4 weeks of ACRA’s Finalists Fever 2012 #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.

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

See all the ACRA's fever so far here

Today in #6 we spotlight a Perth Engineer, an Agency Sales star, Brisbane Nova's Jay Walkerden and Best Music Presenter Finalist, Tim Lee.


Fox FM, Melbourne VIC, Southern Cross Austereo

Give us a quick snapshot of your radio background

Lost 92.9’s “Search For A Radio Star” competition in 2002, but was able to get casual work driving around the promotional Roadrunners (poorly and without pay). Panelled the night show for a couple of months after a full day working my ‘real’ job in a record store. Gained enough experience to (sub-parly) host the night shift following line up changes. Perth networked “Lowie’s Hot 30” which gave me the opportunity to do breakfast audio production for 3 months. Not wanting to completely lose on air shifts, I pulled a Saturday shift and co-hosted the “Rivervale Sunday Session” – Yup, 7 days a week for 3 months.

Left Perth for the big smoke but upon completing the Nullarbour trip, rocked up at Fox FM and found out my contact had left for another Melbourne radio station: F*&K! The depression being an industry outsider was nothing compared to the loathing of being a door-to-door electricity package salesman.

Finally picked up some Fox panelling gigs which slowly became casual weekend on air shifts. Was asked to audition for the Hot 30 Countdown following Craig Lowe’s sudden desire to “travel and develop his television projects…”.

The years of 2007 – 2010 are a bit of a blur; Hid prizes in an obese woman, broke the news of Michael Jackson’s death, broadcast from the Playboy Mansion, picked fights with several bands including Avril Lavigne’s ex-fiancés’ Sum 41, hosted a nude spa with Short Stack, etc, etc.

Feeling a combination of homesick and sick of talking to a younger demo, I was fortunate to score a day shift on The Fox*. Since mid-2010 I’ve immersed myself in programming/content, learnt how to effectively tailor client solutions and tried to not talk as much on air as I did on the Hot 30.

* since sending us this, Tim has resigned from his Fox arvo's gig (see here)

Tell us a bit about your ACRA entry…

There was little rhyme or reason behind it to be honest! I just cut it in a way that I would enjoy listening to. I once saw (Ricky Gervais?) talking about working in the entertainment industry – The trick to being successful is to be yourself. Don’t sell out and hopefully your style of comedy/acting/singing/etc will connect with someone. If there is a formula to my entires over the last couple of years, it’d be
10% Celebrity
15% Humor
35% Listener
40% Individuality

https://radiotoday.com.au/music/Tim Lee ACRAs.mp3
or hear it here

What’s the best part of your job ?

I was only talking to my ACD (APD) Adrian Brine the other day about this. I love the immediacy of radio; We can reflect someone on air within 30 seconds (2 minutes to have accompanying audio). I love the high pressure environment, the constant feeling of being on knife edge. Whilst the demand for individual client solutions can become over whelming, I live for brainstorms! My favorite kind is the pie-in-sky sales briefs where nothing is off limits – I imagine the buzz from these is similar to that of Disney’s Imagineers who create the theme park attractions.

What are your key achievements over the past 12 months ?

For various reasons, I started 2011 with my foot off the gas, which caused tension at work. Rectifying this and repairing relationships is what I’m most proud of the last 12 months.

I’ve enjoyed airchecking younger jocks whenever possible plus have got quite a buzz from hearing some of my style replicated and interpreted around the country. Not for one second am I taking credit for others’ hard, innovative work, but over the last 5+ years the business of day jocking became incredibly streamlined. I think SCA empowering the likes of myself and (I don’t want to mention anyone because if I forget names there’ll be hell to pay) with more creative freedom has helped stir the collective juices of the younger jocks << I know, I know: WHAT A WANKER!

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, go for it…

Thank you to everyone who shouldn’t have given me a leg up, a chance, a second go or a third or fourth go! Sure, I get to gaze upon this shinny microphone daily, but isn’t the true reward the smile that you, my friends, have given me? No? Ok, let’s talk after this about setting up a roster system…



Nova 106.9, Brisbane QLD, dmg radio australia

Tell us about your background…

I started my career at 92.9 in Perth in 1993 as a roadrunner (street guy), from there moved into on-air doing everything at 92.9 from mid dawns, mornings, drive and nights. Had a short stint at 96fm doing drive and then anchoring breakfast before moving back to 92.9 to host drive and become APD.

From Perth moved to Fox FM as APD under Brian Ford and that’s what gave me the programming bug.

Moved back to Perth 18 months later to become PD of 92.9.  Spent two years as PD of 92.9 and then moved to 2Day FM as APD under Jamie Angel until I decided to move to the UK and try radio.

Worked as a PD for Global radio for 4 years in the Southeast running a few different format stations. In 2010 moved back to Sydney for a short stint at MCM Media as Group Program Director before taking the PD role with DMG in September last year for Brisbane.

