Revealed: The 25 most creative people in Australian radio for 2019

Who are the most creative people in Australian radio today? We all love a list so I’ve decided to have a crack at it.

I’ve worked with hundreds of talented creative people in my 20+ years in radio and it really is hard to isolate the absolute cream of the crop.

Firstly, how do you define ‘creativity’? In the context of radio I go for people who bring original and bold thinking. They have the proven creative attributes of curiosity and confidence – and they do it consistently.

To make it fair, I’ve removed on-air personalities from the list (sorry to them!). The main reason is this. How could you pick who is more creative out of Chrissie Swan and Kate Langbroek for example? Or Kyle Sandilands and Mick Molloy? Hamish or Andy? And if I did include people who are currently on-air, they’d dominate a large part of the list, which would then make it a very different kind of exercise.

This list is my attempt to put together an all-star team. The first 25 or so people I’d pick to work on a new station launch or a difficult client brief. The 25 people I could imagine myself saying ‘hey – I really want your brilliant brain on this’. The 25 who are going to be original and diverse in their thinking and not get lost in groupthink.

Another thing to note is there are many brilliant creatives who are no longer working in Australian radio. They are either overseas (mostly in New Zealand it seems), or have recently left radio altogether and are pursuing other careers.

My eligibility criteria is simple – being employed in Australian commercial radio in an off-air capacity at the time of making the list. That’s it.

If you’re not on it, I apologise. Of course, it has no real bearing on your creative ability. I firmly believe everyone is creative and radio is blessed with many people who bring it daily. If I had a list of 100 names I could have filled it easily.

There are also brilliantly talented people who are simply amazing at getting other people’s ideas executed. They aren’t on this list but they are critical to the creative process otherwise nothing would ever get made. This list contains the original idea generators, the sparks, the crazy, and the brave.

Lists exist to stir up debate but I also wanted to give some brilliant people a small spot in the sunshine. No doubt your own list would be different – but this is mine.

Adam Williscroft – Head of Digital Content, SCA

I love Adam’s understated way of thinking. He connects the big picture with the execution and without dominating the conversation. He champions the braver idea, the one that gets street talk and is underrated in his creative contribution to radio.

Adrian Brine – Head of Talent Development, SCA

He thinks big without being brash. The least ego in any creative mind I’ve ever met. Helps other people make their ideas better before developing his own. Adrian gets excited to hear ideas executed and underrates his own creative ability which in itself is immense. A rare mix.

Andy Mathers – General Manager – K Rock & Bay FM Geelong, Grant Broadcasters

You might be surprised to see a GM in this list, but a more creative GM you won’t find. His early foray into radio as a Copywriter, Account Manager and Sales Manager helped develop his secret weapon – his sense of humour. Blend that with passion and empathy and Andy is the GM you want running your station if you’re in a creative role.

Ben Ryan – Production Manager Brisbane, NOVA Entertainment

His mind is from another planet. He comes at challenges in ways that excite and delight you. I love how Ben goes about his work with little fuss. He’s reliable and always gives you a more creative result than you could ever have asked for.

Brett Nossiter – Content Director – iHeart Radio, ARN

Nozz is absurd in a brilliant way. When they were handing out cans of energy, Brett swallowed the vending machine. His ability to visualise ideas and make them happen means you get the most original solutions no matter what the format.

Cam Marlowe – Creative Director Adelaide, SCA

Cam is so quick it’s hard to keep up. Part Ricky Gervais, part Robin Williams – Cam can take idea generation to places that make you laugh, make you think and most of all leave you impressed.

Corey Layton – Head of Commercial Product and Audio Partnerships, ARN

I love Corey’s combination of heart, head and hip pocket. The most commercially creative guy who treats every challenge with equal respect: from a breakfast show to a difficult client brief. If I could clone him I would.

Craig Hutchinson – CEO, Crocmedia

Known for his on-air work, Hutchy is a CEO by title and therefore qualifies for the list. Ask anyone in his team and they’ll describe him as an idea-generating machine. Someone is so clearly progressed into a solution by the sheer volume and speed in which he operates. His early days as radio producer have never left him and the energy he brings to everything he does is worth it’s weight in gold.

Emma Barbato – Digital Marketing Specialist, Central Coast, SCA

A livewire solution finder, Emma wears her creativity on her sleeve. Brilliant at articulating the problem, diverging her thinking and bringing people along on for the ride. She is the personification of a creative spark.

Greg Jennings – Head of Creative, SEN, Crocmedia

Greg has found a sweet spot. His strong bent for satire and simplicity means he cleverly creates concepts that cut through in a really entertaining way. Greg is underrated as a performer of his own ideas, and as well as voiceover work he should really be hosting a sports show bursting with stuff that makes you think and laugh.

Harriet Power – Head of Promotions Hit Network, SCA

Haz blends experience with original thinking. She will deliver quality over quantity and is someone you can trust to answer any creative challenge. If creativity was an exam, she’d study harder than anyone else and would get the high distinction to prove it.

