4 weeks of ACRA’s Finalists Fever 2012 #2

Staff Writer

Earlier this week we kicked off Radio Today's 4 weeks of ACRA's Finalists Fever – profiling finalists across all categories.

See all the ACRA's fever here

There are thousands of hard-working, dedicated and amazingly creative people throughout the radio industry – and every year a small fraction of those people make the short list as a finalist in the ACRA's.

The Radio Today team think it's about time to shine a brighter spotlight on the best of the best.

Today in #2 we spotlight Kyle & Jackie O's EP, Gemma O'Neil, one of the commercial campaigns up for an award, Adelaide GM Sean O'Brien and Triple M's Spoonman.

SPOONMAN (Brian Carlton)

Triple M, Sydney NSW, Southern Cross Austereo

Give us a quick snapshot of your radio background…

I started at 2UE in Jan 1984, moving fairly quickly into breakfast and nights producing roles, before joining the weekday on-air line up in 1990 as the youngest ever metro talk show host in Australia, age 27, covering events such as the Gulf War.

In 1994 I left 2UE to become the Corporate Media Manager at Energy Australia (while still hosting shows at both 2UE and 2GB), before being poached back to radio full-time at 2GB in 1996 as EP of the Drive Show.

By 1997 I was promoted to 2GB Program Director, a position I left after doubling the ratings, to take up an offer to fulfil a dream – host the first generic talk show on Australian FM radio as The Spoonman on the TripleM national network (SMBA) in 1999.

A change of format and target demos at TripleM saw me accept the PD role at Radiowise in 2000, then back at 2GB as Drive EP in 2001 – later to EP the Chris Smith afternoon show, taking it from #9 to #1, while hosting a Sunday news show Inside Story that scored an ACRA finalist nomination in 2003 for the Brian White Memorial Award for my news breaking coverage of the Bali Bombings.

Guy Dobson then did something extraordinary in 2005 and re-hired me to re-boot The Spoonman late night talk show until the end of 2008, seeing the show score the #1 News and Politics podcast for some months, and the show itself hit #1 FM at various times in each market.

In early 2009 (in the wake of the GFC) I was flipped to EP TripleM’s then ailing breakfast show, then later, reading news across the TripleM workday and presenting two rants each hour.

A year later Jamie Angel flipped me into the Grill Team as news and views guy plus ranting my editorials across the workday at 10am, Midday and 2pm, as well as extensively covering major news events like the 2011 Queensland floods and broadcasting live on the TripleM national network from Cairns in the middle of the fury of category 5 Cyclone Yasi.

Tell us about your 2 entries

It’s one of those rants that scored the finalist nomination for Best Current Affairs Presenter – I’m told it is the first time an FM station has been nominated in that category.

https://radiotoday.com.au/music/Acra Entry 2012 Best Current Affairs Commentator Spoonman.mp3
or hear it here

The other nomination stems from a Grill Team news bulletin covering the devastating western Sydney floods.

https://radiotoday.com.au/music/SPOONY ACRA ENTRY.mp3
or hear it here

You can’t make a speech on the night but let’s pretend you’ve won, here’s a chance to have your moment in the spotlight (don’t forget to thank anyone)….go for it…. 

I’d like to thank the legendary John Brennan for giving a young guy a go in the biggest radio market in the country, plus the brave execs at Southern Cross Austereo many years later for daring to have such an argumentative, opinionated piece of cutlery in their broadcast drawer – and for leaving me alone to do my thing.

And after 29 years in Australian commercial metro radio, I’d like to acknowledge all those who boldly claimed in the early days I had no future in the industry – you were my inspiration.


Fiveaa, Adelaide SA, dmg radio australia

Tell us about your background…

My radio background started way back in 1991 when I worked for TransAust Media Sales. I sold advertising for the Talk Australia Network and the HOT FM network as well as a number of regional stations throughout the country.

My main media career has been in television with Channel 9 until 2 years ago when the opportunity to join dmg Adelaide became available.

What are the 3 things you’re most proud of about your station ?

1.       Working with amazing staff who are engaged and committed to delivering the very best product to our listeners and our customers.

2.       Combining the back end operations of FIVEaa and Nova 919 where possible to deliver a more efficient business model

3.       The continued dominance of FIVEaa as the #1 station 10+ and the strength of Nova as the dominant station for the Under 40’s

Your speech, if you were able to make one…

Thanks so much for this great honour, and thanks in particular to Sean Ryan and Gary Roberts who have clearly pulled out of the running to allow me to win!

Seriously though it’s a great honour to be nominated and to be in such great company with Sean and Gary – at least the winner will come from dmg! Nova 1069 and Nova 937 have had fantastic years so I’m certainly the underdog.


'Do You Like To Coco ?'
Star FM, Central Coast NSW, dmg radio australia


Tell us about your background…

20 years, starting with recording midnight-till-dawn shifts onto VHS at Taree, into commercial production when satellite networking killed the radio star,… dabbled in writing, went to Wollongong to write some more. Did 4 and a bit years back in production, escaped windowless box to write again. Then DMG came calling as they launched a radio station on the NSW Central Coast.

