Kyle & Jackie O overtake Alan Jones in Radio Today’s annual list: The 50 Most Influential People in Australian Radio 2017

Staff Writer

Alan Jones, the undisputed ratings leader of talkback radio, is no longer the highest ranking on-air talent in Radio Today’s annual list of the 50 Most Influential People in Australian Radio.

That coveted position, at No. 10 overall this year, now belongs to Kyle and Jackie O. “I can’t claim any credit for the show, obviously, but no one’s creating content like it,” explains ARN’s national content director, Duncan Campbell. “It stands out,” he added.

“There’s also, of course, the powerful factor of habitual listening. It’s become such a habit that it’s really hard to break. I mean, some of the content is just exceptional,” Campbell told Radio Today following last week’s post-survey chat.

The top 50 includes on-air talent, management, senior executives, directors, programmers, and moguls who have influenced the airwaves, and the business of radio, in 2017.

These are the men and women who help shape the fortunes of the Australian radio industry and wield considerable influence over listeners, advertisers, and their respective companies.

The market size, reach of stations and networks have been taken into account. As have the longevity, ratings success, revenue, profitability, each person’s profile and their overall influence within the media industry.

In compiling the list, Radio Today also looked at each station’s format to gauge market competitiveness – this remains a major factor in determining the final result, months in the making.

Notable departures in some of the top jobs has left room for a major reshuffling and new faces this year; a new highest-ranked woman in NOVA Entertainment’s Cath O’Connor at No. 4, and one very familiar programming executive, Southern Cross Austereo’s Guy Dobson, has climbed six spots to No. 14.

There are 12 brand new entries this year, too: John Kelly (SCA), Rob Atkinson (ARN), Sam Pang (Nova), Ollie Wards (triple j), Jay Walkerden (Nova), Charlie Fox (WSFM and The Edge), Adrian Brine (Fox FM), Jamie Angel (Triple M), Peter Clay (Nova 96.9 and smoothfm), Irene Hulme (Hit Network), Rex Morris (Triple M) and Fitzy & Wippa (Nova).

Numbers appearing beside each name indicates the change compared to last year (positive for moving higher up the list, negative for dropping).

Every name listed plays a key role in the industry. They set the standards and help shape and influence Australian culture through the powerful medium of radio.

Numbers don’t lie. Here are 2017’s 50 Most Influential People in Australian Radio:

1. Mitch Fifield – Minister of Communications (no change)

Along with PM Malcolm Turnbull will likely oversee some significant changes to the radio landscape through media law changes in the future.

2. Lachlan Murdoch – Executive Chairman / Owner, Nova Entertainment (no change)

Watching over the Nova and Smooth networks, the media heir and businessman is also Executive Co-Chairman of News Corp.

3. Grant Blackley – CEO / Managing Director, SCA (no change)

The former CEO of the Ten network has been in the role for just over two years now. Oversees the fortunes of Australia’s biggest radio group.

4. Cath O’Connor – CEO, Nova Entertainment (+3)

The longest serving and most successful CEO of any metro radio group, O’Connor has been at the helm of Nova/DMG for nearly a decade.

5. Ciaran Davis – CEO Here There and Everywhere (HT&E) (-1)

Formally known as APN owners of ARN radio group. He is recognised as the key man behind ARN’s turnaround in recent years.

6. Michelle Guthrie – Managing Director, ABC (-1)

Guthrie commenced the role in May 2016 following Mark Scott’s depature. The ABC has the biggest radio market share in Australia (includes Radio National, triple j, Classic FM, News Radio and Local Radio).

7. Russell Tate – Chairman, MMN (+3)

At the helm of the merged Macquarie Radio / Fairfax radio group which includes stations 2GB, 2UE, 3AW, 2CH and Magic, the largest commercial talk radio network in Australia.

8. Siobhan McKenna – Managing Partner, Lachlan Murdoch’s Illyria (+6)

A key part of Lachlan Murdoch’s management team, which owns Nova Entertainment’s Nova and Smooth networks.

9. Michael Mason – Director, ABC Radio (+3)

Oversees all ABC radio around Australia, he has more than 25 years experience in commercial and public radio and television. A former group program director of the ABC.

10. Kyle & Jackie O – Breakfast Announcers, KIIS 106.5 (-1)

The most successful breakfast duo in Australian FM radio history. They top the Sydney FM breakfast ratings at ARN’s KIIS. They are responsible for turning around the fortunes of KIIS Sydney.

11. Alan Jones – Announcer, 2GB (-5)

One of Australia’s highest rating and highest profile breakfast announcers and is one of the most influential personalities in Australian radio.

12. Ross Stevenson & John Burns – Breakfast Announcers, 3AW (-4)

Top rating Breakfast announcers of MRG’s 3AW who have lead Melbourne’s breakfast ratings since 2001 now with over 20% ratings share.

13. John Kelly – COO, SCA (new)

Appointed to the role in November 2015, Kelly is charged with crafting and leading the strategic direction of SCA. Previously, Kelly was CFO of the FFA, raising the profile of football in the country. 

