Andrea Salmon is the Head of Sales at Southern Cross Austereo in Melbourne. Andrea has had 20 plus years of experience in media sales, 15 years of which have been in leadership roles. After 20 years in publishing, Andrea made the move to radio.  Her wide network of clients and key market influencers have provided Andrea a strong market profile, but the main career driver has been her success in rebuilding teams, improving retention & succession planning, and delivering exceptional results. In addition to her role at Southern Cross Austereo, Andrea mentors a number of budding media executives, and is the Mum of two young girls. 

Tell us a bit about your journey and how you have come to lead the radio sales team at SCA? 

After completing a Bachelor in Business at Swinburne, I contacted the companies that I was passionate about. ACP, publisher of magazines like Harper’s Bazaar, The Australian Women’s Weekly, Cosmopolitan and House and Garden, was of huge interest to me. I think my passion and knowledge of the magazines worked in my favour and I was given a role as a Sales Coordinator. After a couple of years as a Coordinator, learning and participating in all opportunities, I was given the opportunity to become an Account Manager.  Five years later, I became a Manager. I then spent 20 years in Sales leadership roles within Publishing. It was all the moving parts that I loved the most – editorial, digital, catalogues, marketing, etc. that honed my collaboration skills. My current role in radio was offered to me because of my history in Sales leadership and my ability to work in a business with many streams.

What is the focus of your current role?

The people are always a priority in leadership roles, their happiness and giving them support and opportunities for success. I also focus on structure and processes to ensure that the people are focused externally on customers, rather than bogged down by internal stresses. In addition to my leadership role, I also view my role as a key spokesperson and ambassador for Southern Cross Austereo, and spend as much time as I can in market speaking to key clients and agencies.

What do you see as some of the exciting trends in the Media/Radio landscape in Australia in 2017?

The entire audio on demand sector, with podcasting set to take off in the Australian market. This sector will move beyond just being about ‘catch-up’ radio and more into the premium content space, similar to Netflix. Digital radio will continue to penetrate our market as it will be in all new cars, and music streaming (Spotify/Pandora) will also continue to grow. The great thing about radio and streaming is that there are strong points of difference – consumer radio is about the spoken word and music. The talent makes you lean in and engage, creating a listener relationship. Streaming on the other hand is more about customised music, your playlist designed for you.

Can you recall a key learning piece/experience from your early career in media, that you still draw upon today, and why?

The importance of gratitude! There are so many events and incredible experiences that come with the job, but there is also long hours or after work commitments. You have to embrace these opportunities and enjoy because there are few industries that get to see or participate in the amazing events that we do. I have also learnt that I like to surround myself with people who look for opportunity and are positive. I think we are all accountable for the way we view our jobs, and we can choose to be happy.

Do you think there are any current hurdles we face as an industry (being media)? And as an industry what can we do better?

Diversification and media proliferation has meant we have focused more on what’s new, and not necessarily the client and the business problem. The role of advertising agencies is also being diluted and clients are not placing a high value on media channel planning or strategy.  The true value is in transparency and collaboration between the client, the buyer and the seller.

Leadership clearly makes up a large component of your current role as Head of Radio Sales. Generally speaking, what is your philosophy on leadership?

In regards to leadership, I believe that you need to have clarity of purpose, transparency and context around why you do things. You must walk the talk and participate and give everyone, no matter their level, the feeling of significance.

What is important to you when building your team and securing the right people for SCA?

Attitude is at the top of the list. I look for someone who has a positive approach, a willingness to have a go, seeks opportunities, and voices an opinion. Skills are important, and can be taught, but attitude can build and drive cultures.

We talk about culture every day in what we do. What does culture mean to you and how would you describe the culture at SCA?

A culture is built around core values, and people that buy into that way of behaving. SCA’s values are collaboration, creativity, courage, initiative and integrity. Our workplace is filled with lots of energy and noise. It’s intrinsically linked to making live content every day and the talent walking around the building, but it also linked to us working as a team.  It’s hectic, it’s fun and we are all in it together.

Who is someone you admire and why? 

Natalie Massenet, the creator of Net-a-Porter. Natalie created Net-a-porter when everyone believed that shopping was only meant to be a physical experience. The online site was about accessible luxury and gave the world access to international brands. Natalie built the business, creating an amazing, empower culture for women to work and kick started many new designers by giving them global recognition. 

What is your favourite travel destination?

Paris and the South of France pre children, and now I love Noosa. It’s safe and about the kids. All we do is swim, relax and eat.

If you weren’t working in media what would you be doing?

Tough question! I love what I do, and have always dreamed of doing what I do. Possibly a role in fashion, as a fashion buyer?

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