Interview with Plett’s Lance Rothschild
Plett local, 5FM station manager and CEO of the Liberty Radio Awards, Lance Rothschild was recently interviewed by bizcommunity.com for their #BrandManagerMonth to find out what’s really going on behind the selfie.
1. Where do you live, work and play?
Rothschild: I live in Plett, although I have an office at home. I work wherever I need to be, and I play predominantly in Plett. I love the beach, and the adventure biking (motorcycling) in the area is sublime. I also love playing in the bushveld.
2. What’s your claim to fame?
Rothschild: Fame is fleeting. Older people remember me for the time I spent at 5FM and younger people know me for the Liberty Radio Awards.
3. Describe your career so far.
Rothschild: I have been blessed with the good fortune of working with some amazingly talented people over the years. I have always loved radio, even from primary school days, and so gravitated towards the industry. I had an awesome time at 5FM and worked with some of the absolute best in the business, and am still in regular contact with many of them.
4. Tell us a few of your favourite things.
Rothschild: Radio, good food, people, whisky, motorcycling, golden retrievers (and, in fact, all dogs), the bushveld, the sea, excitement and adventure, anything that gets my adrenaline going.
5. What do you love about your industry?
Rothschild: It is constantly evolving. Radio is one of the most adaptive media and it has survived many ‘attacks’ and threats. Technology has had a huge impact on the business, but the principles remain the same: keep the customer (the listener) happy and you can build a business. Incorporate as many of the new technologies as you can, but remember that the listener is the ultimate arbiter.
6. Describe your average workday, if such a thing exists.
Rothschild: There’s no such thing as an average workday in my life. Every day is different and brings interesting opportunities. I do like to get an early start though, and am normally online before 6am and taking care of correspondence. I have a timetable I try adhere to as working remotely takes some discipline and the timetable helps me to maintain focus. The timetable governs my day from 9am to 5pm, but I maintain a degree of flexibility where possible. I try to build in some time to take my dogs for a walk on the beach, but that is dictated by workload.
7. What are the tools of your trade?
Rothschild: An inquisitive mind; an interest in the world around you; ears; a sense of humour; instinct; people skills. From a technology perspective: good telecommunication connectivity and decent broadband; and, of course, my trusty radio receiver.
8. Who is getting it right in your industry?
Rothschild: There’s some fierce competition in the commercial radio field and various players are getting various aspects right. Primedia and Kagiso are competing well with assets in both organisations having relative strengths (and some weaknesses); Algoa FM seems to be doing excellent work and are selling lots of advertising; and newcomers like MSG are doing some interesting and innovative things too. Then there is the excitement of the community radio sector, where certain stations are really well-attuned to their audiences, both from a community of purpose perspective and from a geographical community perspective.
9. List a few pain points the industry can improve on.
Rothschild: The regulatory framework in SA is too restrictive. There should be many more commercial radio stations with increased competition across formats. The allocation of the frequency spectrum has been poorly managed. Rate inflation has made radio expensive and some players are making radio for their shareholders instead of their listeners.
Stations also need to improve on the qualitative data that they are presenting to clients when trying to sell advertising. The BRC provides quantitative data, but stations need to leverage a wealth of intelligence that resides within their listener interaction in order to be able to provide advertisers and marketers with a far better picture of whom they are reaching.
10. What are you working on right now?
- The 2017 Liberty Radio Awards.
- Radio awards in other countries in Africa.
- The integration of listener interactions and feedback into a system that will provide the station with a far more ‘granular’ view of the audience.
11. Where and when do you have your best ideas?
Rothschild: It varies, but generally when I am in a creative or free-thinking space. When I am working on a project I am focused on that, but when I have some time-out, then I allow my mind to wander and that is when I get creative.
12. What’s your secret talent/party trick?
Rothschild: I love cooking and I can make sushi. I also play guitar – sing-along type stuff.
13. Are you a technophobe or a technophile?
Rothschild: More of a technophile. I love technology and am always curious about new tech and what solutions it provides.
14. What would we find if we scrolled through your phone?
Rothschild: Loads of photos, a huge contact list of approximately 4,000 contacts, some of my favourite music oldies, and the usual apps.
15. What advice would you give to newbies hoping to crack it as entrepreneurs?
Rothschild: You have to give it a go. A friend told me at the time that I was planning to go on my own: “You have to start to start, your phone will not ring unless you make it ring.” Learn to deal with rejection, you only need to get up one more time than you fall; and remember that it’s not how hard you fall, it’s how well you bounce.
*Interviewed by Leigh Andrews.