Think Stories and Ideas

New Format for Think: Stories & Ideas on the CRN

Sharmaine Spencer, 30th April 2020

A new part of the award-winning 'Think' series started this week on the Community Radio Network!

Coming to us from the studio's of Sydney's 2SER, the award-winning ‘Thinks’ examine challenges and possibilities from the local to the global; each segment in the series focuses on the world’s future through aspects of planning, health, business development or technology.

Think: Business Futures
We’re moving into the next stage of the Think series with Think: Business Futures starting this week on the CRN. Produced and presented by Max Tillman (pictured below), who will be going beyond the headlines each week to lead a guest panel discussion about business, economics and the future.
With the fate of our economy and businesses being at the forefront of the COIVD-19 crisis, Max explains why programming like Think Business Futures is more important now than ever.

Max Tillman

What makes programs like ‘Think: Business Futures’ so relevant in our current times?

Well, it goes without saying that keeping up with the news in a time like this is really important. But with the pace of new developments, it’s very easy for the news-cycle to only skim the surface. In simple terms; it’s hard to tell your JobSeeker from your JobKeeper when everything’s coming at you so quickly.

Think: Business Futures, and other programs like it, take the time to get a second, third, and on a good week, fourth opinion on those stories. We’ve tackled superannuation, working from home and the impacts of COVID19 on Indigenous business amongst others, so we’re constantly keeping up with what’s worth- dare I say it- unpacking. 

What do you hope the new format of Think Business Futures can bring to stations on the CRN?

The panel style format brings an entirely new dynamic to covering news. With a half-hour timeslot, there’s an opportunity for the cast of characters behind an important news event to explain their position and engage in a dialogue with one another. It’s fascinating to moderate as a journalist, and it’s a great opportunity to learn more about how businesses operate under stress. The news cycle keeps things short, and at the most, an individual voice may get a few minutes.

But Think: Business Futures offers stations on the CRN an opportunity to give their audience a greater insight into the numbers behind stories that affect them. I gathered a great deal of experience from my years on The Wire, so it won't be my first time being heard on the Community Radio Network!

Why is it important to host independent discussion on the future of our economy?

It can be hard to distinguish opinion from fact when discussing the future of the economy. As is the nature of the beast, any discussion of the future is purely speculative. One thing that distinguishes Think: Business Futures is our focus on finding real voices to talk about the issues we cover. I gain most of that ethos from my time as a reporter for The Wire, and the emphasis upon finding genuine opinions and unique angles to prominent stories.

We speak to industry leaders, business owners, and most importantly, people who have unique stories to tell. I think that focus upon community-minded journalism is what gives programs like Think: Business Futures their unique place in the journalistic landscape. 

You say Think Business Futures is about ‘so much more than money’ what else can listeners expect to hear on the program?

Well, when you talk about money and finance, you’re really talking about the structures of the world we live in. We approach the show with a ‘relevance-first’ mindset, so often our discussions drift into culture, social issues, and the psychology behind how we spend our money.

All the indicators are pointing towards a recession, which is a particularly gloomy outcome, but there is still a great deal of positivity amongst the range of guests we have on the program that change is a catalyst for positive growth. Some of the most fascinating insights have come from guests from outside the world of finance and economics, and I think that brings a great layer of depth to listeners. 

What do you think are some of the biggest challenges our business community are facing moving forward?

Consumer confidence is one of the primary issues moving forward. It’s very difficult to imagine most people wanting to part from their savings at a time like this, so the projections have to account for that. The ripple effects of COVID19 have been eye-opening to watch, and I took a moment to appreciate oil selling for -$35.00USD a barrel last Monday, as it was the first time in history ‘black gold’ had sold in the negatives. But it isn’t all doom and gloom, and a phrase that has appeared a few times over the last few weeks on the program is the ‘light at the end of the COVID19 tunnel’.

A few weeks ago, we spoke to Kerry Colbung from Mandanga Indigenous Cosmetics, an indigenous-owned business in South Australia that has seen their online sales skyrocket over the last few weeks. Her success story was a breath of fresh air, but also a sign that businesses will have to adapt. The next few months will change the way consumers spend their money and businesses like Kerry’s 

How can the show help people stay connected to and informed about the economic challenges ahead?

It’ll be interesting to see how things develop from here, particularly as social-restrictions ease, and businesses start to pick back up again. I think the raft of Government measures and stimulus programs have been interesting to watch from the sidelines, as it sets a really interesting precedent for how a conservative government has dealt with an economic crisis. How these measures will pan out is a question I look forward to answering over the coming weeks and months of Think: Business Futures. In the words of economist Milton Freidman, “nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program’.

For CRN subscribers:

  • Program runs 27'50 minutes
  • Think: Stories & Ideas distributes Wednesdays at 16:32 AEST/AEDT
  • Available for on-demand broadcast by stations via DDN capture and download
  • Presented for a national audience
  • For more information contact CRN staff on 02 9310 2999 or email [email protected]

Not a CRN subscriber, but want to find out more about getting content like this for your station? Read more here.

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