Welcome to an audio-led edition of Unmade.
Today’s edition features an interview with Disrupt Radio’s chief commercial and innovation officer, Rob Shwetz. We left the interview with almost as many questions as we went in, but perhaps with a better sense of what Australia’s newest radio network does not want to talk about.
Further down, we have news of a strong day on The Unmade Index for Seven West Media.
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‘PR by stealth’: Asking questions about Disrupt Radio to its sales, marketing and PR boss Rob Shwetz
Tim Burrowes writes:
I find business fascinating. I adore startup stories. And I’m a media nerd. So I should be absolutely in love with the story of Disrupt Radio, which combines all three.
The network launched last month, online, and with DAB+ licences in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
But the more I find out, the more sceptical I become. For a radio network using public airwaves, there’s a lot of undisclosed information about its ownership.
Listening to today’s interview with Rob Shwetz, chief commercial and innovation officer at Disrupt Radio, may leave you with almost as many questions as you had before you started. However, the conversation should help you understand why I’m puzzled by so much of the Disrupt Radio launch.
Unless you work in the media industry, I wouldn’t blame you if you have missed the story of Disrupt Radio so far. I certainly wouldn’t be expecting many listeners to have yet had the awareness to tune in. There’s been some publicity, but I haven’t seen any paid ads looking to attract an audience, although the company says it has done some outdoor.
The best known presenters are Enterprise Breakfast host Libbi Gorr and Startup Nation host Jules Lund. Thinkerbell’s Adam Ferrier is a weekly co-host on Gorr’s show, while another ad industry stalwart Siimon Reynolds presents The Business Lounge.
Among the curious things about Disrupt Radio is that the management won’t say who its financial backers are. In the interview, Shwetz claims not to know, despite having worked alongside Roberts on the launch for the past five years.
Given that there’s a staff of about 20, that suggests an annual cost base of at least $2m, and probably more.
I suppose it’s in keeping with Disrupt Radio’s communications strategy, which Schwetz describes in the interview as “PR by stealth”.
Similarly, Shwetz says he has no idea what the marketing budget is for the station during this current financial year already under way. To be clear, marketing is one of his responsibilities.
Schwetz’s previous background has included director of client strategy at Fairfax Media’s client content arm, Made. And he also spent five years as group strategy director of Mediacom in Sydney. Earlier in his career, he lists six years as strategy director for brand, media and creative at Publicis.
Yes, it’s a fast-moving startup (albeit one five years in the planning), but he is the person in charge of marketing. Most CMOs would know by now what their budget for FY24 is.
There are other things which are a puzzle. Did wealthy (and busy) former rock star Bob Geldof really travel over from the UK and spend a week in Melbourne co-presenting the breakfast show with Libbi Gorr just out of his love of the radio medium? That feels a little unlikely, despite Shwetz’s insistence that it’s the case. “There’s nothing more than him coming and loving the medium”.
Similarly, one of the hitherto less commented-upon presences on the daily lineup is UK polemicist Rod Liddle, who interviews entrepreneurs for a daily show called Global Disruptors (or perhaps Disrupters; they spell it both ways on the Disrupt website).
Liddle is a great get. It’s strange they’ve done so little to promote this. Liddle is a massive name in UK media. He was a hugely controversial (and successful) editor of BBC Radio 4’s flagship Today program, and currently writes for News Corp’s daily tabloid The Sun and broadsheet The Sunday Times, along with influential right wing weekly The Spectator. He writes beautifully. Yet they haven’t mentioned him. It would be like Andrew Bolt popping up on a hospital radio station in the UK and nobody thinking that seemed comment-worthy.
Could it be that there are UK investors involved in the station? Maybe even Geldof, most prominent globally for his role in creating Live Aid, but he’s also been an investor in media ventures. Shwetz says not.
Shwetz declines in the interview to name any investors. Incidentally, since recording the podcast, I’ve emailed Disrupt Radio to ask that question directly.
Perhaps sports radio minnow Sports Entertainment Network, run by Craig Hutchinson, has a stake. The DAB+ licences came from SEN, Shwetz said during the interview, and staff work from their offices. “It’s quite a close commercial and working relationship with SEN”.
