The 10 Most Powerful Women on Australian FM Radio in 2020
Here are the Top 10 Most Powerful Women on Australian Radio in 2020.
Among Radio Today‘s most popular lists have always been those that celebrate and champion the women of our industry.
These ten remarkable women (and the honourable mentions that follow) have real star power. They are engaging, smart, assertive, driven and brilliant communicators. They deliver the laughs and the ratings five days a week, and are leading the way for other women to succeed in the radio industry.
Radio Today spent considerable time talking to industry experts and factored in the thoughts of leading radio programmers about who they consider being in the Top 10. We also factored in the thoughts of leading radio consultants and took into account market size and the competitive landscape.
There has been some movement on the list compared with 2019’s edition, and a new face in Susie O’Neill, while former Hit Network Drive host Kate Longbroek no longer works in radio full-time, and as a result drops out of the Top 10.
The result is a list of women who are successful, have had great ratings success and longevity, those who have built a strong local and national profile and, most importantly, women who have a strong message.
It is a list of which the industry can be proud:
1. Jackie ‘O’ Henderson – KIIS 106.5
s undoubtedly one of the most high-profile and successful media personalities in Australia, and her Breakfast show with Kyle Sandilands remains dominant among FM brands in Sydney. The pair moved from 2DayFM to KIIS in 2013.
In 2019 her media profile went to new heights as she appeared as a judge on newly minted Ten reality show The Masked Singer, having previously appeared on Big Brother, Popstars, Australian Princess, The Nation, Surprise Gotcha, Robots and Ground Zero.
Henderson started out in radio in regional markets on the Gold Coast and in Canberra. She was later on 2DayFM nights with Sandilands before moving to Breakfast in 2005.
She is well known nationally via the ARN-syndicated Hour of Power and also hosted Take 40 Australia, Hot Hits, The A-List and the Hot 30 Countdown.
2. Chrissie Swan – Nova 100
Chrissie Swan got started in copywriting before appearing on television in 2003 as a contestant on the reality TV series Big Brother, where she was the runner-up.
She landed a start in Breakfast radio in Queensland in late 2003 where she worked at Hot 91.1 with co-host Ronnie Stanton. Swan also worked on-air at Vega and Mix 101.1 (now KIIS).
Swan has hosted the Chrissie, Sam & Browny on Nova 100 with Jonathan Brown and Sam Pang since 2015, and the show hit #1 on FM in Melbourne in 2019.
She also continues to appear on TV. Having been a contestant on I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here!, Swan also serves as a fill-in host on Have You Been Paying Attention?
3. Amanda Keller – WSFM
A triple threat in Australian showbiz, Keller is a journalist, radio presenter and TV personality.
Starting in radio in Bathurst, she did Breakfast with Andrew Denton on Triple M from 1994 and is in her 16th year at WSFM, currently hosting WSFM Breakfast with Brendan Jones.
Keller has plenty of experience on TV too, racking up appearances on Good News Week, Rove Live, The Glass House, 20 to 1, Spicks and Specks, Have You Been Paying Attention?, Show Me the Movie and Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation.
She received a Gold Logie nomination last year for her work on The Living Room and Dancing With The Stars.
4. Carrie Bickmore – Hit Network
Carrie Bickmore has been a staple of Australian radio and TV for over a decade, and is a Gold Logie winner.
She currently co-hosts the Carrie & Tommy Drive show across Southern Cross Austereo’s Hit Network with comedian Tommy Little, while appearing on Ten’s daily light news show The Project.
Bickmore has a journalism degree from Curtin University of Technology, and started her career as a newsreader on 92.9FM Perth. In 2001 she became the Afternoons newsreader for Nova 100 in Melbourne, before landing a gig co-hosting Drive with Andy Ross in 2002.
In 2007, Bickmore was appointed the breakfast newsreader for Hughesy & Kate on Nova 100 Breakfast.
5. Kate Ritchie – Nova Network
Another Gold Logie winner, Kate Ritchie featured on Seven’s iconic soap Home & Away, joining Merrick & Rosso on Nova 96.9 Breakfast in 2007.
Ritchie left Nova in 2009, to return to acting but later came back to radio after the departure of Meshel Laurie.
