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Ex-Commercial Radio Boss Appointed To Lead triple j, ABC

19 July 2023 | 12:53 pm | Staff Writer

Will ABC Radio be in for a shakeup with an ex-Nova boss at the helm?

Ben Latimer

Ben Latimer (Supplied)

ABC’s audio offerings are in for a shake up, with ex Nova Head of Programming Ben Latimer today announced in the new position of ABC Head of Audio Content.

Latimer, who was voted in Radio Today’s top 20 most influential people in radio and is a multi Commercial Radio Award winner, will be responsible for ABC local radio, sport, audio studios, strategy, Radio National, triple j, Double J, triple j Unearthed, ABC Jazz, ABC Country and ABC Classic.

While the music industry will be looking to any impacts on triple j, Double J and Unearthed, Latimer has a number of fires to attend to, including ABC Local Radio’s current ratings slump which saw stations across the country reach low levels in last week’s ratings survey announcement, particularly in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.

Triple J has come under fire in the media over the last twelve months about the drift of younger listeners, however as reported here and here, media hysteria has been overstated, suggesting that compared to some of the ABC’s other issues, wholesale changes at the music stations may not be the first priority.

“Being appointed to such a vital role within the national broadcaster is truly an honour and I am acutely aware of the challenges that come with this new responsibility,” Latimer said.

“I look forward to leading our exceptional ABC Audio and Radio teams to continue what they do best: creating captivating content that is distinct, high-quality and reflects the essence of Australia. While the speed and breadth of changes in the audio landscape are profound, I hold an unwavering optimism for the future and the distinctive role that the ABC will play.”

The role will also look after podcasts and the future of audio as the broad nature of audio entertainment continues to evolve, with Latimer starting on July 31.

Ben Latimer departed the Nova Network in April this year, having steered the early success of the Smooth FM Network and the increasing ratings for Nova over the last seven years. The appointment is likely to be a popular one, with respect for Latimer across the radio and music industries.

ABC Chief Content Officer Chris Oliver-Taylor said “The ABC delivers the most comprehensive radio and on demand audio offering of any media organisation in Australia. It is complex, broad, and vital for all Australians across this vast continent. I am delighted that Ben has decided to join the ABC and take on that challenge”.

“Ben is an exceptional leader who lives and breathes radio, his experience alongside the ABC’s audio executive team, is exactly what we need as we look to increase our audiences across all of our output, be that live and local or our significant podcast and OnDemand content. I can’t wait to welcome Ben to the ABC.”