Shwetz also declines in the interview to share how listening numbers have been via streaming so far, although he claims they have exceeded expectations.
He makes an ambitious statement about the network’s aims for audience, saying the company aims to hit a weekly cumulative reach of 250,000 to 300,000. That would be about the same as ABC Radio National.
Not that Shwetz would commit to signing up to the ratings system, claiming that they haven’t had time to think about it. Remember, this is a startup five years in the making.
I wonder what level of data they will provide to early sponsors, who include Telstra and GWM.
To be clear, this interview was not a case of catching the wrong person unawares. When the PRs for Disrupt Radio proposed Shwetz for the interview, rather than Benjamin Roberts who we had been asking to talk to for months, we questioned whether he’d be qualified. We sent through examples of four podcasts I’d previously recorded with other start ups and media bosses to give a sense of the topics I ask about, in case they were not regular listeners.
They replied: “We've put Rob up for this because he's actually more suited to your audience, as he is head of marketing, advertising and media relations. He's worked alongside Ben to develop and launch the company over the past 5 years which was how the station was founded.”
With Roberts off the table, we decided to go ahead with the Shwetz interview.
This may be a slightly frustrating read, because you may have got to this point feeling like you know less than you did at the beginning. Give it a listen and decide for yourself.
In all our podcasts, I finish by asking our guest what their supporters say about them, and what their detractors say. Shwetz’s reply was: “The critics are saying they’re going to give us six months.”
For the record, I’d still love to talk to Benjamin Roberts.
(A rough transcript appears at the end of this post. It has not been edited for transcription errors.)
Unmade Index tips upward
Seja Al Zaidi writes:
The Unmade Index, our measurement of the performance of ASX-listed media and marketing stocks managed to stay in the green yesterday, rising a modest 0.60% to land at 639.9 points.
Seven West Media brought home the biggest win, rising 2.82%. The two biggest stocks on the Index, Nine and Domain, also scored, lifting 1.28% and 1.10% respectively.
ARN Media fell back again after its steep rise in share price two days prior. The radio company dropped 6.25%, while communications agency holding group Enero fell 4.38%.
Other losers included printing and marketing firm IVE Group (-1.31%) and Ooh Media (-0.4%).
Time to leave you to your Thursday.
Audio production was courtesy of Abe’s Audio, the people to talk to about voiceovers, sound design and podcast production.
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Transcript: Rob Shwetz and Tim Burrowes
(This text has not been edited for transcription errors)
[Music] I'm Tim Burrowes.
In today's episode, we finally get to speak to the management of one of the more mysterious media launches of recent years, Disrupt Radio.
As you'll hear, our guest is Rob Schwetz, who's in charge of advertising, marketing and media relations for Disrupt Radio.
Now, we don't get answers to all of our questions, although as you'll hear, I asked them, including who owns Disrupt, whether it will join the radio ratings system, or how long its commercial runway is.
However, you will hear a commitment to a hefty audience reach number and details of a previously, I think, unknown connection to radio company S.E.N.
I began by asking what listeners would hear when they tune in to Disrupt Radio.
Great question, Tim, and really glad you asked that.Just to give you a bit of context, Dis rupt Radio, this has been the result of almost five years of planning.
And what we really wanted to create at Disrupt was a sense of optimism, a sense of opportunity, really being able to actually counter, I think, a lot of the negativity that we 're hearing in not just radio, but in the news overall.
Really wanted to create an opportunity for entrepreneurs to come together, for mavericks, for thought leaders to come together, and really be able to provide a accessible community for like-minded people to create, to have conversations, and to engage with a lot of, I think, emerging and interesting narratives that are coming up across the business community in Australia.
So you're Disrupt Radio's chief commercial and innovation officer.
What does that entail?
From a commercial point of view, I think keeping my and Disrupt Radio finger on the pulse in terms of emerging trends, really being able to put the listener at the center of the content that we're actually developing, working hand in hand with our content teams as well.
Butthen also, I think, ensuring that the environment that we're creating from an audio point of view is creating a contextually relevant audio environment for advertisers.
I think, you know, having worked in the ad industry and media and publishing in Australia for the last 20 years, it's always been a struggle for businesses and brands to connect with B2B audiences, particularly entrepreneurs, small business.
