As I celebrate 10 years at the helm of IRS+, I have the luxury of looking back to recognise how far we have come.
- Losing 6 stations from the group had an unprecedented and detrimental impact on the whole radio group. The whole market changed how they saw and bought from IRS+. Quite frankly, it was a shit show. I learned quickly not to underestimate the importance of building a strong reliable brand in face of major change and ensuring it is supported by a passionate team. These two factors were paramount to the survival and continued success of IRS+ . My passion and drive for local radio to succeed keeps growing and the IRS+ brand gets stronger every year.
- Successful businesses surround themselves with great people. This is something I’ve heard many times but only when I put into practice did I finally realise the impact it would have on the bottom line. This does not mean a team full of “yes (wo)men” but we have adopted a culture where healthy, robust conversations are encouraged and passion is rewarded. I’ve take the time to get to know my people, finding out what management style works for them and helping them to build the right culture in the organisation.
- You need to have a good product and the ability to communicate it clearly and concisely to the market. Thankfully we’ve been very successful over the last few years, particularly around building the strength of local. Where in the past we would have talked anecdotally about the strength of local, now we have the data to back it up. We continue to build on our bank of research and share our proof points with brands and agencies.
- We’ve recently taken an “idea first, media agnostic” approach with the market. Partnering up with Foe, a creative powerhouse, helps us with creative ideation. If we think the idea or the creative route is not right for radio, we’ll make a recommendation and Foe will project manage the alternative media route.
- Use your network to adopt a mentor. I have been incredibly lucky to work alongside great people over the years who continue to guide me in the right direction. I continue to build my network and meet people that I learn from all the time. Some of the best advice I’ve ever received was through very candid, off script conversations with people in the industry.
Hindsight is 20/20, or so they say and with me being in my tenth year at the helm of IRS+, I should have perfect vision by now! Make no mistake however, I am always learning and looking forward to the lessons from the next 10 years, no matter how challenging they may appear to be at first.
Peter Smyth, CEO of IRS+
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