Commercial Radio & Audio (CRA) searching for new CEO after Ford Enalls quits

Ford Ennals

CRA chief commercial officer Jo Dick will be caretaker CEO during the search for new leader.

The CEO of industry body Commercial Radio & Audio (CRA), Ford Ennals, has announced his resignation effective immediately.

The departure of Ennals came on the day of a board meeting of the radio industry organisation. The CRA board meets bi-monthly. At the meeting, Ennals announced his resignation and the board accepted it.

His departure comes just days after CRA welcomed a recommendation made by the Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee that priority be given to the implementation of radio prominence on devices such as smart speakers.

In comments last week, Ford Ennals said: “Easy, free and reliable access to radio is essential for all Australians, whether they are listening in a connected car or on a smart speaker.”

Ennals has been in the post for two years. He was recruited from the UK and he arrived to take over from long-time Commercial Radio chief executive Joan Warner.

Mediaweek asked Ennals when he arrived in 2022 about the attraction of accepting a role in Australia. “I found that Australia has a very dynamic and competitive radio marketplace after working on an international assessment of radio around the world as part of a government review of radio in the UK,” he said. “Radio here has been very resilient and introduced much innovation.”

Before taking the CRA job, Ennals was the founding CEO of Digital UK and was later CEO of Digital Radio UK.

Former CRA chairman and SCA chief executive Grant Blackley oversaw the executive search that decided on Ennals for the role.

Search underway for new CRA chief executive

This time the search for a replacement, the second in just over two years, will be overseen by the current CRA chair, ARN’s Ciaran Davis.

It couldn’t come at a busier time for Davis. On Monday 29 April, 2024 the ARN flagship breakfast program, The Kyle and Jackie O Show, will be networked into Sydney and Melbourne.

He is also in the middle of the relocation of the Sydney ARN facility from North Ryde to North Sydney.

On top of all that Davis is driving the acquisition of SCA in partnership with Anchorage Capital Partners. It is now six months since the proposal was lodged by the two groups.

The board of CRA are all involved indirectly in the radio shakeup. It will have ramifications outside the players involved – ARN, Anchorage and SCA.

Just last week Morgan Stanley released a research paper on the deal. In that, it predicted that radio share of ad spend is tumbling. The report claimed it will be just 3% this year and will fall to under 2% in the next five years.

Who’s who on the board of CRA

Chairman: Ciaran Davis (ARN)

Board members: Tom Malone (Nine Radio), John Kelly (SCA), Peter Charlton (Nova Entertainment), Michael Harvey (ARN), Rowly Paterson (ACE Radio), Greg Cupitt (Super Radio Network), Tony Hudson (SCA), Peter Colosimo (Nova Entertainment), Rachel Launders (Nine Radio)

Statement from CRA on Ennals departure

Ennals has served as CEO for two years, during which he successfully led the rebranding of the industry body from “Commercial Radio Australia” to “Commercial Radio & Audio”. Additionally, Mr Ennals oversaw the successful launch of “Radio 360”, the new industry audience measurement system that provided more robust audience listening data.

CRA represents 260 commercial radio stations across Australia, with members including Australian Radio Network (ARN), SCA, Nova Entertainment, Nine Radio and ACE Radio Broadcasters.

Chair of the CRA Board, Ciaran Davis, thanked Mr Ennals for his leadership of CRA, stating “Ford has made some great contributions during his tenure with CRA.  We wish him well for his future role.”

Mr Ennals remarked, “I’ve had the privilege to successfully guide the CRA through a key period of transition. I extend my gratitude to the CRA team and our members. I am confident that the commercial radio and audio sector is well-positioned for future growth and success.”

Mr Davis confirmed that Jo Dick, Chief Commercial Officer for CRA will care-take the CEO role whilst the Board undertakes a search for a new CEO.

See also: Ford Ennals to replace Joan Warner as CEO of Commercial Radio Australia

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