And when you think that entrepreneurs are actuallyAustralia's backbone, I mean, 56% of the GDP, sorry, of the jobs created in Australia were actually through the entrepreneurial mindset.
We are a vast and influential force in this country, but then reaching them, I think, is a bit of a challenge as well.
And for Disrupt, you're to be clear, you're in charge ofthe marketing, the advertising and media relations.
To be clear, Tim, in a startup environment, there is a bit of a merger of roles and responsibilities.
SoBenjamin Roberts, who is the founder, is also responsible for marketing, for certain commercial aspects.
You know, it's a team of around 20 that are actually based in Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney.
So, you know, at the startup phase, there is a bit of a cross-section of functions and responsibilities and roles that will actually start to shape over the next six to 12 months as well.
And you've been working, you mentioned Benjamin Roberts, you 've been workingalongside him for the last five years on this project.
Does that make you a co-founder?
Benjamin is really the, I would say, an enabler of the founder, to bea bit more specific.
I think, you know, from my perspective, this is really Benjamin's execution of his vision.
Execution of, you know, five years of planning, of getting this right.
And then being able to, you know, work alongside him to help him execute on the vision as well.
So, definitely Benjamin isthe founder and myself, along with a team of others, very positive and strong enablers.
Well, let's dig into the product a bit, I suppose.
Can you help me understand the business model of Disrupt?
How does it compare and how does it differ to traditional radio?
I think from the outset, we were always keen on creating a contextually relevant environment.
I mean, if we look at the talent that Benjamin and the team have actually pulled together as well, it's been a, you know, quite significant process to pull talent together.
But from a product and talent point of view, it really is reflective of contemporary entrepreneurial Australian audiences.
We have everyone from, you know, Moana Hope, who leads Entrepreneur Her, to Libby Gore, who's leading our enterprise breakfast.
So I think if we look at the combination of that contextually relevant environment that really does bring together those Mavericks and entrepreneurs, those from the startup community, combined with, you know, really quite exceptional talent from George McEncrode to Jules Lund, and like I said, like I mentioned, Libby Gore and Moana Hope, to the quality content that they're actually delivering as well.
You know, it's really that trif actor of, you know, exceptional contextual relevance, right time, right place, right channel.
You know, that's really, I think, what we were trying to aim for and hopefully achieve through Disrupt.
And what is the business model?
How are we going to make money?
The business model is really just a traditional sort of advertising sponsorship model to begin with.
We've had tremendous support from advertisers and from the business community and are continuing to actually see that support in terms of the advertising and sponsorship revenue coming through.
And again, like I mentioned earlier, we're very much in startup mode.
We're working very much from a stealth perspective for the last five years.
I had very early stage initial conversations with both media agencies and which some brand owners as well received some very positive feedback in terms of being able to actually generate advertising dollars and get go and have seen that actually come to fruition quite successfully as well.
That's not to say that business model won't evolve over a period of time when you're looking at other avenues of monetization content.
But for the current time, we're looking at a sort of traditional sponsorship and advertising model.
And who leads that sales team for you?
Is that coming as part of your responsibility?
That fits within my remit and within my responsibility as well.
And what are the, obviously it's very early days, but you'll have some indications by now, particularly on the streaming side of things.
What are the numbers like so far?
The numbers arevery positive.
I wish I could be able to commit to numbers in a public forum, but at this point in time, I think we were very pleasantly surprised with whatwas coming through in the first week.
So can I attempt you to share some of those numbers?
Well, I guess I'm sure the advertisers want to know the answer to the question.
So why can't you say?
I think at this stage, we're looking at having launched on the 26th of June, we're looking at14 days of data.
I think that would be both unfair and unrealistic to provide any type of specifics.
But I think seeing how it was trending or it has been trending over the last 14 days, we're very confident in terms of what we're aiming for in terms of overall audience numbers towards the end of a 12 -month period.
So really, what are you aiming for?
Between $250,000 and $300,000 over at the end of 12 months.
So that's that.
And let's be clear.
So that's$250,000 across 12 months or a weekly cumulative number to use the kind of radio terminology.
More of a weekly cume audience.
