New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards ongoing Grand Jury Confidential series has featured award-winning Grand Jury members from around the globe. Each year NYF recruits a world-renowned panel prominent radio executives to select the World’s Best Radio Programs℠. This week we shine the spotlight on Maddy Fryer, executive producer for PopAsia, SBS Corporation Australia.
For over 10 years, Maddy has worked for SBS Australia. Since 2010 she’s been the Executive Producer of SBS PopAsia, a Digital Radio Station for young multicultural Australians, with fans that are actively engaged in Radio, TV and Online Content. Prior to SBS PopAsia, Maddy led the youth team from the program – Alchemy, who in 2008 became Silver Medal Recipients of United Nations Department of Public Information Award – on the Stolen Generation in Australia.
Maddy loves where radio and the media are taking the world, but nothing will ever beat great content, on any platform.
Keep reading to learn more about Maddy Fryer, including the early days of her career, important lessons learned on the job, her evolution in the radio industry, and more.
New York Festivals: Who or what were your early influences in your career?
Maddy Fryer: My Mother was a Music Programmer and my Uncle a Drive Presenter which meant that I grew up in and around Radio Stations. When I was 8 years old I remember being in the Radio 4TO (Townsville) Station Car (a really hot looking Monaro) and my job was to hand out Ice-Creams to the Crowd. I felt so cool that day and knew that I wanted to work in and around Radio. I still get that buzz today when we are out meeting our audience.
New York Festivals: What’s the most important thing you learned from your first job?
Maddy Fryer: My first real job was with a paid job for a community radio station hoping to gain a radio license. We were not granted a license, but as the Program Director I learned the value of leadership and knowledge sharing as a way to create better radio. I needed to understand the value of a microphone, as well as the best way to develop talent – and I did this here. I immersed myself in all that was radio and also learned the wisdom that comes with failure and success. I grew so much from this experience which has been beneficial to my own career growth down the track.
New York Festivals: Tell us a bit about your evolution in the radio industry?
Maddy Fryer: I am a long way from cutting up tape for stories and promos at community radio station 4ZZZ. I have traveled many radio miles and I sometimes pinch myself at the place I have landed today. I have found working in the CHR Format with SBS PopAsia so much fun. We are a digital radio station (and App) that broadcasts in English and play contemporary pop hits music from Korea, Japan, China and South East Asia. To be programming and educating young people is a great place to be in my career in radio. I also feel that we can be much more real with the audience these days and I really enjoy this part of my radio evolution. Why are we more real? It’s so easy to reach out to a radio station today and we need to be agile enough to engage the audience back via our radio and online platforms. All a bit different from contacting radio stations in the early days by letter and phone call. These may seem like small changes but the impact on how we broadcast is exciting to me.
New York Festivals: What’s your favorite radio program that created?
Maddy Fryer: SBS PopAsia has been my all-time favourite Radio Program to be part of. In 2009 a small team at SBS Radio developed the PopAsia Radio Station concept because we saw an audience need in Australia for Asian Pop Music and Culture. What I love about SBS PopAsia is the engagement with young people who idolize Asian Pop Culture – mainly the Boy and Girl Groups who are called ‘Idols’. It’s such a fun genre to work in and a great way to empower young people to learn about new cultures. It’s also great to watch new audiences embrace Asian Pop and to know that there is a high take up of Asian languages in Australia each year. SBS PopAsia plays a special role here by entertaining and educating though music and radio.