Who is Christian O’Connell (and why you need to know)?
Christian O’Connell is not a name that many Australian radio listeners are familiar with, but that may not be the case for very long.
It looks like the Absolute Radio (originally Virgin Radio) breakfast host could be Australia-bound, with multiple sources telling Radio Today that O’Connell has been “exploring opportunities” for a primetime shift on Australian metro radio for some time.
Of course, he already has a local connection in Aussie producer Nick Daly (who formerly spent 11 years with NOVA Entertainment). And with a breakfast slot in Melbourne recently made available, could the planets be aligned for an imminent move Down Under?
The British radio DJ – who also bears the title of TV host, writer and comedian – has been on-air with The Christian O’Connell Breakfast Show since 2006, alongside sidekick Richard Mark “Richie” Firth, sports presenter Glenn Moore and news and travel reporter Emma Jones.
But there’s more to the radio presenter than meets the eye. Here are the four most interesting things to know about Christian O’Connell.
He has worked with Hamish and Andy
Remember when Hamish and Andy attempted a radio first by simulcasting an international radio show to Britain and Australia at the same time? Well, they joined The Christian O’Connell Breakfast Show between 7am and 9am in Britain in order to broadcast live to Australia during their 4pm to 6pm timeslot. Not deterred by the Aussie pair’s sense of humour, O’Connell proved to be the entertaining yet deciding factor in a segment he described as “the stinkiest thing” he’s ever done on radio.
He is a record holder
Not only was he was the youngest radio presenter to be inducted into the UK Radio Academy Hall of Fame in 2014, but he has won a record-breaking number of radio awards in the UK (including 11 Sony Radio Academy Gold awards).
He is a genuine comedian
No, we’re not talking just another funny radio guy. He has performed three sold-out tours of the International Edinburgh Fringe Comedy festival (from 2013 to 2015) and hosted the McMillan Cancer comedy show in 2016 and the Stand Up to Cancer show in 2017.
He is renowned for his radio segments
The Christian O’Connell Breakfast Show has taken out the Sony Radio Academy Gold Award for a Competition twice (2007 and 2010) for a segment called “Who’s Calling Christian?”. The premise is that listeners nominate (and contact) a famous identity that they wish to phone the show, and should the celebrity call through and win the public vote, the listener wins £10,000 with the other £10,000 going a charity of the celebrity’s choice.
While a host of famous voices have phoned through to the hotline (including the likes of Ricky Gervais, Rod Stewart, William Shatner and former British PM Tony Blair), one of the most iconic calls was Liam Gallagher – who Absolute Radio staff didn’t believe was a genuine caller!