The Top 20 Most Influential Women in Australian Radio 2017
Cath O’Connor has leapfrogged her way to the top spot on Radio Today’s annual list of the 20 Most Influential Women in Australian Radio for 2017.
As the competition gets fiercer, we’ve consolidated the list down from 25 to 20 this year, and this includes key on air talent, management, programmers and owners.
These women influence the airwaves and the business of radio. They contribute to contemporary culture, influence society’s views, standards, and opinions and importantly they help shape the future of the Australian radio industry.
The size and reach of their networks/stations/shows was taken into account. All of the Top 20 women have considerable power with listeners, advertisers and within their companies, some command sizable salaries and most live and breathe the radio business.
There are four brand new entries this year, too: Em Rusciano, Abby Coleman, Amanda Lee, Sarah McGilvray and Bianca Dye.
Numbers appearing beside each name indicates the change compared to last year (positive for moving higher up the list, negative for dropping).
Every name listed plays a key role in the industry. They set the standards and help shape and influence Australian culture through the powerful medium of radio.
If there’s anyone we missed make sure you add their names and your comments below. We welcome your feedback.
1. Cath O’Connor – CEO, Nova Entertainment (+1)
The longest serving and most successful CEO of any metro radio group, O’Connor has been at the helm of Nova/DMG for nearly a decade.
2. Michelle Guthrie – Managing Director, ABC (-1)
Guthrie commenced the role in May 2016 following Mark Scott’s depature. The ABC has the biggest radio market share in Australia (includes Radio National, triple j, Classic FM, News Radio and Local Radio).
3. Siobhan McKenna – Managing Partner, Lachlan Murdoch’s Illyria (+1)
A key part of Lachlan Murdoch’s management team, which owns Nova Entertainment’s Nova and Smooth networks.
4. Jackie O Henderson – Breakfast co-host, KIIS Network (-1)
Part of the most successful breakfast duo in Australian FM radio history. Jackie along with Kyle top the Sydney FM breakfast ratings at ARN’s KIIS. Responsible for the ratings success of KIIS Sydney.
5. Kate Ritchie – Drive co-host, Nova (+8)
Nova’s top rating show Kate Tim and Marty has now been with this line-up for over three years. Currently the highest rating drive show nationally.
6. Joan Warner – CEO, Commercial Radio Australia (no change)
Head of the national industry body representing Australia’s commercial radio broadcasters. One of the most influential women in the radio industry.
7. Gemma Fordham – Content Director, Hit Network (+2)
Looks after 2Day FM, Fox and the Hit network programming. A former EP, Fordham has only been at the helm for just under two years and was previously group content director at NZME.
8. Kate Langbroek – Drive co-host, KIIS Network (+2)
Formerly Nova100 Breakfast and now highly successful and top rating at ARN. Kate and Dave Hughes do national drive on the KIIS network.
9. Amanda Keller – Breakfast co-host, ARN (-4)
Top rating WSFM Breakfast host Amanda Keller has been at or near the top of the ratings in breakfast in Sydney for over a decade.
10. Fifi Box – Breakfast co-host, Hit Network (+1)
Top rating Fox breakfast host for SCA in Melbourne. A former member of The Shebang.
11. Chrissie Swan – Breakfast co-host, Nova (+3)
From Nova 100’s top ratings breakfast show Chrissie, Sam and Browny and radio royalty Tony Martin.
12. Janet Cameron & Alison Cameron – Managing Director & Director respectively, Grant Broadcasters (+3)
Grant Broadcasters are regional radio pioneers, Grants operates more than 50 regional radio stations across Australia.
13 (tied). Robin Bailey – Breakfast co-host, Triple M Network (-5)
Robin previously led the ARN-owned 97.3 breakfast show to ratings victory, but after joining Marto and Ed at Triple M in January this year, she hasn’t looked back.
13 (tied). Fran Kelly – Breakfast host, ABC (+4)
Host of radio national’s Breakfast show, Kelly is a leading journalist and political correspondent.
14 (tied). Sam Thompson – Content Director, ARN Melbourne (-2)
Looks after the programming of leading FM stations Gold 104.3 and KIIS 101.1 Melbourne.
14 (tied). Sarah McGilvray – Program Director of Nova 96.9 and On Air, NOVA Entertainment (new entry)
Is the glue for the Fitzy & Wippa breakfast show, as well as one of Nova’s key programming figures.
15. Irene Hulme –Head of Music & Entertainment Partnerships, Hit Network (+7)
She was instrumental in the launch of the Hit brand, particularly Adelaide’s Hit 107. Behind the creation of Hits and Old Skool as well as RnB Fridays.
16. Meshel Laurie – Breakfast co-host, KIIS Network (+4)
Co-host of KIIS Melbourne breakfast show with Matt Tilley. Was previously on Nova 106.9 with Ash, Kip and Lutsy and Nova national drive with Marty Sheargold and Tim Blackwell.
17 (tied). Cathy Thomas – General Manager, Pacific Star Network (+8)
Oversees operations at 3MP and 1116SEN. Formerly of Southern Cross Austereo.
17 (tied). Amanda Lee – Content Director, SCA Perth (new entry)
Enjoying success with Hit92.9 Perth.
18. Abby Coleman – Breakfast co-host, Hit Network (new entry)
One quarter of Hit105 Brisbane’s breakfast show, working alongside Stav, Matt and Osher. Abby has been at Hit Brisbane since August 2011.
19 (tied). Jo Stanley – Breakfast co-host, ARN (-3)
Works at GOLDFM alongside comedian Anthony ‘Lehmo’ Lehmann.
19 (tied). Erica McGee (née Hodge) – Content Director, SCA (+4)
Content Director for Perth’s Mix 94.5. Previously held roles of Executive Producer and Journalist.
20 (tied). Bianca Dye – Breakfast co-host, ARN (new entry)
A radio veteran, Bianca is new this year to Brisbane’s 97.3 breakfast show with Terry and Bob.
20 (tied). Em Rusciano – Breakfast host, SCA (new entry)
Host of SCA’s flagship Sydney Hit network station 2dayfm. Her new show has now been on air for almost a year now.