So you're aiming for weekly cume audience, national weekly QM audience of $250,000 to $300, 000, which is not insignificant, I suppose.
But if we look at sort of recentDAB data that's actually come out, there 's a report that's been recently published, I think at the end of June, where in 2023, DAB listening soared to 7million people a week, or 32% of people aged 12 plus.
And that's up from 18% last year and 10% in 2020.
Even if we look at the numbers across key markets where we've launched, which would be Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, we're looking at, you know, Sydney 1.
16 DAB listeners, 1.16 million.
Melbourne justover a million.
And then Brisbane just over half a million or just sitting at 561.
So we're looking at those both aggregated audiences across those three markets.
Any additional streaming audiences?
Well, let me stop you just on that point, Rob, because of course, we talked about the Infinite Dial as the data, which although it calls it DAB, that includes streaming listening to the so-called DAB stations.
So I think it would be double counting to then count streaming on top of that because it does already include that number, I think.
No, that's fair enough.
We would actually then include that.
And that's sortof, I think the outcome of recent changes in terms of how GFK is actually measuring that data as well.
So I think that's, you know, the first survey that's come out, I think in the last few weeks that actually looks at that overall listening number and then being able to actually then extrapolate the streaming and the more granular listening numbers as well.
And have you joined the radio rating system?
Not at this point, but that's not to say that being in the horizon, like I mentioned earlier, Tim, we're pretty much in startup mode.
Have you made the decision about whether you will or won't join yet, though?That's in discussions at this point in time.
What are you weighing up on that?
Because I just wonder what the downside of joining would be.Right now it's a timing and a resource issue.
So, you know, it's just, you know, looking at what our priorities and commitments are for the next three to six months, definitely within that list is just a matter of being able to, you know, prioritize and get through the laundry list of 95 things to do when 94 of them are priority number one.
And I guess this is a, probably, I suspect the answer might be similar.
Do you, do you have thoughts on whether you are interested in or will join commercial radio Australia?
Sorry, no, it's changed its name, has it?
Commercial radio and audio, the industry body?
For that question, I made default to Benjamin.
And again, when we were initially launching and looking at, you know, industry bodies and group spades, and that's definitely on the list of our priorities, and that will fall within the next, you know, one or two quarters as well.
And I should know this answer, but I think I'm only about 80% certain.
Am I right in saying it's Sydney and Melbourne that you have the DAB plus licenses?
Sydney Melbourne and Brisbane.
And doyou have thoughts about adding Perth and Adelaide, for instance, to that?
The opportunities there for adding those two markets as well.
We really wanted to launch and get it right in Sydney Melbourne and Brisbane.
And then again, look at the commercial opportunities and the audience opportunities and those two markets in the next 12 months.
And where did you get the licenses from?
Because presumably you have to sort of, I don't know how it works, but sub-lease them rom someone else.
So that would be an arrangement with SCN, Sports Entertainment Network.
And then actually our offices are actually based in that same building as SCN and Melbourne as well.
So we share quite a close commercial and working relationship with the network.
I hadn't realized that.
So are SEN or Craig Hutchinson, are they investors in Disrupt Radio then?
I'm not across the full investor portfolio at this point in time.
You've been working with the organization for five years though.
You must have a bit of an idea.
And what's the answer?
To be quite honest, I'm actually not across the entire investor portfolio.
So that's something I can't make a comment on.
Are you an investor?
No, I'm not.
Yeah, I suppose that's one of the things I have been curious on is actually who are the owners?
What can you say?
What can I say?
I think when it comes down to the owners and let's call them the shareholders as well, there's quite a significant group of individuals who have chosen to invest in Disrupt.
And that process did take a significant amount of time to bring this together.
I think when there was a point in time to actually go and raise the capital as well, a little start -up radio station, DAB station, it found quite difficult to actually compete with the unicorns of tech companies that were out there as well.
So we have a fairly significant and confident group in terms of that investor pool as well.
And what sort of people, because I presume for instance on that one, if one went and looked at the asset, you could see who the shareholders listed are.
Can you tell us some of those names?
To be quite frank, Tim, I'm not across those names.My focus has been to generate revenue, create awareness of Disrupt, build relationships with the brands and marketers as well, and leaving the investor-relation component to the Benjamin.