Here is audio from Jay's ACRA's entry…

https://radiotoday.com.au/music/JAY WALKERDEN BEST PROGRAM DIRECTOR 2012.mp3
or hear it here

What's the best part of your job ?

My favourite part of the gig is idea’s. I love working to come up with an idea and then finessing it right through to execution. Great idea’s come from everywhere so it’s not just about my idea’s or the talents, often we get them from the most random of places which can then turn into gold.

The other facet I really enjoy is working with talent. Every one of them is different, every one of them has strengths and weaknesses and our job is to enhance the strengths and try to nullify the weakness’s. Every day really is a blank canvas.

What are your key achievements over the past 12 months ?

I think as a team to get the station back into a lead position in Survey 4 2012 and to hold is something that we are all really proud of, it’s a really competitive market and we don’t ever take anything for granted, you are only as good as your last book.

I’m blessed to have such a strong product team who absolutely get it. We have had some killer moments in breakfast over the past 9 months everything from the national bellyflop championships to our current activity with Ash’s Musical which will see us put on a musical for one of our breakfast members who is celebrating a milestone birthday in front of 500 people (see here). It will either be amazing or a massive flop, either way we will have fun putting it together.

Successfully transitioning a breakfast show to our drive show and then a new breakfast show onto 106.9 without too many hiccups was also a highlight.

Your speech, if you were able to make one…

It would be a short speech cause I’ll be drunk anyway but here goes …. thanks to every single person at Nova 106.9. we have a culture in that building that is the best I have ever been involved in. It gives us the opportunity to create, to learn, to grow, to nurture and most important to have fun. I would also probably thank anyone that I have ever worked closely with as I know I’ve learnt all I know from everyone else cause I’m really not that smart.


ARN National
, Sydney NSW, Australian Radio Network

Give us a quick snapshot of  your radio background ?

I am really one of those annoying people that has been in the industry forever… I started in radio at 15, engrossing myself in the life of the free sausage sizzle with promotions. It was this stage in my life, meeting the same people wanting the same free stuff each weekend, that I knew I would go to broadcasting school to become even more absorbed in the industry.

I welcomed Australia in August 2010 having come from The Radio Network Wellington and the rest is history with ARN.

What’s the best part of your job ?

Very cliché but it is the people – both internally and externally. I love working alongside my agencies to create the best radio concepts for our clients AND get those results.

What are your key achievements over the past 12 months ?

  • Senior Agency Account Director promotion
  • ARN's Account Director of the Year 2011
  • Exceeded all budget targets for the year
  • Innovative integrated campaigns including IGA & 3pm Pick-Up

Your speech, if you were able to make one…

Too many people have helped me get to this moment in my life, but there are a couple of individuals in particular who have had faith in me and encouraged some major change; My main NZ mentor Keith May. Pete Colosimo and Ash Minchin for their encouragement to ‘keep climbing the mountain’.


Mix 94.5, Perth WA, Southern Cross Austereo


Tell us about your background…

My radio background is somewhat short compared to other ACRA finalists. The Trainee Engineer role was my first job in radio and I’ve now been here for three years.

Please outline your ACRA’s entry

In short, I developed and built a ‘Harris 2 Modbus’ device that communicates with a Harris Z FM transmitter (this particular transmitter is very popular not only among Australian broadcasters but worldwide as well).

The device allows the engineering team to analyse the information from the transmitter, meaning faults can be prevented and/or fixed before the station is sent off-air.
It’s especially helpful for regional radio stations, which have limited infrastructure, because it’s cost-effective and it means they can more easily identify the source of a problem.

What’s the best part of your job?

There’s a quote that goes “choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life” and that’s true for me.

The great thing about my job is that I get to tackle a broad range of jobs across the technology department. One day I’ll be up at 2am doing an outside broadcast and the next day I’ll be rewiring a transmitter site.

I love that there’s no strict dress code – as is usually the case with technology jobs – and I get paid while I’m at TAFE studying!

What are your key achievements over the past 12 months ?

My first key achievement of the past 12 months was building and designing the Harris 2 Modbus device, and then implementing it into the Perth market.

My second key achievement saw me join the 92.9 breakfast team on the computer screens of Perth Now and Radio Today readers. In a world radio first, we broadcast the Lisa, Paul & Baz breakfast show live from bicycles as we rode around Perth city and beyond. Our breakfast hosts were wirelessly connected to my bike, which was then connected back to the studio and I was able to mix the audio as we rode.

This OB stunt was part of the annual 92.9 Kids Appeal with Telethon which raised well over $200,000 for Princess Margaret Hospital.

I designed and built the one-off bicycle, which also received international coverage in Radio World and The Mouth magazines in an ad for Comrex.

(See our story on this OB 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, go for it…

I want to thank my technology manager Blake Beale for his ongoing support. I’d also like to thank our national projects engineer Brett Kelly and the rest of the Perth technology team for their endless wisdom, and Southern Cross Austereo for having the program that has allowed me to develop my career as an engineer.

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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