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Kelly faces a baptism of fire

IT has been a baptism of fire for new 6PR and 96fm general manager Declan Kelly.

Mr Kelly has been sales director for both stations and was promoted to replace the stations’ former general manager, Shane Healy, who has left to become marketing manager of Southern Cross Broad-casting, the company that owns the two stations.

On his first day as general manager without the back-up of his predecessor, Mr Kelly had to deal with the fallout following 6PR morning presenter Paul Murray’s naming of the former WA football star at the centre of sexual abuse allegations.

He admitted the decision to allow the former player to be named – when no other media outlet was prepared to – was difficult, but one he was comfortable with.

Mr Kelly brings more than 10 years’ experience at senior radio management levels to the role, however the bulk of his time has been spent on the sales side.

He cut his teeth as a sales representative for the old 96FM when it was Perth’s only commercial FM radio station, and was sales man-ager at KYFM (now 94.5) before a stint as sales director for ABC America’s European radio arm. That operation had 13 stations and was on the air in five countries.

He returned to Perth radio in 2000.

Mr Kelly said his lack of experience in other radio areas would not be an impediment to handling the broader issues of running of a radio station.

“I’ve been around radio for a long time and I’ve been groomed for this position for the past two years,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to dealing with the presenters. We have a very stable team here.

“It’s also good that a lot of the presenters’ contracts are up for renewal. It gives me a chance to find out what their needs and wants are and put to them what our [the radio station’s] needs and wants are.”

Mr Kelly wants all radio stations to work together to increase their share of the general advertising pie.

“Radio, funnily enough, is often recession proof,” he said.

“The big companies usually cut their television and mainline newspaper advertising first.”

However, Southern Cross Broad-casting disappointed the market with its $31.2 million profit announced last week, which was down $1 million on its April fore-cast.

“Radio has to get its ad pie bigger. I think all Perth commercial stations should work together to show the power of the medium,” Mr Kelly said.

“With Nova coming in, they are going to be competing for a slice of the same pie as all of us – therefore we need to grow it.”

Mr Kelly said he expected new FM station Nova would attract a lot of listeners away from 96fm when it launched.

“But after three or four radio surveys they’ll start coming back,” he said.

“With 6PR we’ll probably consolidate our market. Over the past two years the personnel at the station has settled down and with FM chopping and changing, the AM band could be the big winner.”

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