Telum Talks To: Tom Wright from Disrupt Radio

Telum Talks To: Tom Wright from Disrupt Radio

Telum Media spoke to Tom Wright, Content Director for specialist programmes on Disrupt Radio, about his career in audio journalism and how his team is looking to shake up the talk radio industry. 

What brought you into the radio world?
A job application to join a start-up internet radio station in London in 2000! More broadly, a passion for interesting and amusing audio, both speech and music. I love the immediacy of audio, the excitement of "now" in live radio and on podcasts - I love how things can get made very quickly compared to TV or film.

How have you seen the industry change and evolve throughout your career?
My whole career there’s been a push and pull in the industry between digital and linear broadcast radio, and whether digital will "save" radio or podcasts being a "distraction". I’m not sure the audience sees it like that. I’ve seen how various organisations in Australia and the UK have negotiated that push / pull of new and existing audiences with varying degrees of success. I think there’s no definitive answer either way. That’s what is so interesting working at a new radio station attempting to use digital-style disruption to a live-scheduled radio network.

What’s your favourite type of story or piece to work on?
I love working on surprising new ideas, bringing them to life, giving a voice to someone who has maybe not had the chance before, protecting them, and (sometimes) proving the naysayers wrong.

How does your current role differ from roles you’ve had in the past?
After five years as Executive Producer of comedy podcasts for the ABC, becoming head of specialist here at Disrupt Radio has meant getting back into clocks, timings and schedules, and managing multiple productions rather than a couple at any given time.

What makes Disrupt Radio different to other broadcasters?
We are the first to try and make a new home for intelligent talk radio in Australia on DAB+. Most DAB stations are feeds of established AM stations or specialist spin-offs of existing brands, usually in music. We think and behave more like a tech company than legacy broadcasters, which gives us terrific freedom. We focus on a market largely ignored by the media, those who are into new ways of doing things. We are also not led by age demographics. If you’re into new ideas, we are for you, whoever you are.

How do you work best with PRs and other media professionals?
I have to admit I’m not wild about cold calls for new ideas or follow-ups to emails. Other than that, I am open to anyone who wants to contact me. I’m happy to take email pitch ideas whenever.

Any tips for young journalists looking to enter the audio space?
Don’t let perfect get in the way of good, the very best ideas or stories are still being "perfected" and will never see the light of day. We should be living in an age where new ideas challenge the same old, so pitch your ideas and keep persisting. Also, pick up the phone! You’d be surprised how effective phone calls can be. Sometimes younger journalists are waiting for things to happen to them, nothing happens without you putting in the effort or getting in front of people. That’s how you "get lucky".

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Tom Wright

Content Director

Disrupt Radio

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