4 weeks of ACRA’s Finalists Fever 2012 #8

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 #8 we spotlight a Best Newcomer Off-Air, Simon Valentine from Star 104.5 and 2 nominee's for Best Music Personality, one Country and one Metro.


Gold 104.3, Melbourne VIC, Australian Radio Network

Give us a quick snapshot of your radio background.

This is my 12th nomination in this category, so my fingers are crossed!

I started on-air as a teenager at Melbourne's number one station 3XY going to school during the day and did mid-dawns each night, and weekend breakfast. Many people think I won the job, I didn't. I won a Junior DJ Contest; a 1 hour spot on 3XY. PD Greg Smith liked it, and offered me a trial job. After a year or so I decided I needed to get more experience and left heading to 3WM and then Radio 10 Brisbane, all the while I kept working at XY on holidays and weekends. I eventually went back to 3XY, then on to EON FM, 3MMM, KZFM and now Gold 104.3.

I've also done 'working holidays' at 3SH, 2XL, 6SE Radio 747, 3CV, 7QT, and a few others!

As well as currently doing 'mornings' on Gold 104.3 Melbourne, I have also been the 'arvos' jock on Cruise 1323 Adelaide for the past 7 years.

Describe your ACRA entry…

It's just normal me, an everyday bloke. We are a family friendly station so it's non-offensive, it hits the demo, it's got a bit of fun, a bit of music, and a genuine caller. It's 90 seconds of the 67,680 I've been on-air over the past 12 months.

What’s the best part of your job ?

I get to play music for a living. My job is everyone elses leisure activity. I love all sorts of music, not just the stuff I play. My iPod is very eclectic. I love current music as well as the great classic hits we play. I'm into Good Charlotte, Maroon 5, Panic!, Carly Rae Jepson, Wiz Khalifa, as well as The Eagles, The Sweet, Fleetwood Mac and so on… you get the idea.

Meeting stars, getting free movie tickets, and wearing concert T-Shirts and runners to work is a bonus too!

What are your key achievements over the past 12 months ?

I was part of an Aussie Rules Premiership team, I've always played footy.

On the radio front I guess it's an achievment in itself to be nominated two years in a row as Best Music Presenter. I try to imagine I'm hearing each song I play for the first time, even though it may be the 1000th. I consider GOLD104.3 a current contemporary station playing great songs. Over the past year it's also been great to have several No. 1 FM figures for my show, although I concentrate mainly on the demo.

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…

Radio's changed a lot over the years I've been in it. Listeners aren't content with just winning a new record, they need a car, or a house, or $100,000, but the thing that hasn't changed is the passion of the real radio guys, the ones who love the music, want to create great content, get annoyed when a fraction of dead-air happens, and get really excited when the perfect segue comes off. I can hear those passionate guys when I listen around.

Some I've worked with like Greg Evans, Lee Simon, Kevin Hillier and Chris Le Mesurier, some I haven't like Rod Maldon and Phil O'Neil, but along the way I've tried to draw inspiration from those guys, back then and still today.

First and foremost I want to thank Greg Smith who inspired me and hired me as a kid, in fact the first teenager he'd ever taken a punt on, I hope I've made him proud.

Peter Sinclair who created Gold 104.3 and believed in me even though I was playing songs I didn't know. Mr. "Less Is More". He was a great PD that Classic Hits radio in Australia owes so much to.

Thanks of course to ARN, and finally, besides my family which is a given, thanks to all the people in Programming for keeping it challenging, enjoyable and great to be part of and to listen to from one end of the dial to the other.



Coast FM, Warrnambool VIC, ACE Radio Broadcasters

Tell us about your background...

Background? There isn't one! I haven't been doing this long enough to have a radio background. Two years ago I took a course in circus skills until it transpired that I had none. So I chose radio instead. It's a great refuge for articulate bogans like me… 

What is the secret to being a great music presenter?

A deep contralto voice (if you're a woman) and indomitable good spirits (if you're a man). I have neither, so if I win an ACRA there really should be an enquiry.

In all seriousness, I've always had a love of singularity, so I rate music presenters who don't soldier in blind lockstep. Any presenter who can think differently, use language creatively, and singe me with the force of their personality gets my vote. It's how you pimp the ride. Don't be afraid to say "gainsay" if you mean "deny" – it's 1894 people!

I recently heard Greg James (BBC Radio 1) talking about some piddling domestic problem he had – it could have been 20 seconds of pedestrian guff – but instead it was brilliant, because he threw in this strategic pause and suddenly it felt like he'd given me an inscrutable wink. Just lovely.

Your speech, if you were able to make one…

I'm absolutely rubbish at public displays of gratitude, so I'll stick with apologies:

To my dad – sorry for calling you a "crusty old crumpet" on air

To my program director – sorry for penetrating you (with a look of unbridled hatred)

To my general manager – sorry for missing several days work through misadventure

To my work colleagues – sorry for that time my mood was up and down like a whore's drawers

To Radio Today – sorry for abusing this platform


Star FM, Central Coast NSW, dmg radio australia

Here's his ACRA's entry…
https://radiotoday.com.au/music/Simon Valentine ACRA Entry.mp3
or hear it here

Tell us about your background…

I started out in Bendigo in community Radio by doing odd production work and trying to sound funny on-air, before picking up a brief casual spot at ABC Central Victoria as a Producer.

