4 weeks of ACRA’s Finalists Fever 2012 #3

Staff Writer

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 #3 we spotlight Agency Salesperson Ashley Pope, a Best Newcomer Off-Air finalist, we hear one of the Best Station Produced Comedy Segments, and learn more about dmg's Group MD Toni Pipicelli.


Nova 969, Sydney NSW, dmg radio australia

Give us a quick snapshot of your radio background…

I am a radio nerd, I started as a panel operator at 3MP, putting together the Juke Box Saturday night, moved into Copywriting and announcing at 3GG and 3NE.

Got snapped up at TTFM (now Mix in Melb) working in promotions, running the street team and producing breakfast.

Decided travelling would be fun, got a job in the UK producing the breakfast show in Bristol, it was here I became involved in putting together the local music features and I was hooked!

Came back to Australia and got a job at Nova 969 working as a promotions assistant. I then moved into the role of Assistant music director, working under Dan Bessant. That man taught me so much.

Moved to Nova 100 as Assistant Program Director and was then offered the role of Music Director in Sydney. 10 Months in that role and I became Group Music Director for Nova.

The last 10 years at Nova have just been incredible.

What is the secret to being a great Music Director ?

An understanding that you’re part of a radio programming team and that together you are shaping the sound of your radio station.

Knowledge about every department, and how they work with yours, being aware that Program Directors will change formats and clocks in short amounts of time and you have to be ready to run with it….Of Course then there’s…music passion, music knowledge, knowing what sounds work for your target audience, great relationships with the record companies, being across all social media and not being afraid of hard work!

You are a new Mum, have you tee’d up a babysitter so you can be at the ACRA’s ?

That is the plan!… Daddy is taking care of Cara, so i can enjoy the night and catch up with industry friends..and maybe have a drink or 2 !

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…. 

It would more than likely start with UMM..  this is so Exciting.. I’d like to thank my Parents for never really understanding what it is I do, but ensuring that I was given every opportunity to be amazing in radio and for putting up with my fabulous radio lifestyle.

Jim Barbour, for giving me a spot in the Swinburne Commercial Radio Course and getting me my first commercial radio experience. Grant Johnstone for being the first PD to believe in me. Kristen and Kaz for hiring me at TTFM even though I thought the TT plaque on the boardroom table stood for Take That!

Mark Beever for letting me touch Selector for the first time. Kate Mason for teaching me Selector in her home! Scott Muller for taking a risk and making me AMD at Nova Sydney. Dan Bessant for giving up so many weekends to ensure that I was the best Music Director ever! Shandra Moran for being a true inspiration.

Adam Williscroft for making me work my butt off for the Nova 969 Music Director role, all my radio friends who make each day so much fun and finally Paul Jackson for giving me the opportunity to excel in the awesome role of Group Music Director for Nova.


Nick King
and Lukas Goodenough
Star FM, Dubbo NSW, Southern Cross Austereo

Nick – tell us about your background…

I’d have to have one of the dodgiest “How did you get into radio?” stories getting around. I was between jobs, on the dole and had no idea how to surf, so I need to fill in my spare time. I was at that point where Centrelink started putting the squeeze on me to do some community work and I figure rather than drive the Meals on Wheels van I would look into community radio.

I started checking the mail and opening letters a couple of times a week at Coast FM 963 on The Central Coast and I knew even then, with letter opener in hand, that radio was my calling.

I began filling in on air all over the place and also hosting breakfast one day a week, I kept it up for several years until I was accepted into AFTRS in 2009.

Immediately following AFTRS I took on an announcing and copy role at 2GF in Grafton.

Early 2010 I made the jump to Breakfast Anchor at 93.5 Star FM Dubbo and have been happily waking up early ever since.

Lukas – your background ?

Born a coastie I graduated from AFTRS in 2009 after being a cruiser driver for SeaFM/2GO.

After a stint in Grafton, I was lucky enough to get a breakfast gig with one of my mates from radio school.

Home was beckoning though (or maybe just mums cooking) and I got a gig back on the coast with DMG.

What was your ACRA’s entry…

During the 2011 Rugby World Cup, the mayor of Nelson, New Zealand (nah we hadn’t heard of it either) devised a radical plan to combat the anti Australian sentiment when the Wallabies headed to town to play the All Blacks. He called it Hug An Aussie Day, he invited locals to find an Aussie and hug the guts out of them.

Would it work????? No way!
https://radiotoday.com.au/music/HUG AN AUSSIE DAY.mp3
or hear it here


Time for speeches. Nick – you're up first…

I have to thank my girlfriend because sometimes I get home and forget to turn my smart ass off. It can be hard dating a breakfast announcer because our hours are so irregular and it doesn’t leave much time for “us” on a daily basis.

