The CEO and managing director of HT&E, Ciaran Davis, has been announced as the new chair of industry body Commercial Radio & Audio (CRA). Mr Davis takes over from SCA CEO Grant Blackley, who has stepped down as chair after four years in the role but remains on the CRA Board.
CRA represents 260 commercial radio stations across Australia, with members including Australian Radio Network (ARN), SCA, NOVA Entertainment, Nine Radio, ACE Radio Broadcasters and Super Radio Network.
Mr Davis said he looked forward to beginning work as the new chair.
“The role of radio is incredibly important to all Australians – no other medium delivers the engagement and connection with local communities that radio does. As chair of CRA I look forward to working collaboratively with the entire industry to further strengthen radio’s unique role in Australian media and to take a leading position in the emerging digital audio market,” he said.
Mr Davis is CEO and Managing Director of HT&E which includes responsibility for the strategic and operational direction of the company’s Australian audio business ARN. He has been a director of the CRA Board since 2018.
CRA chief executive officer Ford Ennals welcomed Mr Davis to the new role and thanked outgoing chair Grant Blackley for his leadership.
“Over the past four years, CRA has renewed the strategic direction of the industry with greater emphasis on digital distribution and listening across multiple platforms, embraced a new, hybrid, world-leading measurement model in Radio360, partnered with Triton Digital in launching the Australian Podcast Ranker, expanded the broadcast footprint of DAB+, actively engaged in meaningful regulatory debate and change, and been at the forefront of innovative research and insights with the aim of improving the education and return on investment for our advertising partners. Radio and more broadly audio listening have soared to record levels.
“I’m confident that under Ciaran’s leadership the CRA Board will continue to take the successful development of the commercial radio and digital audio industry to the next stage. His experience and expertise will be valuable in helping us to seize the wide range of audio opportunities in front of us,” Mr Ennals said.
Outgoing chair Grant Blackley said: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the privilege of leading the CRA with my fellow Directors in the pursuit of improving the contribution, value and understanding of the vital role radio and audio play in every community across Australia. The audio industry is not only resilient but importantly expanding at pace, evidenced by record listenership of live and on-demand content. The industry has recovered well from the economic impacts of COVID evidenced by 20 consecutive year-on-year months of growth.”
Directors re-elected to the CRA Board were Peter Charlton (NOVA Entertainment), Michael Harvey (ARN), Tom Malone (Nine Radio), Rowly Paterson (ACE Radio) and Grant Blackley (SCA). They join Peter Colosimo (NOVA), Rachel Launders (Nine Radio), Tony Hudson (SCA) and Greg Cupitt (Super Radio Network) as well as Ciaran Davis who all retain their places on the CRA Board having not been required to be re-elected. In addition, Rowly Paterson, the chairman and owner of ACE Radio was elected as vice chair of the CRA Board and regional vice chair.
It was also announced following the CRA AGM that members had formally voted to change the CRA company name to “Commercial Radio & Audio”.