I moved to Dubbo in ‘09 for my first commercial gig as Production manager at 2DU/ZooFM, and then moved 12 months later to Production at Star 104.5, where I’ve been ever since.

What’s the best part of your job?

I’ve been lucky to have been able to travel and see some great places, while working with some great people and making some excellent content. I’ve also been lucky enough to have not had to listen to One Direction.

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…

Basically I’d like to thank my Mum and Dad for supporting me (both morally and financially), everyone at Radio KLFM in Bendigo (never forget your roots), Jonathan Ridnell and all at ABC in Bendigo, EJ, Muz, Ken and all at 2DU/ZooFM in Dubbo, and everyone I have worked with at Star 104.5 both currently and in the past – you know who you are! I feel pretty lucky to have come this far, and I look forward to seeing where the future takes me – allons-y! (Sorry – Dr Who fan.)


Today Network, Sydney NSW, Southern Cross Austereo


Tell us about your background…

Joined Austereo (now SCA) in August 2010, worked as an Account Manager within the Sydney Agency Sales (Metro Radio) team, promoted to Group Sales Manager role within Local Sales team in May 2012.

What is your off-air role ?

Group Sales Manager, Local Sales, Sydney

What’s the best part of your job?

Definitely the incredible people I get to work with across the entire company at all levels and areas. Southern Cross Austereo pride themselves on recruiting and retaining the best, and in my experience within the company I truly believe this is the case. I get to work with some incredibly talented people (both off & on-air) who also have such an energy and positive can-do approach to almost any challenge. I simply love the joint because of the people.

Tell us about the multimedia nomination. What was involved and how did it play out on air / off air ?

'Sol Beer Summer Sessions' involved Radio, Activations and Social Media.

Radio: Involved the a heavy commercial schedule across the country on Today Network driving entrants to win 1 of 100 tickets to each of the 3 Sol Summer Sessions in Sydney, Melbourne & Brisbane.

Activations: Major international and/or national acts performed at each of the 3 ‘Summer Sessions’, including Jason Derulo (Sydney), These Kids Wear Crowns (Brisbane), Stan Walker and Jess Mauboy (Melbourne), these summer sessions had over 200 people attend as a massive summer party in each of the 3 markets.

At each Sol Summer Session, the Hot 30 would broadcast live for 3 hours directly from the party across the Metro & Regional Today Network delivering massive reach over 3 separate weeks & events across the country (true brand & content integration).

Social Media: Most significantly, from a media-first perspective – all guests received a wrist band containing Radio Frequency identification technology (RFID) that when tapped against a small device on designated party photographers’ hips their photo would be instantly uploaded to the party-goers’ facebook wall with a branded ‘Sol Beer’ frame around the image capturing the person ‘tagged’ in the photo taken moments beforehand at the Sol Summer Session.

How this worked was guests would receive the wristband as they arrived, and were asked to participate by discreetly entering their facebook login details into an Ipad at the door to link it to their wristband.

These branded party snaps would then appear in the news feeds of the part goers’ friends over the next 24 hours, giving Sol a massive amount of ‘guerrilla-like’ social media activity around each of the 3 Sol Summer Sessions over the campaign period, creating spikes of activity on facebook around each party.

This brought the Sol Summer Session vibe to life around the entire country via the metro & regional Today network live broadcasts, plus the money can't buy 3 massive activations and finally a gigantic amount of social media presence via the RFiD wristbands.

Your Best Newcomer Off-Air speech ?

I’d have to first thank my girlfriend, Shannon for supporting me with everything I take on and her patience with the very little spare time we often have together due to my sport and work commitments.

My family – Mum, dad and brother – very similar to the family out of The Castle in regards to their unconditional support!

My peers, as already mentioned SCA have exceptional people in all areas of the business who make my life a truckload easier every single day in almost every single way.

My managers (while an Account Manager), Carla Vella & Jimmy Hopkins (both GSM’s Agency team) for their support, confidence in my work and investment into my development while I was within the Agency team and helping prepare me for a leadership role.

Finally, Nick Randall (Sydney Director of Sales) for a huge amount of personal and professional support during my time so far in the company. Nick is incredibly generous with his time and energy and, again, I am extremely grateful for his direct investment into my development.

Your speech for the Multimedia Execution award ?

This idea was truly a team effort and the result of a number of different people’s input, key people to mention are;

  • Mary Waite – Aegis Media, for her faith in the concept and trust!
  • Kylie Morgan – Brand Manager, Woolworths Liquor, also for her faith and investment in the concept!
  • Jay Morgan –  digital guru @ Austereo, for the actual RFiD idea
  • Centryc Solutions – The 3rd party provider of the RFiD technology and implementation (case study can be found here)
  • James Hopkins – Support and leadership in developing the concept
  • Sophie Johnson – Developing our response and appropriate quotes
  • Ros Evans & Josh Wilkinson – Exception Campaign Management
  • Claire Murphy & Georgina Kennedy – for their incredible implementation work on the campaign over the 3 actual events
  • The Hot 30 broadcast team
  • The activation team in Sydney, Melbourne & Brisbane who made each of the parties awesome listeners experiences
  • Grant Tothill and the Flying EMU team for sourcing the talent to perform at each of the parties

PLUS many, many others across the SCA team!


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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