Radio Today’s 40 Most Influential People in Australian Radio in 2019

Staff Writer

Never underestimate the influence you have on others.

Radio’s place in a dynamic media landscape is frequently questioned, but the format remains one of the true survivors when compared to television and print.

The advent of podcasting and the changing ways in which we interact with audio have of course challenged the shape of our industry, and yet, terrestrial radio remains a pillar of power.

And so too do the women and men leading the industry from the inside.

Radio Today’s 40 Most Influential People in Australian Radio in 2019 seeks to hold a mirror to reflect the way radio is evolving, evident by the eight new names who appear for the first time.

This year’s list leans in on the content, marketing and audio side of the radio business.

Only executives working full time within a radio station or network were considered. That also means no on-air talent were included, only executives working behind the scenes.

Major names missing due to their departure from active duty or changes in Radio Today’s criteria include Mitch Fifield, Lachlan Murdoch, Michelle Guthrie, Michael Mason, Rob Atkinson, Peter Bush, Robert Kaye, Russell Tate, Guy Dobson and Ollie Wards.

FM radio dominates the list, mostly due to its competitive format.

There are 14 executives from Southern Cross Austereo, eight from NOVA Entertainment, seven from Australian Radio Network, four from ABC Radio and just one from Macquarie Media.

This is the first edition of Radio Today’s most influential list with a woman in the top spot.

Of the 40 trailblazers listed below, 11 women have been named for their influence (27.5%).

That figure rises from 9/40 or 22.5% in 2018, but is a clear sign that senior representation in the industry has a long way to go.

Australian Radio Network and Macquarie Media are the only two networks with no women in qualifying executive positions.

40 Most Influential People in Australian Radio in 2019

1. Cathy O’Connor – Chief Executive Officer, NOVA Entertainment

2. Ciaran Davis – Chief Executive Officer, Australian Radio Network

3. Grant Blackley – Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director, Southern Cross Austereo

4. Adam Lang – Chief Executive Officer, Macquarie Media

5. Paul Jackson – Group Program Director, NOVA Entertainment

6. Duncan Campbell – Group Content Director, Australian Radio Network

7. Joan Warner – Chief Executive Officer, Commercial Radio Australia

8. Mike Fitzpatrick – Head of Content, Triple M Network (SCA)

9. Ita Buttrose – Chair, Australian Broadcasting Corporation

10. Gemma Fordham – Head of Content, Hit Network (SCA)

11. John Kelly – Chief Operating Officer, Southern Cross Austereo

12. Janet & Alison Cameron – Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Grant Broadcasters

13. David Anderson – Managing Director, Australian Broadcasting Corporation

14. Kevin Blyton – Chair, Capital Radio Group

15. Derek Bargwanna – Head of Content, KIIS Sydney & Melbourne (ARN)

16. Ben Latimer – Program Director, Nova 96.9 & Nova 91.9 (NE)

17. Peter Clay – Head of Programming, Nova 96.9 & smoothfm Network (NE)

18. Irene Hulme – Head of Music, Hit Network (SCA)

19. Mickey Maher – Head of Music, Triple M (SCA)

20. Chris Scaddan – Head of Music, Australian Broadcasting Corporation

21. Jeremy Millar – Strategy & Transformation, Australian Broadcasting Corporation

22. Jay Walkerden – Head of Podcasting & Nova 106.9 Program Director, NOVA Entertainment

23. Brendan Taylor – Group Program Operations Director, NOVA Entertainment

24. Rowly & Judy Paterson – Executive Directors, ACE Radio Network

25. Dave Cameron – General Manager, Southern Cross Austereo Melbourne

26. Grant Tothill – Head of Podcasting, PodcastOne (SCA)

27. Dan Bradley – Content Director, Triple M Melbourne (SCA)

28. Michael Harvey – Chief Operating & Financial Officer, Australian Radio Network

29. Scott Muller – Content Director, WSFM (ARN)

30. Geraint Davies – Chief Operating Officer, iHeartRadio Australia (ARN)

31. Bill Caralis – Managing Director, Super Radio Network

32. Tony Thomas – Chief Marketing and Digital Officer, NOVA Entertainment

33. Anthony Xydis – Chief Marketing Officer, Australian Radio Network

34. Nikki Clarkson – Head of Marketing and Communication, Southern Cross Austereo

35. Mathew Eggleston – Hit Network National Operations Manager, Southern Cross Austereo

36. Jane Elliot – Publicity Director, NOVA Entertainment

37. Adrian Brine – Head of Talent Development Southern Cross Austereo

38. Gary Roberts – Managing Director, 96FM (ARN)

39. Jamie Angel – Content Director, Triple M Sydney (SCA)

40. Amanda Lee – Content Director, Fox FM (SCA)

As always, hit us up in the comments below if you believe we’ve missed anyone.

