4 weeks of ACRA’s Finalists Fever 2013 #6

Staff Writer

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.

Just like we did last year, over the next month, Radio Today will shine a spotlight on the best of the best.

4 weeks of ACRA's Finalists Fever – counting down the days to the big event on October 12 by profiling the finalists across all categories. You can get involved by emailing us here.

In #6 we feature a finalist for Best Newcomer On-Air, a 2UE news presenter, and one of the two SCA EP's nominated this year.


Power FM, Muswellbrook NSW, Grant Broadcasters

Firstly, interesting profile pic there Dane.

The bathroom selfie was a challenge from my work mates on whether I’d send it in or not, I sent it, so I’m considering the bet being won.

You should now get double 'coz it's been published 😉 Give us a quick snapshot of your radio background.

I was lucky enough to get a start on the street team at Nova 106.9 in Brisbane after attending their “casting couch” auditions. I was there for over two years and I learned the art of handing out icy cold cans of coke, panelling and announcing. From there I headed to Rok FM in Parkes and then here to 98.1 Power FM in Muswellbrook where I’m Breakfast announcer and MD.

Please outline your ACRA’s entry

I got the best worst bits that made up a minute and put them together. I wear my heart on my sleeve and I enjoy telling stories, that’s where most of the show comes from.
or hear it here

What’s the best part of your job ?

I just love it.

I love the fact you’re this voice that most people want to be friends with or have a beer with, they want to be part of the show when they realise they’ve been in the same situation as you.

I love the fact you can help the community.

I love getting up every morning and realising I’m in people’s cars, kitchens, bedrooms and I get to be part of their day and they’re definitely part of mine.  It’s surreal sometimes.

What are your key achievements over the past 12 months ?

Always improving and learning, both personally and as a show. Whilst I’m doing that, I think I’m achieving in this industry. Also this nomination, it’s nice to think that people out there actually think I’m ok at what I do.

You can’t make a speech on the night but you can here. So let’s pretend you won…. what would you say ?

I’d have to thank Sean Ryan, Dee Curtis and Seth Clancy for taking the chance on an unknown skinny kid who juggled and ate an apple at the same time all those years ago at the Sit Down Comedy Club in Brisbane. Also Jay Walkerden, Ryan Rathbone and Brendon Dangar, they have all helped, supported and taught me lots and continue to be fantastic mentors.



Fifi & Jules / The Hamish & Andy Show, Today Network, Southern Cross Austereo

Give us a quick snapshot of your radio background

I bluffed my way into radio as an Online Project Manager (at Nova) with no online experience. Once management caught on that I didn’t know the difference between a .gif and a .tif, I was moved into the Integration department where I actually knew what I was doing. A year or two later, I realised that Producing is where my heart lay so without much thought, I accepted the role of Producer of Fifi and Jules / Hamish and Andy on the Today Network. In the two and a half years I’ve been in the team, I’ve been promoted to Senior Producer and just recently Executive Producer focusing purely on Fifi and Jules.

Please outline your ACRA’s entry

Fifi + Jules are never happy with a quiet day. It’s a show that requires dynamic, next level content and it’s my job to feed the beast.

Some of the big noisemakers I have produced over the judging period include;

  1. 10 Black Out Challenges – With their senses blocked off, Fifi and/or Jules are placed in precarious situations. Once their blindfold and ear plugs are removed, they must react to whatever scenario they find themselves in. Situations have included Fifi being forced to give a stranger a tattoo, Jules performing as an NBL cheerleader to 10,000 people, and together on stage at the Australia’s Got Talent singing a duet.
  2. Taking the team to London to broadcast live during the London Olympic Games – which included 3 London themed Black Out Challenges in 3 days.
  3. The biggest stars – Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Will Ferrell to name a few
  4. Swap My Car – The guys swapped a listeners old bomb for a brand new Suzuki. Over 10,000 Aussies printed off an image from the Fifi & Jules website, stuck it on their car, and waited to see if their car would be swapped. When Fifi + Jules followed a young Mum and swapped her car during her gym work out they created some truly memorable content that changed a person’s life.


What’s the best part of your job?

The people. I need creative, funny people around me to perform in this job. I get to be myself (which is often a little wrong) with a bunch of quirky people who are often stranger than me. And for this, I am grateful. Plus I get to produce cool stuff like surprising Turia Pitt with a performance by her favourite artist, Xavier Rudd – see here. It’s not all Cat Chat and Kardashian updates.

What are your key achievements over the past 12 months?

(see ACRA’s entry above)

You can’t make a speech on the night but you can here. So let’s pretend you won…what would you say?

I’d channel Miley Cyrus and twerk against the podium with my tongue out, licking my ACRA. Way more memorable than a speech.



2UE, Sydney NSW, Fairfax Radio Network


Give us a quick snapshot of your radio background

  • Started as an Office Boy at 2GB 40-years ago!
  • First "on air" position: trainee announcer/cadet journalist, 2ST Nowra 1973-75
  • 2SM Sydney 1975-1982: "On the road" reporter for Steve Liebmann, Brian White & John Tingle, before replacing Liebmann presenting Breakfast News when he moved into television in 1981.
  • Won my first News Presenter Award that year [1981] – and won Number 16 last year [2012].
  • FOX-FM Melbourne Current Affairs Director 1982: Presenting Breakfast News and Morning Editorials.
  • 2WS Western Sydney 1983-1998: Presenting Breakfast News; called historic America's Cup win live from Newport September '83; covered Olympic Games in Seoul 1988, Barcelona 1992 and Atlanta 1996. News Director 1989-1998.
  • 2UE News 1998-present: Presenting Breakfast News; covered First Anniversary of 9/11 in New York September 2002.


What’s the best part of your job ?

It's always been telling the stories [not just reading the words] using radio as the "theatre of the mind".

What are your key achievements over the past 12 months ?

Maintaining a strong, authoritative news delivery and keeping the passion after so many years.

You can’t make a speech on the night but you can here. So let’s pretend you won…. what would you say ?

Despite having won before, it's always an absolute honour to be recognised by your peers. To be awarded for something you love doing is simply amazing – and helps remove some of the pain of a pre-dawn wake-up every weekday morning!!


See all the ACRA's fever so far (and 2012's) here.

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 Halesy here.

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