Tell us about the ad campaign you are a finalist for…

New business Coco Banana is a Brazilian themed restaurant, with the campaign designed to build curiosity through teasers and then revealed,…. all spots featured the great voice of Markus Hamilton (the voice did more for the ads than the scripts in my opinion).

The results have been outstanding with the client being booked out months in advance.

https://radiotoday.com.au/music/Coco Banana GOS12595.mp3
or hear it here

https://radiotoday.com.au/music/Coco Banana GOS12596.mp3
or hear it here

Your speech, if you were able to make one…

Has to be the Client Manager, Anthony Zibara for believing in and championing the creative ethos. His efforts in putting the client at ease with something out of the ordinary made it possible.

Thanks to the client, Sam Jammal for his bravery in handing over creative control and I have to thank Mr. Mark Stevens for his guidance and support over many years.


The Kyle & Jackie O Show
2Day FM, Sydney NSW, Southern Cross Austereo

Give us a quick snapshot of your radio background…

My first ever job was at 2Day FM when I was almost 15 years old. I had pestered the radio station to let me do work experience and eventually they gave in, that was when I was 14 and I just hung around!

I worked on the Hot 30 for a while on phones, I then moved on to be the receptionist for a short period of time and then landed the Assistant Producer role for The Morning Crew with Wendy Harmer and Peter Moon. From there I eventually moved up to Executive Producer of the show for several years.

When I was 21 I moved to London for the role of EP for the HeartFM breakfast show with Jono Coleman, we got it to number 1 which was such a great moment. I learnt a lot about both Australian radio and UK radio by that stint in London.

I then took a break from radio and worked with Nicole Kidman for 7 years but have come full circle and spent the last 2 years back at 2Day FM with Kyle and Jack as their EP.

What is the secret to being the best show producer?

I don’t know if I know the secret to being the best show producer as there are so many talented producers out there, a lot whom I’m friends with and really admire.

I know what works for my producing style and what seems to work for Kyle and Jackie! I have always been a firm believer of not catering your show to reflect things happening in the news – that is how you become like every other show. For me it is about creating the news. Creating moments that become the news to our audience or that other outlets then copy, that way we look like we break news and are not reflecting old news.

I also think having a great relationship with talent is key – I have known Kyle and Jackie professionally and personally for over 12 years now which means they have a lot of trust in me. If you can build up a relationship with your talent where they trust you I think it gives you so much scope to push boundaries and do great things.

People in the industry think Kyle is hard but truly I love working with him – if I word things right with him I could get him to agree to jumping out of a plane in a chicken outfit – it’s about developing that unique working relationship. I also listen to my talent, they are the best at what they do and as a producer I can tell them what sounds good/bad or what I want to try but they are the ones on the mic and I like knowing what feels comfortable to them – I like to sometimes use knowledge like that to put them in uncomfortable situations as sometimes that is where the best stuff comes from.

Lastly, which my team hear me bang on about all the time, it’s about ebbs and flows. In one show I try to plan it so that the listener goes on an emotional rollercoaster – getting opinionated about a phone topic, laughing out loud to a game we play with a celebrity, crying when listening to a Kyle and Jack Give Back, relating to a personal story from Kyle. I try to plan each day with a great variety so we remain fresh.

What has been the highlight of the last 12 months producing Kyle & Jackie O ?

The moment when we gave away the $1 Million was hands down the moment of the year for me. I can remember planning out that show the day before and it never entered my mind that the money would be won – I had planned to the finest detail how we would handle the low moment when the money wouldn’t be won but not the other way! That moment was just priceless – Isabella (our winner) was so deserving and such a great winner and the pure shock of Kyle and Jackie was brilliant. I don’t know how we can top that…but I know we will!

The other great moment was getting Gwyneth Paltrow (Jackie’s idol and someone she has been desperate to interview for 10 years) to call in on her birthday. Jackie had no idea at all. I had been working on it for some time and the only other person I told was Kyle. I was so nervous on the morning, hoping it would all happen as planned and when the studio line rang and I spoke to Gwyneth I can’t tell you how relieved I was! It was such an emotional moment for Jackie that it really came across through the speakers – the listeners seem to really recall this interview for this reason. A lot of our listeners use the saying of ‘a Gwyneth moment’ now when something amazing happens to them, so it’s good it cut through!

You can’t make a speech on the night but let’s pretend you’ve won, here’s a chance to have your moment in the spotlight…

Well obviously a huge thanks to Kyle and Jackie O who are so much fun to work with and who teach me about radio even when I thought I had learnt it all! I have such huge admiration and respect for you both and love working with the industry’s best, its an honour to be part of your team.

Thanks to our Content Director, DB, who lets me do my job without getting involved, the trust is so appreciated. Most importantly though I would like to thank the brilliant producing team I work with every day – Kim, Matt, Pretty, Tim, Chris and Boz – you are the best producers around and you deserve so much recognition, I can’t thank you enough for all your hard work and share this with you as it’s a group effort!


If you're a finalist in Metropolitan, Non-Metropolitan, Provincial or Country drop us a line and we'll shine the spotlight on you.

Email Mark Hales here

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