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Ace of Base

Jasmin Ziedan thought her employer should do things differently—so she bought the company
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What do you do if you’re slogging your guts out for limited gain? If you’re Jasmin Ziedan, you buy the company and do it your way. In May 2008, the 25-year-old Ziedan had been managing Base FM, owned by George FM, for almost a year but was struggling to make changes. “I always had to get approval from another radio station that wasn’t really interested in our demographics. George had its own things on its plate, and it was frustrating,” she says. Determined to take Base to a new level, she gave George an ultimatum. “I thought I can’t do much for the station like this, so I said: ‘This is it: I buy it or I’m leaving’.”

George sold, and Ziedan stayed. She’s moving Base—which features a blend of funk, soul and hip-hop—beyond the airwaves, starting with broadcasts on the Freeview TV network and over the Internet. “It’s been great getting texts from people on holiday and listening from their bach in so-and-so,” says Ziedan, or ‘Jazz’ as she’s known at Base. The next step: reinforce the brand with local gigs and stronger coverage signals. And then? “We’d like to go worldwide, and not just on the Internet. New Zealand is pretty small so once we’ve conquered that, we’d like to franchise Base around the world with the same format, same DJs. We already have listeners texting in, saying there is nothing like it in their country.”

Before moving to Auckland, Ziedan studied media management in Germany and wrote her thesis on the structure and cultural influence of radio in New Zealand. Why Enzed? “Auckland has twice as many radio stations as New York or London, and Aucklanders buy twice as many turntables as guitars,” she says. “I’ve never worked in such a DJ industry before. In Germany there’s a lot of bands, but here everybody is a DJ!”