4 weeks of ACRA’s Finalists Fever 2012 #9

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 #9 we spotlight 2 digital radio formats, a best music presenter, Ugly Phil talks about his best station produced comedy segment entry and we chat to Fifi & Jules' producer.


The Fifi & Jules Show
Today Network, Melbourne VIC
, 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 what a .gif and a .tif were, I was moved into the Integration department as Project Manager for Ryan, Monty + Wippa, followed by Hughesy + Kate.

A year or two later, I realized 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. I haven’t had a moment to breathe since….


Some of the content I am most proud of producing over the ACRAS judging period include; Fifi’s Bridesmaid Seminar, where Fifi presented to a room full of Bridesmaids on how excel in their role, dropping Fifi’s first car and childhood piano from a crane, swapping Jules’ beloved cat with an imposter, and creating the Greatest Radio Ad Ever Made with the help of Bryce Courtenay, Rob Sitch and the voice over guy from NCIS. Sprinkle that with some of the world’s biggest stars (Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Eminem, Kim Kardashian and Justin Bieber to name a few), and you have yourself a very busy, very fun show.

It has been said that it’s much harder to maintain lead, than build one. Fifi + Jules had massive shoes to fill when they took over the Monday – Thursday Drive shift from Hamish and Andy. Fast forward a year, and they have remained number 1 overall FM Drive slot in both Melbourne and Sydney.



Share %

Gap between F&J and next FM competitor


Melbourne’s Fox FM

Survey 4, 2011



No.1 FM Drive

Sydney’s 2Day FM

Survey 4, 2011



No.1 FM Drive

Brisbane’s B105

Survey 4, 2011



No.1 FM Drive

What’s the best part of your job ?

Each day, I get to be creative, be super organised and run around like a mad woman. But most importantly, I laugh. I work with some of the weirdest, yet funniest personalities and we genuinely enjoy (most of) our days.  We’re thankful we get to create content we’re passionate about each day. However, the very best part of my job is that I never have to wear panty hose to work.

What are your key achievements over the past 12 months ?

  • Was handed the honour of also Producing Hamish and Andy’s Friday’s show. They’re a true delight to work with and I am thankful I have the diversity in my role
  • Promoted to Senior producer after a year in the role
  • Took the team to London for the 2012 Olympics, broadcasting from a studio in Soho for a week. I am still recovering.
  • Helped maintain killer survey results. It’s a team effort but big achievement to know I am part of the success

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’d do a classic Melissa Leo from The Fighter, who collected her Oscar and dropped a huge F Bomb. No one with their finger on the dump button!



Susan Boyle Calls The Hotline
Star FM, Central Coast NSW, dmg radio australia

Tell us about your background...

Most recent career – I did drive in London for Kiss 100 for a year, drive at Nova Syd for 2 years, breakfast at Kerrang 105.2 Birmingham UK for 4 years, breakfast and nights at Triple M Syd for 2 and a half years and am now doing drive at Star Central Coast.

Describe the entry. What was involved and how did it play out on-air ?

The idea behind the bit was putting to the test the theory that if the hotline rings and it's an unscheduled interview with a big guest (a la Susan Boyle), could you get the jock to believe it enough to put it live to air.

Your speech, if you were able to make one…

I'd like to thank Susan Boyle for the access to her cats.


93.5 Star FM, Dubbo NSW, Southern Cross Austereo


Give us a quick snapshot of your radio background

After completing Swinburne Uni’s Graduate Diploma in 2004 (bring it back!!!) my first position was at Power FM Bega, driving the promo car and recording nights for only 2 months. Luckily enough at the end, the Music Director’s gig opened up and for the best part of 8 years I’ve been in Music or Content Directing roles right across the country.

Currently I’m at the end of a 4 month stint as Acting Group CD for SCA’s regional network in WA (Hot FM and RadioWest stations).

What’s the best part of your job?

I listen to music all day, don’t have to wear a suit, and spend my day with creative people. The hallways are a blast, in the studio I can sing and dance. What’s not to love?