Irene Hulme – Head of Music Hit Network, SCA

An idea-generating machine, Irene picks up on the smallest vibes and makes them huge. Credited as the brains behind R n’B Fridays, she listens and talks with equal passion. Always wanting something more, she challenges you to come up with better while setting a high bar herself.

Kate Murphy – Director of Commercial Strategy, NOVA Entertainment

Kate’s no BS approach is critical to cutting to the chase while having fun along the way. A true believer in the power of creative solutions, she instinctively gets how an idea moves from conception through the development process. The person you want in the room to help ensure original ideas will actually make sense.

Kirsten Franc – Head of Brand Asset Management, SCA

You could easily mistake Kirsten as being an implementation guru (which she is). But it is her fearless approach to any strategic problem that means she always thinks outside the box to find brilliant solutions. Creative thinkers don’t just appear to the world as the crazy and zany types. Kirsten’s ability to conceptualise solutions in ways that are so obvious in retrospect that make it look easy, does not recognise the intelligence she brings to the creative thinking process.

Lara McLaren – Talent Integration Manager, SCA

One of the great radio all-rounders, Lara’s background as a Show Producer and Promotions Manager means she thinks about the idea from all angles. A head full of ideas, and carrying a scrapbook full of business opportunities, Lara knows about the entertainment value of showbiz and it shows.

Lisa Levesque – Head of Strategic Insights, SCA

Lisa is a creative hidden inside a strategic mind. In another life she would be a fashion designer, artist or club DJ. In this life, she is the person who looks at a problem from all angles and can visualise what everyone who interacts with the eventual solution will think. Her originality and data smarts set her apart from the pack.

Leanne Gibb – Head of Marketing, NOVA Entertainment

Passionate and persuasive, Leanne never gives up. She loves a challenge and will pursue great ideas when others have moved on. Her creativity is best demonstrated by her understanding of non-radio brands and how they behave, allowing her thinking for the medium she loves to be spot on every time.

Luke Parsons – Head of The Studio, SCA

An emotionally-driven deep thinker, Luke brings curiosity and compassion to the creative process. He thinks originally because he looks consistently outside of radio for inspiration. If you want an example of how to create by constantly learning, Luke is it.

Matt Dower – Kennedy/Molloy Audio Producer, SCA

Matt is universally loved for his work in the production studio but his creative teamwork is what sets him apart. A brilliant collaborator, he’s called on by those who are the most creative in the business to bounce off and make something better. He’s the ultimate creative wingman.

Matt Dickson – Head of Creativity, The Studio at SCA

Dicko is one of the best writers around. He can distil thoughts into words that grab attention and can make you laugh at the same time. A real magic pudding when it comes to giving you more and more and more ideas.

Mike Fitzpatrick – Head of Content – Triple M Network, SCA

Fitzy is one of the most dangerous creative brains – willing to take risks, willing to push boundaries, willing to cop criticism. He’ll fight for the right idea and will recognise how to take a concept further than you thought possible.

Ronnie Stanton – Group Program Director Queensland, Grant Broadcasters

Cheeky and larger than life – Ronnie has developed his quick-fire wit on-air, into a rapid idea-generating powerhouse off-air. During the creative process, he keeps you entertained so much that it enhances the enjoyment and thinking of everyone involved.

Sam Cavanagh – Creative Director – Audio on Demand, SCA

His time away from radio will stand him in huge stead as he returns to the mothership. There’s not a lot you can say about Sam that hasn’t already been said, but I’ll add this. He doesn’t give up the fight for the right idea. He’s patient with the process while maintaining the passion required to get it off the ground. It’s ‘team’ first with Sam and he walks the talk.

Sideshow (Mike Andersen) – Head of Production, Triple M Network, SCA

Universally loved, Sidey’s gift is to consistently breathe new oxygen into the lungs of a product. He could be producing Triple M imaging for the next 20 years and it would be as fresh and funny and clever from the day he first got on the tools. A classic case of ‘give him the brief and let him go’, Sidey delivers and delivers and delivers and delivers.

Will Allen – Head of TV Sales, SCA

Totally underused in the creative process, Will thinks as well as he sells. Smart, curious and funny – he’s a powerful combination to use internally to generate ideas or to put in front of a client. Would have been a brilliant Content Director if he chose that path. A great dreamer and believer.

*Note – My Brother-in-law John Curran (Creative Director, Adelaide, Nova Entertainment), and best mate Scott Menz (Assistant Program Director, Triple M Brisbane) are certainties for my list but to avoid favouritism – I’ve left them off and instead sent flowers.

Wade Kingsley is the Founder of The Ideas Business ( ). Wade works as a creative consultant for media companies in Australia, New Zealand, UK, Canada and the USA. He runs ideation workshops and coaches people to help them unlock their natural creative abilities. His white paper ‘Brainstorming is Bullshit’ is available for download from The Ideas Business website.

