Media mentor - Karen Stacey

A local radio ad was the catalyst to Karen Stacey entering media and she owes it all to her mum and her maths A-Level.

How would you describe yourself in three words?

Focused, empowering, passionate.

What was your first job in media?/Why did you chose to work in media?

My first job was at Independent Radio Sales. My Mum heard the job of accounts assistant advertised on LBC while I was studying for my maths A-Level. An early introduction to the power of radio advertising.

What does it take to make it big in media?

To make it big in anything you must have a genuine interest in it. If you're passionate and interested in media then you can't really go wrong. Media is a tough and demanding environment and, so, to make it, you've got to love it.

What is the most difficult aspect of targeting modern women for Emap broadcast?

Modern consumers are discerning. And they need to be. There is an ever-increasing number of media channels competing for their attention. However, new technologies in radio are enabling new "radio places" - radio listening at times and in places it was not previously possible, via mobile phone, TV and the internet. New technology has also created a wider choice of stations, so modern women have access to new digital stations, e.g. Heat radio, as well as established stations, such as Magic, which had only previously been available in London. The challenge of targeting modern women is certainly present, but radio is well-equipped to deal with it, as the advent of digital technology has "future-proofed" the medium - giving listeners more of what they want, when and how they want it. It's broadcast, but delivered in a narrowcast way.

What is the best piece of advice ever given to you?

Success is as much about what you don't do as it is about what you do.

Who is the person you most admire in the media industry?

I've been lucky enough to work with some inspiring leaders, such as Dave King and Andy Barnes. Also, I have great admiration for people like Julie Oldroyd, who, through determination and hard work, has been promoted from the sales force to commissioning editor at Channel 4. I always have the utmost respect for people like Simon Mathews, who swap the relative comforts of corporate life in order to launch their own businesses - that is the path for the very brave. And, of course, all us working mums.

What has been the proudest moment in your career?

It is always rewarding when your team's achievements are recognised publicly. For Emap Advertising to win Sales Team of the Year at the recent Media Week Awards was particularly special.

What has been the most embarrassing moment in your career so far?

Too many to mention and the brief is just 950 words.

What is the first thing you do when you get to work in the morning?

On my way, I listen to as much London radio as I possibly can. It's a pretty dynamic market at the moment and I flick through most of the channels on the dial, paying particular attention to Magic and Kiss, of course. Once I'm in the office, I check my overnight e-mails, while being thankful that I haven't got a fantasy football team to manage like the rest of the office.

What is the most exciting aspect of your job?

Working with a group of smart, creative individuals who all have a passion for winning. It was also very exciting to see Magic win Media Week's Media Brand of the Year recently. I always had a belief that, with Magic, we had a brand that could be a serious contender for the top spot. Seeing Magic recognised for all that it has achieved was a truly exciting moment.

And what do you least enjoy doing?

Account queries, internal meetings and getting up at 4am to go to Heathrow now that we have 13 radio stations in Scotland.

What's the best lunch date you have ever had?

I have had some great lunch dates over the years, including lunch on the set of Friends while at Channel 4. I have to say that my favourite lunch was a few years ago, when my husband proposed to me over a picnic in Regent's Park. It certainly wasn't the poshest lunch I've ever had, but it has got to be the best. If the typical female Magic listener was trapped on a desert island and could take only one newspaper, magazine and TV show with her, what would they be? The Daily Mail, Grazia and Desperate Housewives.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years' time?

Hopefully, still in media. It's still one of the most exciting and dynamic industries to be involved with. And if the next 10 years are as enjoyable as the last 10, then I would consider myself extremely fortunate.


2004: Broadcast director, Emap Advertising

2002: Deputy broadcast director, Emap Advertising

1997: Account director, Emap on Air

1992: Group head, Channel 4

1989: Part of the launch Team of Jazz FM and the Radio Sales Company

1985: Accounts assistant Independent Radio Sales.

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