The team at Coast FM for giving me a go, AFTRS for giving me the knowledge and 93.5 Star FM for giving me the platform.

Notable mentions go to my former co host Lukas Goodenough for putting up with me then and my new co host Kellsey Melhuish for putting up with me now.

The mayor of Nelson for being the butt of my joke and finally the listeners, if you didn’t listen I would still be selling toilets.

Lukas – your turn…

Hmmm, I'd wing it on the night, Bruce Samazan style!! I'd have to thank Nick for being an awesome co-host of the show and my sounding board. My fiancée for putting up with me and my folks… Well, for putting up with me too! A mention would have to go to Mike Christian for pushing me to give AFTRS a go when I thought I wasn't Goodenough (pardon the pun!)


Nova Network, Melbourne VIC, dmg radio australia

Give us a quick snapshot of your radio background…

I fell in love with radio after making a documentary about shock jocks. The doco was intended to shed a light on Australian radio, and it actually opened me up to the power of radio in spreading ideas and creating community involvement.

I then had a brief stint on community radio in Brisbane before making the move to commercial radio in 2011.

I also remember having an insightful moment during one of my first phone shifts at Nova Brisbane. I was working with an on-air announcer, Dan Anstey, while the Brisbane floods were happening and to hear that our flood reports and community engagement were really helping people was an incredibly uplifting feeling.

Since then, radio has been my passion and my life and it's been the ability to combine my filmmaking skills with what I've learnt about the radio industry to help improve the reach and image of our entire network.

What is your off-air role ?
I'm the Visual Producer for the Create & Sales teams, meaning I am involved in developing pitch ideas and creating Video pieces that will help sell those ideas to the client.

Often these videos will involve filming the talent in a new and exciting light, explaining a creative concept or presenting a Post Campaign Report to show the client how amazing their campaign was.

What are 2 of the most memorable pieces you’ve produced in the last 12 months ?
I worked on a Pro-Active campaign for House of Marley, a sustainable, environmentally conscious brand that wanted to market their new line of headphones and boom boxes. Developing the concept directly with Dylan Lewis then implementing green screen techniques to make a visually stunning (and fun) video was eye-opening. And to see Dylan so passionate about what the products stood for and the House of Marley's charity foundation was inspiring. The fact we won a huge pro-active brief out of it almost felt like a bonus on top of the actual process.

The second piece that I remember fondly was a fun internal film clip I made for our Engineers who had written and performed a song called "I Wanna Be An Engineer". I'm still trying to convince them to call themselves the "MENgineers" and go on tour.

Your speech, if you were able to make one…

There's been so many amazing people who have supported me during my short time in radio, but special mention and thanks to Mike Cass who was a huge advocate of my move from Brisbane to Melbourne and referred me for my current job.

Thanks also to Meshel, Tim and Marty who were a huge influence particularly in the early days and continue to be so even now. Thanks to my manager Kate Day, who has been an exceptional leader and a guiding light when sometimes things were looking bleak, and thanks to Wade Kingsley whose creativity and insights have helped me to grow on a personal and professional level.

It also goes without saying that Helen Davies is an incredible person and GM who has supported my professional and creative endeavours while I've been at DMG Melbourne.

Above all though, the man who believed in me from the start and, in a move rarely seen these days gave me a promotion over a beer in a pub, was Sean Ryan. My respect and appreciation for Sean is unparalleled and I really do want to thank him from the bottom of my heart. Thanks Sean!


Regional SCA, Adelaide SA, Southern Cross Austereo


Tell us about your background…

I have being involved with Southern Cross (TV) for nearly five years and on the radio side of our business for approx 3 years. The SA office took over the selling of regional radio back in 2009 and has grown from budget of $458,000 to a budget of over $1.4 Million for 2012-2013.

What’s the best part of your job ?

Definitely working with the clients (agencies), I have built some wonderful relationships over the years. I also take great pride in seeing a successful campaign and sharing in that success with the clients.

What are your key achievements over the past 12 months ?

I look at my achievement to budget as one of my key achievements – it is more special considering the radio side of our business has grown over 300% during the past three years…all this while also working on the TV side of our business! My sales achievement for the award period (was) 150%+ over budget.

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…

Thank you so much, this is an amazing honour …I was so happy just to be nominated this year, just to be here with so many amazing and talented people is wonderful. I will thank just a few people and firstly I must thank my family, especially my wife who is here to share this with me tonight,  thankyou…I must also thank the team at Southern Cross Austereo in Adelaide and a special thanks to my co-ordinator who is obviously not here tonight, but thanks Wayne for all your help.


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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