And it's probably worth saying for the record that we did ask and were initially told yes, but then told that he was too busy, that we did ask Benjamin Roberts tojoin us for the conversation.
One question I did find myself wondering about was, you obviously had Bob Geldof out for a week, for the launch week .
I know he's been an investor in the past, certainly in television start-ups I know of.
Is he an investor in the business?
At this point, not that I'm aware of.
I think from Bob's interest was really around the, both the love of the medium and also the love of entrepreneurship and start-ups as well.
And that sort of guest appearance by Sir Bob was about 12 months in the planning and 12 months in the making as well.
His team turned up here and he turned up here incredibly well- prepared.
And I think of anything that was a bit of a surprise, but also intriguing launch platform for Disrupt.
So we were very happy in terms of the interaction between Bob and Lib by for their breakfast show, but then I think also the surprise and delight that Bob's provided to the larger media group as well.
Yeah, I mean, I must admit it was intriguing to me because my first thought was, "Ah, okay, this will be one of those things where it's a few links pre-recorded from the comfort of his home in the UK." But he obviously came out for it for the week.
And this is, you know, this is a busy, I presume, wealthy person.
It feels like surely there must be something more to him coming than his love of the medium.
Tim, there's nothing more to it than him coming and loving the medium, to be honest.
You know, he does have quite significant personal ties toAustralia.
He 's visited many times on personal occasions.
He did grumble a bit about turning up in Melbourne in the middle of winter as he was very pleased about that.
But I think of anything, you know, you look at someone like Sir Bob and look at his sort of entrepreneurial side as well.
And he has crafted overa period of time quite significant business ventures and as an entrepreneur in his own right.
So I think from this perspective, I was very happy to commit and make the time and support an entrepreneurial venture down under as well.
And is there an opportunity for disrupt as a platform to become international?The format itself, if you had a chance to listen, I think is quite intriguing around, you know, the mix of entrepreneurial business content, a bit of music popped in.
The format itself, I think is quite transferable.
I think it would work in other markets as well, beside Australia.
But I think let's get it right here first and really start to refine and nail the concept here.
Well, I suppose one of the reasons for asking that question was one of those people you talk about is Rod Liddle, who is a far better known character in the UK than he is here in Australia.
So I suppose that was why I was sort of thinking, oh, that's interesting.
Perhaps, you know, there's a nod towards an international audience with that.
How did the Rod Liddle involvement happen?
The Rod Liddle involvement, again, that would actually be something that would cost a worth Benjamin as well.
So, you know, over the last five years, I've been working asan entrepreneur in my own right and running a business in parallel to contributing off and on with disrupt as well.
So in terms of some of the other additional background information, that would be sort of, you know, sitting very much within Benjamin's domain, unfortunately.
Again, for the record, we did invite Benjamin and we were told that he would be too busy to speak.
Yeah, and Rod Liddle, I guess, best known as quite a right-wing commentator in theUK.
He writes a regular column for the Sun newspaper, which is part of News Corp.
And also, I think, I'm not sure if he still does, but wrote for the spectator as well.
Is there any sort of News Corp involvement in the project?
Not that I'm aware of at this point in time.
And as you can tell, I'm not from theUK.
I've spent, you know, the last 20 years in Australia.
So the Canadian UK media landscape, there's not a significant amount of overlap.
No, I mean, I guess that's one of the things that fascinates me because he's such a big name in the UK.
I mean, I think he's a brilliant writer as well, by the way.
So, and he was certainly, you know, he edited the Today Show for Radio 4 back in the days.
So, you know, this is a significant name.
I've almost been quite surprised that you haven't done more to promote him, given the fact that, yeah, he's such a, I guess, a big name within the media scene internationally.
I think with the media talent we've actually looked at, it's, you know, a real focus on Australian talent as well.
You know, the example I used earlier on, you know, Libby Gore and Jules Lund, really, I think, almost re-invigorating and invigorating.
That talent as well.
And the focus really is on Australian entrepreneurs, Australian mavericks, Australian startups.
So I think we'll maintain that focus and ensure that the content is relevant forAustralian audiences.
