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#BehindtheMask with... Geraint Crwys-Williams, chairman and acting CEO at Primedia Broadcasting

This week, we go behind the mask with Geraint Crwys-Williams, chairman and acting CEO at Primedia Broadcasting.
We asked Crwys-Williams to share his thoughts around Covid-19 and how it has impacted Primedia Broadcasting specifically.

“Covid-19 has affected individuals, families, healthcare systems, businesses and changed our way of life and changed the communities we live in. The media industry has been affected globally and Primedia Broadcasting has not been immune to the coronavirus crisis and its economic impact, taking a heavy toll on our employees and our advertisers. Since March 2020, each passing day has brought about new challenges and it is incumbent on the leadership team to provide clear direction to meet those challenges and ensure that our business is refashioned to be more resilient in the future.

Primedia Group starts retrenchment process

The Primedia Group has announced that it has informed employees of its intention to proceed with consultations in accordance with section 189 of the Labour Relations Act...

17 Jul 2020

“In such extraordinary times it is imperative to innovate and pivot, and a great example of this is the 702 station and brand refresh launched earlier this week. In its 40th year 702 has been repositioned, the lineup adjusted, and on-air programming strategies adapted to reflect what our listeners want from us. This demonstrates our ability and commitment to operate with a growth mindset, and to be agile enough to adapt quickly, both in 702 and across our other leading brands in 947, EWN, KFM and Cape Talk."

1. So tell us, what’s really behind your mask (literally and/or figuratively speaking).

A lockdown induced beard that I am still hanging on to.

2. Where are you locked down?

In Parkwood, Johannesburg.

3. How are you finding working from home or physical distancing at the office / how has your way of working changed?

Without forgetting about why we had to do it in the first place, we have taken some positives out of the lockdown. We’ve all been under the same roof for a few months which has been very special and have had the best lockdown birthday parties ever! Some of us are gradually and safely returning to the office for a few hours a day, and it’s been great interacting with people again.

4. Describe a typical workday, if such a thing exists.

The fact that each day is so varied makes it enjoyable. It usually starts with an early morning run, at my desk by 7:30am and incessant Zoom meetings throughout the day like everyone else. I try to end the day by 6:30pm.

5. How do you maintain a good rapport with your teammates/clients?

Getting to know all the people who make up this great business is a big part of my focus and building strong, enduring partnerships with our clients is a crucial element of our success.

6. How do you socialise these days?

This has been hard for everyone. I’ve run with different friends, done the odd virtual race, we’ve had Zoom sundowners and even dinners.

7. What do you do to keep fit, healthy and/or sane (physically/mentally)?

I mostly run and cycle, but I also like taking on other sports every now and again like doing the Midmar Mile last year. My wife often encourages me to put my running shoes on and disappear for a while!

8. What new apps would we find if we scrolled through your phone?

ForceManager (we have recently launched this as our sales CRM), SkyView and Duolingo.

9. Share your favourite Covid-19/lockdown-related meme/gif with us.

View this post on Instagram

Claire providing us with the biggest mood of 2020 so far

A post shared by Meme Appetit (@meme_appetit) on

10. What is the first thing you plan to do when the lockdown lifts?

To get a haircut and reconnect with people.

11. Describe your career and if/how the pandemic/lockdown has affected its course.

I’ve been fortunate to be exposed to various businesses and industries, and have been involved in lots of corporate transactions, restructuring and strategy work. The pandemic has forced me to get more and more comfortable with ambiguity, making important decisions with imperfect information, less empirical data, and holding our people closer in everything we do.

12. Any companies/brands that you feel have responded particularly well to the crisis and/or Covid-19-related campaigns that stand out to you, and why?

Rather than highlighting specific brands, I thought how many companies came out in support of smaller businesses was fantastic, and this was especially prevalent in the media owner space. I did really enjoy the #SoulfulNation ad by Chicken Licken – it was relatable, fun, but also honest and provided people with a ‘feel-good’ moment.

13. What are you working on right now?

I have been spending a lot of time working with the leadership team to adjust Primedia Broadcasting’s strategic course, including the recent very exciting repositioning of 702.

14. What does the ‘new normal’ look like to you?

From a work perspective less organisational rigidity, greater flexibility and autonomy but coupled with increased personal accountability. Personally, a renewed quest for more equilibrium and adjusted priorities – that’s something I took out of lockdown – and a few extra kilograms…

15. What are some of the buzzwords floating around at the moment, and some of the catchphrases you utter yourself?

Phrases resonating with me include "#LetsWalkTheTalk", "there’s no future in history", "zoombombing" and "covidiot".

16. What advice would you give to other industry folk during this time?

This is an important time for radio. Audio has never been so relevant and providing accurate, reliable information has never been so important. I think we need to keep making the argument for radio in the face of increased competition from other media types and platforms and demonstrating how effectively it delivers at both the top and bottom of the funnel.

Follow Crwys-Williams' on LinkedIn and Primedia Broadcasting on Bizcommunity.

*Interviewed by Jessica Tennant.

About Jessica Tennant

Jess is Senior Editor: Marketing & Media at She is also a contributing writer. moc.ytinummoczib@swengnitekram



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