Radio’s Greatest Newsreaders: The Past
Radio newsreaders have a unique relationship with listeners. Unlike the on-air teams and announcers, they’re rarely known by face, but are often considered as trusted ‘friends’.
They deliver the news with authority and authenticity, whether it’s good news or bad, momentous or mundane.
But who are considered the ‘greats’ of news presenting? Radio Today has consulted with industry leaders to determine who makes the grade.
First, we look to the past to acknowledge the news-reading trailblazers.
They are in no particular order:
Steve Liebmann: In a career spanning almost 50 years, Liebmann spent time at 2XL, 2CA, 2UE and 2SM before making the move into TV, where he would help launch the Today Show in 1981, before switching to Channel Ten in 1987.
David White: In a class of his own, ‘Whitey’ established himself at 2SM before becoming the ‘voice’ of 2MMM in the halcyon days of the 80s and 90s.
He read breakfast news for Doug Mulray and was the master of the MMM ‘rockumentaries’. Whitey also read breakfast news for Wendy Harmer and The Morning Crew on 2DayFM.
Alison Drower: Alison has had a career the envy of many. Along with Richard Wilkins, she was the face of MTV Australia and read breakfast news on 2MMM for Doug Mulray.
Ali has been head of Regional News (Radio & TV) for SCA for a number of years.
Rod Tiley: After almost 40 years on air in Queensland, the late and great “Mr T” was ‘the voice’ of Brisbane at 4MMM and 4BC.
In 2011, Tiley joined Radio 6PR Perth before retiring as station news director in 2014. After a nine-month battle with cancer, Rod passed away in 2016.
Colin Denovan: For 23 years, Denovan read news on the ABC in Melbourne before taking a redundancy in 2015.
But that’s only half his story. Before moving to the national broadcaster, Denovan was also News Director at 3XY, 3DB and FOX FM.
Carrie Bickmore and Georgie Gardner: Both women have had quite similar careers, establishing radio careers before making the move into TV.
Bickmore started in Perth before reading drive and breakfast news on Nova 100. It led to a stint on Rove Live and The Project.
Also from Perth, Gardner got her start in radio at 2NX before moving to 2DayFM, where she read drive news for three years until 1997.
Radio newsman Frank Avis is cited by many journalists as an inspiration in their own careers. Frank’s career spanned 42-years and included time in Melbourne, Perth and at 2MMM and 2Day Fm.
Kristy Warner made an impact during her time at Nova 919, winning numerous ACRAs for her news reading for ‘Merrick and Rosso’. The AFTRS graduate spent time in Pasadena, California but is now back home in Sydney.
John Logan was considered one of the most recognisable voices on the ABC in Sydney with a career spanning 40 years.
Logan retired in 2016 after beginning his radio life as an announcer in 1973 at the ABC in Rockhampton, Queensland.
The late Jim Angel is considered by many as one of the best news readers Australian radio has produced. During his 40 years, he presented news on Sydney radio stations 2SM, 2UE, 2GB and 2CH,
He retired in 2001 and passed away in 2007.
Former 4MMM journalist and newsreader Robyn Ironside was a mainstay on the FM dial before crossing over the ABC in Brisbane.
She’s now the aviation writer for The Australian.
No list of past ‘great readers’ would be complete without mention of Brian White. Commercial radio’s first cadet journalist, he was at 2SM in the 70s, appointed 3AW general manager in 1981 and 2UE in the 80s.
The Brian White Award is presented annually by Commercial Radio Australia for excellence in journalism.
There are many, many more newsreaders who’ve made their mark on the industry. Leave your suggestions in the comments.
Stay tuned to Radio Today next week when we name the present day ‘greats’ from AM and FM.