Okay, well, yeah, let's actually, that is interesting.
Let's talk about the PR strategy.
How would you sum up your sort of PR strategy for the launch, you know, getting the word out there?
I think it's a little bit disruptive in its own way as well.
I think if you're, you know, talking to anybody in the media industry, it feels as though it just sort of popped up out of nowhere over the last three weeks.
So it's been very much almost PR by stealth, even though this has been a project that's been on the works for almost, you know, five years, it's been kept very discreet and very quiet across the industry as well.
So I think, you know, to sum it up in three words, it definitely would be PR by stealth.
And then I think, you know, using talent like sort of Bob in terms of actually creating that disruptive environment, I think, and, you know, someone from radio today was quoting the saying that was a bit of a surprise, but a pleasant surprise.
So I think that hopefully will be the continuation of the feedback that we get from audience, from trade and from brand marketers as well as well around this being a pleasant surprise, but then also creating that connection with audiences deliver high quality business content, entrepreneurial content and start up thinking.
And now that you're out of stealth mode, how are you going to be marketing the network going forward?And I guess this one is in your wheelhouse.
How big is your marketing budget?
That's a very direct question.
We're very comfortable that going forward, there's significant traction from the investment that's already been made.
There'll be significant, I think, you know, in terms of awareness, particularly around audience and trade as well to continue to build it and maintain that audience.
And, you know, look at sort of disruptive marketing tactics to continue building that audience as well, I think, wouldn't be very disruptive of me to be too transparent about what's in the wheelhouse for the next three or six months.
So I don't think, and this might just be I read the wrong titles, but I don't think I've actually seen any kind of consumer advertising yet.
Have you, have you actually done any paid marketing so far?
Has it all just been PR to date?
There's been quite a significant out of home campaign as well, acrossSydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
There 's also been quite significant media coverage across 10 and 9.
Other media channels have been incredibly supportive interms of the launch of disrupt, which is both surprising, but also, you know, quite pleasantly, surprised on our side as well.
So I think when you look at sort of the consumer facing side of things as well, I think Bob really gave us a bit of traction.
I think also when we look at the talent that we've brought on, there is a almost significant amount of fans of the existing, significant amount of fans of the talent we've brought on as well.
If you look at someone like Libby Gore as well, she did build up quite a significant audience during her time.
And I think one of her statements in the aid when she announced she was going back on to radio was that she wanted to reclaim her audience as well.
So very happy with, I think, the launch to consumer, but also the launch to trade that's happened over the last few weeks as well.
And I wouldn't expect you to tell me the number, but for the financial year we've just entered, do you know what your marketing budget is yet?
That's a to be confirmed.
Okay, let me ask it another way .
Do you have a rough idea?
No, not at this point.
Okay, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of dollars in the millions.
What are you, what are you, I guess, part of that budgeting process as the person in the market is you have to make the case.
What sort of case are you making?
I guess the case is again, is going into, you know, I mean, again, repeating myself, we are very much in startup mode.
But you've had five years in startup mode, so you must have had a chance to give it a bit of thought.
A little bit of thought, but I think, you know, I think when we're looking at what we're generating from an advertising and advertising point of view, looking at what the audience numbers will look like over the next six months as well, you know, things change on a weekly and a monthly basis as well.
So I think working in that startup environment, there's a huge degree of fluidity, a huge amount of flexibility as well.
So, you know, nothing is really set in stone, unfortunately.
So you've, you've obviously over the last five years had a bit of a chance to get to know Benjamin Roberts.
How would you, how would you describe him and his leadership style?
In terms of his leadership style and very, are you looking for three words or less, two words or less?
You can have as many words as you like.
Incredibly empowering of the team around him.
He is built up, I think, quite a trustworthy team over a period of time.
He is also incredibly passionate about the medium and incredibly passionate about actually doing the right thing for Australian audiences through disruptor radio as well.
So I think that I don't use the word passion very often.
I actually sort of that's not one of my favorite, you know, top 100 words ever.
But this is a man who is actually incredibly passionate about doing the right thing for audiences and doing the right thing for disruptor radio.
