By David Farrell
Steve Jones, Stingray Media’s Sr. VP of Radio, and an in-demand professional speaker, author of two popular business books, was honoured for his professional role at the company’s broadcast radio arm at the recent 2019 Worldwide Radio Summit held in Burbank late last month. We caught up with Steve yesterday and posed a few questions to him about his winning two trophies for the company.
Congrats on the twin wins. How extensive was the universe you were competing against in each category?
There are usually nominees from all over the world. This year for “International Broadcast Group” all of the competitors were Canadian. But last year’s winner was Virgin Radio UK. It is a global affair.
Can you identify the winning attributes in the broadcast chain category?
I think people are looking for forward-looking companies with a strong radio focus, and that tends to be rare these days. Plenty of radio companies are part of forward-looking companies, but they are often a small part of a big company. I sense that Stingray is seen as a global digital company that has made a massive investment in Canadian radio. That story really resonates.
What were the top innovations that you could see?
In the industry overall, it is amazing to see the rise of smart speakers over the past few months. In conversations with other Canadian and US broadcasters, we are universally seeing that more than 30% of our overall streaming numbers are coming from smart speakers. That is exciting. I was sceptical that people would use smart speakers as a radio, but the evidence is strong that a large number of people are treating their Amazon Alexa like a radio.
Winning the international radio programme title once is remarkable. Twice, extraordinary! Any thoughts as to how the judges ranked you against the competition?
Honestly, I think having written a few books and worked in the US gives me some name recognition that a lot of international radio programmers don’t have. I’d love to think it is all me, but there is an element of name recognition. I believe that helped a great deal as most of the people voting for the winners were from the American radio industry.
And the reaction within the company?
The entire team at Stingray is really honoured to win this award, considering it is the first year of the company’s ownership. It is a vote of confidence and a nice compliment. I can sense the excitement within our team at receiving this recognition. After a year of transition and the natural uncertainty that goes along with that, this is perfect timing.
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