What are your key achievements over the past 12 months ?

  • Re-establishing my credentials as a Music Director after 2+ years of work as a country CD
  • Then abandoning MD to successfully take care of the Group CD role; it’s been amazing
  • As part of this, establishing new breakfast shows (duo & solo), watching the talent in the group thrive and get closer to their next big break

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…

There are key people right across anyone’s journey that make a difference for various reasons. Firstly my girlfriend, who became my fiancé, and now my wife of 3 ½ years…she’s put up with me moving to all corners of the nation chasing some sort of radio rainbow – without Alicia’s support I couldn’t keep doing it.

The unsung heroes for me are the guys who allowed me on air at my first station, 98.9 North West FM (3NOW) in Melbourne. The show host before mine on Mondays was a retired teacher named Neil Mitchell, who encouraged me to no end. The more I got involved, the more I knew radio was the field for me. Bob & Jean Rau run that station still to this day and are rays of light.

Too all those who have helped me since then: I still love you!



BEST DIGITAL RADIO FORMAT – LONG TERM (Chemist Warehouse Mix 90's)
ARN Digital Team, Melbourne VIC, Australian Radio Network

Tell us about your background

A career that’s in a funny way taken me round circle – originally worked for Apple and in digital back in the early 2000’s before getting into Engineering and working for Austereo.

AFTRS Radio School in 2003, 2 and a half years in Lithgow doing everything from multiple shifts, programming, production and of course going out to kick start the transmitter (only ever seemed to break on cold winter mornings!).

From Lithgow to Newcastle and 4 years with NXFM/KOFM… before moving back to Sydney to look after Content Operations for the ARN Network.. since then the job has morphed – looking after our Digital Radio stations since the launch in 09 and now as Digital Director look after the content, development and operations for our entire digital/online/social portfolio.

Describe your ACRA’s entry

Two nominations this year – both for our awesome work on Digital Radio…. ACRA 1 for Chemist Warehouse Mix ‘90s, it really is a unique approach we’ve taken to digital radio – Chemist Warehouse have made a great partner and this station with the in store listening traffic of about 250,000 per day really does make it Australia’s most listened to Digital Radio station.

The other nomination is for a favourite of ours – Elf Radio in the new Pop Up station category. We’ve been running Elf Radio since 2009 and it’s one of those stations that for a month is all we get calls about – I’m just wondering how many more versions of Jingle Bells are going to get recorded.

What’s the best part of your job ?

Specifically around digital radio is the flexibility…. Radio’s great at seizing the moment – being able to do it with an entire radio station is just crazy… The thrill is being able to setup from scratch a new radio station on a regular basis – with little to no rules… We’ve got stations that play all the same era, all the same style of music and all the same artist sometimes…. The flexibility digital radio has given us just throws the rule book out – and makes it really exciting to create a new station.

What are your key achievements over the past 12 months?

One thing that ARN is really proud about is how much we’ve pushed the boundaries on Digital Radio – changing the model and moulding it to make digital radio, even in its infancy an attractive proposition to both listeners and clients. Sure it’s different to AM/FM – but the level of innovation we’ve been able to achieve here is something I know has the rest of the industry wishing they came up with. We’ve got a range of stations across formats and styles and we’ll continue to come up with more innovative formats that help make digital radio more appealing for everyone.

Your speech, if you were able to make one…

It’s not so much about thanking anyone – but recognising what’s going on at ARN…. From the top down there’s a real change that’s been going on and it continues now.

Ciaran and the NLT really give us the freedom to push the boundaries on everything we do – to try new things and give it a go…. Elf Radio & Chemist Warehouse Mix ‘90s is just that. We also need to recognise Peter & the team at Quattro and Mario and his teams at Chemist Warehouse – they took a risk with digital radio and something that had never been done before – but after signing for a second year, it’s really shown how successful the idea was and the further potential for Digital Radio at ARN.


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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