I saw he did a LinkedIn post around the time of launch and he, I don't have it in front of me, but it may, it kind of alluded to being told previously that he needed to simplify his CV, which I, I, the way I read it was I think he'd previously worked for what I guess would have been Fairfax radio.
And then when the Macquarie media merger happened, I think he was potentially made, if I've worked outright redundant by 96 FM.
Is there something about that?
Do you think the fact that he referred to that in hisLinkedIn profile that is driving him?
Is there a sort of something to prove to the industry, do you think?
I don't think it's necessarily something to prove to the industry, but actually potentially a statement around not following the flock.
I think, you know, one of one of my favorite quotes that he was quoted in the media with the other day was, you know, audiences now have a choice but listening to Friday drive around, whether or not you wear brush your teeth in the shower or listening to intelligent business content.
And I think that was really a primary driver for him was to really create a platform and create a channel where there was, you know, business, intelligent business talk that really I think reflects where audiences are at the moment and where they want tobe in terms of those conversations that they want to have.
Someone, I was asking somebody about him and they described him to me as he thinks he's the smartest person in the room and he doesn't try to hide it.
Is that a fair description, do you think?
I'd like to know who said that.
Well, you know, if I were to tell you that, then any time you told me something in confidence, you wouldn't be confident that I was going to keep it that way.
Let me just say that that statement will either prove itself from the next 12 to 18 months.
Why isn't Benjamin actually given that he's had five years to get ready?
Normally when something like this launches, the CEO is everywhere.
And I've not, you know, obviously, yeah, he's done some posts, I was even quoted in newspapers, but he's not been as high profile as I would have expected.
Why has that been?
I guess why do you expect a CEO to be high profile?
I think, you know, let's put the audience at the center of what we're actually doing.
Let's put the talent and the content at the center of what we're doing.
And that's really, I think, the star of the show.
You know, it is creating that connection with the audiences through smart conversation and telling conversation, providing that environment for Mavericks and startups and entrepreneurs to actually play.
And I think that should really be the focus of the conversation.
Iam a question that I'm sure Jules Lund will ask many a startup person or entrepreneur on his show.
How long is your runway?
Our runway is significant enough to ensure that the proposition of what we're actually providing to the audience is going to be delivered on.
Which is months, years.
We're fine, Tim.
Thanks for asking.
We're good for a while.
So, yeah, so you mentioned that you have a staff of about 20 or so.
So that, I guess, is not insignificant.
It means you're going to have running costs in the low millions, presumably.
And do you, I'm presuming you'll, despite the fact that you've had some advertising support, I'm assuming you're not expecting to be profitable right out of the gate.
I think when we actually look at what we built as a projection and business case as well, I think we're fairly comfortable for a significant period of time.
Which maybe doesn't quite answer my question, butI'm assuming that you're not yet profitable.
After 14 days?
I can confidently say no, not after 14 days, Tim.
No, fair enough.
Well, a question we ask all of our guests.
What would your supporters say about you?
And what would your critics say about you?
For us, I'm going to sort of deflect to what's been said in the media, which has been quite interesting.
So the media has come back and it's been primarily trade press where they've said, we're pleasantly surprised.
I think there's been the positivity around the launch of disrupt, which has been very much around a bit of cynicism, a little bit of maybe these guys are just kind of shooting from the hips.
It's actually quite nice to get that feedback.
The critics are saying they're going to give us six months.
So nice to have the two extremes.
We love the critics.
I think one of the radio stations actually did a bit of a pistachio promo on disrupt, which weabsolutely loved and embraced because we kind of thought, the more that other radio stations are promoting us, the better it is for disrupt radio.
So Ithink, again, we're confident, but not overly confident to the point of being cocky, but again, around putting the audience in the center of what we do and creating that aspirational and inspirational content, which I think audiences are really creating right now.
Well, Rob, the best of luck and thank you verymuch for your time.
Thank you, Tim, and enjoy your afternoon.
That was Disrupt Radio's chief commercial and innovation officer, Rob Schwetz.
Unmade's invitation remains open to Benjamin Roberts to talk to us if he can answer any of the questions that his colleague was unable to.
Benjamin, you've got my details .
Today's podcast was edited by Abe's Audio.
Podcast Edit by Abe's Audio.