Paul Jackson’s Time at Nova Entertainment Comes to an End

Paul Jackson's Time Nova Entertainment Comes
Courtesy of Nova Entertainment

Paul Jackson, Nova Entertainment’s chief programming and music content officer, is set to depart the company after over a decade.

The radio company, which runs the Nova and Smooth networks, said Jackson announced his intentions to leave last week.

Speculation has been mounting as to the future of Jackson since Nova Entertainment restructured its programming team late last month, as revealed exclusively by Variety Australia. 

The restructure included a series of promotions, including heads of programming across the capital cities, which some viewed as succession planning in the event of Jackson’s departure.

In addition, Nova Entertainment hired Adam Johnson in January. Johnson took on the newly created role of chief growth officer.

This new role absorbed the marketing function from Jackson – including all brand marketing and communications efforts – as well as leading the group’s growth in connected audiences through its digital product and content development. He is also charged with driving Nova’s data and distribution strategy.

This transformed Jackson’s role from chief programming and marketing officer to chief programming and music content officer.

Jackson joined the company – which was then known as DMG Radio – in November 2010. He said he was stepping down to start his own international radio consultancy.

“I’m immensely proud of what we have achieved during my 12 years at Nova,” he said in a statement. “It has been a privilege to have had the opportunity to do so many amazing things, surrounded by such a fantastic team of people. I am excited for the future as I start my own international radio consultancy and I am also keen to pursue some other unique and innovative business ideas that I have been developing.”

Nova Entertainment’s CEO, Peter Charlton, added: “For 12 years, Paul has led our programming function, over what has been an incredibly successful period for the business. We thank Paul for all he has for and all of us at Nova Entertainment wish him all the best for his next endeavours.”

Nova announced that the senior programming heads – including Ben Latimer (Nova 96.9 Sydney and Nova 919 Adelaide), Peter Clay (Smooth Network) and Brendan Taylor (group program operations director, responsible for Nova 106.9 programming in Brisbane – will now report into Charlton, rather than Jackson.

Nova Entertainment is a privately-owned, Lachlan Murdoch-controlled audio company.

In addition to its Smooth and Nova radio networks, it runs Adelaide talk station FiveAA, Central Coast-based music station Star 104.5 and a podcast network. It also co-owns Kiis 97.3FM in Brisbane via a joint venture with ARN.

The company’s alleged issues with a select number of former staff have hit headlines in recent years, and it has also launched a whistleblower program for employees to bypass human resources and confidentially report any discrimination, bullying, harassment, offensive behaviour, fraud, illegal acts, corruption and other forms of misconduct.

The company partnered with independent provider Your Call, which positions itself as “a modern external whistleblowing hotline and online service” that gives “stakeholders an opportunity to speak up” about behaviours that fall below employment standards.

It was subsequently revealed by Variety Australia that the whistleblowing program was also open to former staffers.

Separately, Variety Australia revealed that more than a dozen former employees are in the planning stages of a class action lawsuit against the company and have engaged Sydney-based firm WorkLawyers.

They have alleged workplace misconduct including bullying, harassment and discrimination.

The lawyer preparing the potential suit – Kristian Bolwell – told Variety Australia he had been approached by a number of ex-employees and is “assisting them to resolve their issues, potentially on a class basis”.

Variety Australia is not suggesting any wrongdoing by Jackson, Murdoch, Charlton, or any other Nova Entertainment executive and it is not yet clear who the allegations are being levied against.