Blackley said.

He noted that CRA recently announced an important change in radio measurement. “The Australian metropolitan radio ratings will undergo a major revolution in response to the rapid digitization 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.”

The website The Industry Obsesrver wrote, “During her tenure, Warner was responsible for the planning, rollout and implementation of DAB+ digital radio in the five metro capitals, covering up to 60% of the national population, and the subsequent push into regional Australia … Her relationship with creatives, rightsholders and the state-funded triple j network was, at times, frosty.”

[Related: Read Radio World’s interview with Warner about DAB+ in Australia in our recent free ebook.]