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Recent comments (20)
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11 Jul 2019 - 11:54 am

Only one Macquarie person even though they have the top rating stations in the biggest two markets? And 14 from SCA?

11 Jul 2019 - 12:13 pm

40 or 42 most influential people?

Olek Fan Club
11 Jul 2019 - 12:49 pm

Where is Josh Olek?

Don’t forget your ABC
11 Jul 2019 - 1:12 pm

Interesting list. For me, Ita Buttrose and David Anderson should be higher. The ABC is by far the most significant radio broadcaster in Australia and as such its leaders should be deemed the most influential.

The ABC has the highest share and broadest reach. Take a look at the most recent metro survey. Adding up ABC Local, Triple J, RN, Classic FM, and Newsradio for the Sydney market gives the ABC a total share of 20.5% – the highest of any group by some margin. Next best is Nova Ent with 17.4% share, then ARN at 16.3%. In Melbourne, ABC is 19.6%, followed by Sthn Cross at 16.5%.

Not to mention the ABC’s over-representation in all regional markets and its dominance of emerging platforms such as digital radio and podcasts.

The ABC is the dominant radio broadcaster in Australia and its leaders deserve to be further up the list.

Ciaran O'Connor
11 Jul 2019 - 4:37 pm

I don’t work for SCA so it’s not a dig at the list, merely an observation.

Grant Blackley has significantly more radio stations within his companies portfolio. Surprised to see him land at number 3 behind the other metro only radio CEO’s.

Jenny P
11 Jul 2019 - 5:20 pm

Ciaran O’Connor – I’m guessing it’s because the SCA metro business doesn’t perform as well as ARN and NE. And more stations shouldn’t guarantee you a higher position, either.

12 Jul 2019 - 5:50 am

Georgie Page belongs on this list. Under her guidance as the program director of Smooth the stations have been market leaders in Sydney and Melbourne.

I also believe Kate Stevenson from 3AW belongs on the list, as well as the news directors of Macquarie Media in Melbourne and Sydney.

12 Jul 2019 - 6:28 am

Craig Bruce should be in there good podcaster.

Richard B
12 Jul 2019 - 6:31 am

Interesting comments about the CEO’s. You would think with Cathy’s experience and longevity she should be number one. Ciaran also has been around for a long time now while Grant is relatively new to the business. ABC’s CEO should be ahead of both he has the biggest reach of all.

12 Jul 2019 - 6:33 am

That’s a stellar top ten but you are being two kind to numbers 9 & 10. One is new to the role the other has had limited success. Are they just there because they are women ?

12 Jul 2019 - 6:34 am

Adam Lang great radio man ex Austereo and has Number 1 stations Melbourne and Sydney.

12 Jul 2019 - 6:35 am

Duncan Top ten interesting call.

12 Jul 2019 - 9:10 am

KYLE and Alan Jones have more influence than most of the clowns on this list. Top rating breakfast talent more important that the CEO’s listed here.

12 Jul 2019 - 10:10 am

One sided as usual why have you only talked to Jackson at Nova. I’d like to hear from Gemma on this survey and Mike Fitzpatrick really enjoyed his ratings summary last book sounds like he knows what he’s talking about.

12 Jul 2019 - 2:00 pm

How does Adam Lang make that list? Recent developments would suggest he is not even the most influential person at Macquarie.

He could not influence Chris Smith to go on nights. He couldn’t influence him to resign quietly. His superiors were called in to negotiate the retention of Jones.

Wow, hardly the 4th most influential in radio

12 Jul 2019 - 2:06 pm

11 women out of 40 the radio industry should be bloody ashamed of itself honestly. Appalling. Fat old white men leading the way as always. After all this time. That is so depressing.

12 Jul 2019 - 3:12 pm

Georgie Page should absolutely be on this list, she is the Program Director of the very successful smoothfm. Hello #1 FM station in Sydney?

14 Jul 2019 - 12:17 am

This is just a list of the 40 execs in radio. Nothing to see here.

Neil McKenna
15 Jul 2019 - 8:10 pm

I would put Peter Costello in Adam Lang’s place. After all he told Russell Tate to re-sign Alan Jones and then the Chris Smith debacle and the bottom of the barrel MSN. Influential … I don’t think so !

23 Dec 2019 - 12:49 pm

Dave Cameron at SCA just shot up into 5th place.


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