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Recent comments (22)
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14 Aug 2019 - 1:19 pm

He does a very good Nikki Webster circa-2013 impersonation too – just ask him

Terry Webb
14 Aug 2019 - 1:20 pm

Some powerhouse names there! Well done, Wade (ps I love the white paper).

14 Aug 2019 - 2:10 pm

So there are no creative people at Macquarie? Are they not number one in the biggest two markets in Australia? AM radio relies on creative people to get revenue through the door

14 Aug 2019 - 2:26 pm

Is this #SponCon ?

The headline of this article needs to be changed to:
Revealed: The 25 most creative people in Australian radio for 2019 according to Wade Kingsley

14 Aug 2019 - 2:31 pm

Andy Mathers is a bloody legendary inclusion on this list. He’s one of the greatest.

14 Aug 2019 - 3:01 pm

Good list of his mates nice.

paul edwards
14 Aug 2019 - 4:51 pm

No representation from Sales? Some of the most original, cutsomer driven, on brief, fresh ideas come from AMs and managers brains. And then they sell em and make sure they happen as promised and work. Next time maybe have a chat to the sales teams and see where some of the real good radio stuff comes from. I reckon you’ll normally find every station has a solid creative driver in their midst that gets this mad medium….

14 Aug 2019 - 5:24 pm

Another list, another waste of 3 mins reading for me.
nothing personal but why would this guy get to pick the most creative people in radio… he hasn’t worked in radio for a while!
His company only gets 16 likes on social media posts…. me thinks he is the one who needs to be more creative!

14 Aug 2019 - 8:33 pm

Good advertisement

Courtney Carthy
14 Aug 2019 - 10:33 pm

No one from ABC or SBS? SCA is well represented here

15 Aug 2019 - 8:51 am

This is a list of people Wade Kingsley has worked with (for real – they’re 99% just former colleagues).

Surely a list like this should be put together by multiple people and not a guy who hasn’t worked in radio for ages?

Wade Fan
15 Aug 2019 - 9:01 am

A silly list from someone who isn’t a powerhouse in the medium.

15 Aug 2019 - 10:31 am

Is radio today really this desperate for content ?

The Underdog
15 Aug 2019 - 12:37 pm

Carting and Traffic Department miss out.

On the List
15 Aug 2019 - 3:09 pm

Funny how many people don’t read Radio Today (apparently) but still manage to be outraged about a list that they supposedly don’t care about or think has any credibility.

If you don’t like it, be like Wade and make your own list. Perhaps a list of the top 20 lists you don’t like?

Yes, I’m on the list (so naturally think it’s pretty accurate) and have eaten up every single comment below. Nah, I don’t read Radio Today either.

Wade Kingsley
15 Aug 2019 - 4:19 pm

Just to respond to some of the comments so far:

Yes it clearly is a list according to me. Clearly says so.

Yes I have worked in the same company with many of these people (but not directly with all and they aren’t all mates).

Yes there is sales and GM/CEO representation on there (3 names).

Yes it is just commercial radio. Clearly says so.

Yes I haven’t worked in radio full-time for 2 years, but did for the previous 20 and currently consult to Australian radio stations amongst others.

Yes there are creative people at Macquarie, just not in my list.

Yes I am proud to stand up for what I think. Always have. Doesn’t mean I’m right. Just means it’s what I believe.

And yes you are free to put together your own list after building up the credibility across your career to have an industry site deem it worthy of publishing it.

Maybe not such a great idea?
16 Aug 2019 - 1:50 pm

How do you measure ‘creativity’. It’s like saying someone is ‘smart’. It’s subjective. This is so self-serving and unhelpful to an industry that should be empowering all of its workforce to be ‘creative’ in context of their role.

Not Paul Edwards
16 Aug 2019 - 9:30 pm

Out of interest, who in Sales would you add to the list Paul Edwards?

16 Aug 2019 - 9:39 pm

Wade, you could have just called this list something like ‘25 people whose creativity inspires me’ or ‘25 creative people who are driving radio forward’.

But you called it The 25 most creative… which gives the impression that you feel you have the credibility to judge every person in this entire industry’s creativity …and rank them.

Wade Kingsley
18 Aug 2019 - 5:44 pm

Jimmy, that’s a fair comment and I take that on board for sure. I guess I would simply respond that to me they are the most creative at this point in time and as I pointed out in the article it doesn’t mean others are not. I could have had a list of 100 or more. RadioToday has previously published lists with ‘Most’ as the topic on all manner of criteria. I think you might have felt differently if it wasn’t me writing the article, and that’s fair if that’s what you believe. But I also know that it shouldn’t take away from the people on the list receiving external recognition.

20 Aug 2019 - 9:42 am

Thanks wade. I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the people on the list and their creativity is definitely not in doubt. They fully deserve the recognition. Just poor choice on the headline.

20 Aug 2019 - 11:12 pm

So no one at the entire ABC?


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