“Even as Vibe’s direct rival, I was always intrigued by the bold approach the station took from day one,” reveals Andrew Zammit, Vibe FM’s Operations Director.
Indeed, as those familiar with local radio will know, while Drew may be relatively new to Vibe, he’s certainly not new to the industry. First getting into radio back in 2003, he has several decades of experience with 89.7 Bay under his belt, and despite dipping his toe in a couple of different industries since then, he’s always found his way back to radio – only now, it’s alongside long-time friend Frank Zammit, at Vibe.
“Frank and I go back almost 20 years – he was an entertainer at a language school while I was DJing at Axis! I have always respected what he was doing with Vibe, and there was always a good relationship,” he smiles, revealing how his current position finds its roots in a very unlikely setting: a five-a-side football match.
“I was working at Hospice at the time, and Nate asked me to join them in a match, as they were short one player. At the match, Frank and I hung back and started talking about his plans for the station. It sounded really exciting,” Drew smiles, affirming that the station’s vision is very much in line with the way he works. “Half measures bother me, and Vibe is not about half measures.”
Expanding on his decision to join Vibe, Drew reveals, “the team today is composed of the best individuals working in radio in Malta. We have a very good group of dynamic people who know the medium very well and have been performing at the highest level consistently for a number of years.”
The lure of his beloved medium of radio also had a lot to do with it, of course. “Radio has a dynamic that is very difficult to explain, but which makes you fall in love with it,” he says, affirming, “radio is the theatre of the mind. What draws me to radio is the power of imagination, of suggestive influence, as well as the relationships you build. It’s very different from an office job – your colleagues are more than colleagues, they become like a second family.”
And over the last 10 years, radio has evolved dramatically, into a medium which is no longer limited to its auditory origins, Drew continues. “The addition of the visual element, through social and other online media, has dramatically changed the way radio stations work. This has opened up a plethora of new exciting opportunities which we plan on exploring. Together, as a team, we will focus on entertaining audiences on air and online whilst delivering a top-notch service to our clients.”
In fact, as Vibe’s Operations Director, Drew will be focusing on elevating the product, on air and online, maximising efficiency in workflows and ultimately, improving the overall experience for all those interacting with Vibe, be it listener or client. “Essentially, it’s all about having someone to help Frank lead the organisation day-to-day,” he says of his role, noting that his role is to focus on the internal functions of the company, while Frank’s will be more outward looking, seeking partnerships and collaborations with third parties to leverage growth.
And since joining, Drew has hit the ground running. “First, I needed to conduct a good business analysis, to see where we could optimise workflows and revenue streams, what opportunities were missing and where we could be more profit-making. I also wanted to get a general feel of team dynamics,” he explains, and as a result, he’s been putting significant effort into structuring the company operations to function more efficiently and growing the team by aggressively recruiting new key team members.
“We have also, for the first time at Vibe, introduced KPIs, and we’ve communicated this vision to the team,” he maintains, adding that the and this is already yielding results, noting measurable improvements across the board.
With a view towards positioning the business from start up to potential market leader, Drew goes on to explain that internally, company culture is imperative, and apart from recruiting talented young people to join the team, the station is also investing heavily in training the Heads of Departments, and ultimately, empowering them to lead the team into the new era.
“We are also introducing new quality control and performance measuring metrics to move towards a more data-driven decision making approach. At the same time, we have just launched our team wellness program designed to support our team and keep moral and social cohesion and communication high,” he continues.
Fondly recalling his time at Hospice Malta, which he joined in 2020, he states, “my background in radio, my contacts in the field and my understanding of communications led me to take the job with Hospice. It was a challenging and very humbling experience, and taught me more about life than any other experience before it. I now look forward to drawing on my years of experience in radio, as well as applying all of these newly acquired skills, to my role at Vibe. The vision is bold and ambitious, but this is precisely what makes the Vibe project an exciting one.”
Photos by Inigo Taylor / Shot on location at Farsons Brewhouse
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