She has since combined with Marty Sheargold and Tim Blackwell on the hugely successful and national Kate, Tim & Marty Drive show.
Kate, Tim & Marty have enjoyed great ratings success and many industry awards and accolades, including multiple Best On Air (Metro FM) ACRA Awards.
6. Jane Kennedy – Triple M Network
Kennedy is an Australian actress, comedian, radio presenter, and television producer, best known for her work with TV production company Working Dog.
She got her start in radio working as a newsreader on EON FM Melbourne’s The D Generation Breakfast show, before officially joining the cast of the show.
She is now in her third year as the co-host of Triple M National Drive with Mick Molloy.
Kennedy has appeared on The Panel, and is a regular guest and occasional host of Ten’s Have You Been Paying Attention?
7. Abby Burdon – Hit105
Abby Burdon (nee Coleman) first rose to fame by finishing runner-up of the Australian version of The Mole as an 18-year-old, before appearing on the ABC’s Couch Potato and as a fill-in weather presenter on Nine’s Weekend Today.
She began presenting afternoons on SAFM (now Hit107) in 2009, before heading to Sydney as an announcer, filling in as a presenter for The Hot 30 Countdown.
Burdon would then move to Brisbane in 2011 to co-host the Stav, Abby & Matt breakfast show with Stav Davidson and Matty Acton.
The show has spent several surveys as the #1 Breakfast show in the city over that time.
8. Fifi Box – Fox FM
Fifi Box got her radio start in regional markets, including gigs in Port Macquarie, Trarlgon and Warragul, before landing a Late Night gig on Melbourne’s TTFM (now KIIS 101.1).
Box joined Triple M nights, before working on The Shebang from 2003 to 2008. A role as a weather presenter on Sunrise followed, before she returned to radio in 2010 to host the Fifi & Jules National Drive on the Today Network with Jules Lund.
Next up was a co-hosting gig with Dave Thornton in 2014 on Fox FM Breakfast, with Brendan Fevola to join in 2016. The show would go on to regularly hold the title of Melbourne’s #1 FM Breakfast show, with Byron Cooke joining in place of Thornton.
Box is also well known on television, as a contestant on Dancing With The Stars in 2007 and guest appearances, The Project, Thank God You’re Here and Have You Been Paying Attention?
9. Robin Bailey – 97.3FM
Robin Bailey is a stalwart of the Australian media industry with more than 20 years of media experience.
Starting in Sydney as a journalist, she has worked in most metro markets, and recently returned to Brisbane’s 97.3FM as the Robin, Terry & Bob was revamped.
She has also hosted successful shows on Brisbane’s B105 and Triple M Breakfast shows.
Having moved from ARN’s 97.3FM to Triple M in 2017 to join Ed Kavalee and Greg Martin for the Ed, Marto & Robin breakfast show, Bailey was later joined by Lawrence ‘Moonman’ Mooney’, then Nick Cody on the network.
Bailey also appears as a regular guest on the national Nine’s Weekend Today.
10. Susie O’Neil – Nova 106.9
Known initially for her feats of sporting prowess, Susie O’Neill won 35 Australian swimming titles and has the third most Olympic medals.
Her media career began as a commentator at the 2006 Commonwealth Games where she worked for the ABC.
Susie O’Neil is a new edition to the list for 2020, recognised for her work on top rating Nova 106.9 Breakfast show Ash, Kip & Luttsy with Susie O’Neil.
Just outside the top ten are some talented names worth an honourable mention.
Veronica Milson, who has just announced her departure from triple j, PJ Harding from KIIS 101.1 Melbourne, Jodie Oddy from Mix 102.3 Adelaide, Sarah McGilvray from Nova 96.9 Sydney, Nat Locke from Nova Perth, Katie ‘Monty’ Dimond, Laura O’Callaghan from Fresh 92.7 Adelaide, Yumi Stynes from ARN’s 3pm Pick-Up, Lisa and Sarah of Those Two Girls, Former Hit Weekend host Tanya Hennessey, Triple M Brisbane’s Margaux Parker and Triple M Sydney’s Jess Eva.
We look forward to your comments and feedback and mention any names we should be looking out for in the future.