14. Guy Dobson – Group Creative Director, SCA (+6)

Has held the roles of program director and executive director, recently moving into a newly created role at SCA.

15. Eddie McGuire – Breakfast Announcer, Triple M (no change)

The key driver of Triple M Melbourne ratings success as a co-host of the Hot Breakfast show with Luke Darcy and a soon-to-be-named replacement for Mick Molloy.

16. Adam Lang – Chief Operating Officer, Macquarie Media (+18)

Including 2GB, 3AW and 2UE, Adam oversees one of the biggest line-ups of talk radio talent in the country.

17. Hamish & Andy – Drive Announcers, SCA Hit Network (no change)

The national drive duo on the Hit network, Blake and Lee teamed up back in 2003 and have announced their retirement from radio at the end of 2017.

18. Paul Jackson – Group Program Director, Nova Entertainment (+8)

Oversees the content of the Nova and Smooth brands. Was previously at Global Radio and Virgin Radio.

19. Kate, Tim and Marty – Drive Announcers, Nova (no change)

Nova’s top rating show lead by Marty Sheargold with Tim Blackwell and Kate Ritchie. The show has now been with this line-up for three and a half years. Currently the highest rating drive show nationally. 

20. Duncan Campbell – Group Content Director, ARN (-2)

Under Campbell’s leadership, ARN has achieved #1 FM stations in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. Has been overseeing content at ARN for the past seven years.

21. Joan Warner – CEO, Commercial Radio Australia (+11)

Head of the national industry body representing Australia’s commercial radio broadcasters.

 One of the most influential women in the radio industry.


22. Mike Fitzpatrick – Content Director, SCA Triple M (no change)

Fitzpatrick is behind the success of the Triple M network’s success in recent years. Has been in the role for 3 years now.

23. Gemma Fordham – Content Director, Hit Network (+4)

Looks after 2Day FM, Fox and the Hit network programming. A former EP, Fordham has only been at the helm for just under two years and was previously group content director at NZME.

24. Ray Hadley – Morning Announcer, 2GB (+1)

Top rating morning announcer currently with the highest rating morning show in Sydney. He is a 26-time ACRA winner and has received another five nominations for this year’s awards.

25. Fitzy & Wippa – Breakfast Announcers, Nova (new entry)

Nova’s high rating breakfast duo. They have now been spearheading Nova’s success since banding together in 2011.

26. Rob Atkinson – CEO, ARN (new entry)

A new entry, Atkinson was previously at Adshel and Clear Channel UK. Appointed to the role in April this year, Atkinson originally joined Clear Channel as sales director.

27. Hughesy and Kate – Drive Announcers, KIIS (-6)

Formerly at Nova100 Breakfast and now highly successful and top rating at ARN. Hughesy and Kate do national drive on the KIIS network.

28. Mick Molloy – Breakfast Announcer, Triple M (-4)

Co-host of the top rating Hot Breakfast with Eddie McGuire and Luke Darcy on Triple M Melbourne. Recently announced as host of Triple M national drive with Jane Kennedy.

29. Michael Harvey – COO and CFO, ARN (+7)

Harvey was previously CFO at ARN and has been a Director of Commercial Radio Australia.

30. Neil Mitchell – Morning Announcer, 3AW (+10)

Leads Melbourne morning ratings and is an inductee into the Australian Commercial Radio Hall of Fame.

31. Jonesy & Amanda – Breakfast Announcers, WSFM (-8)

Top rating WSFM Breakfast hosts Amanda Keller and Brendan Jones. Have been at or near the top of the ratings in breakfast in Sydney for over a decade.

32. Dave Cameron – General Manager, SCA Melbourne (-4)

Dave was previously head of national content and was the content director behind Fox FM’s success.

33. FiFi Box – Breakfast Host, Fox FM (+10)

Top-rating Fox breakfast host for SCA in Melbourne. A prominent woman on Australian airwaves and former member of The Shebang.

34. Derek Bargwanna – Content Director, KIIS (-3)

Heads up the programming of ARN’s KIIS Sydney and KIIS Melbourne.

35. Chrissie Swan and Sam Pang – Breakfast Announcers, Nova (+10, new entry respectively)

Nova 100’s top rating breakfast show featuring Chrissie Swan, Sam Pang, and former AFL footballer Jonathan Brown, along with radio royalty Tony Martin.

36. Chris Scaddan – Head of Music, ABC (-20)

At triple j since 2003, first as program director and as manager since 2010. Led the triple j team in the launch of its second radio station, triple j Unearthed.

37. Ollie Wards – National Content Director, triple j (new entry)

Oversees the content on national broadcaster triple j, which has enjoyed strong ratings throughout the year.

(Photo: Mediaweek)

38. Jeremy Millar – Head of Radio Strategy and Transformation, ABC (-9)

Instrumental in changing how the business of ABC Radio is conducted in order to help cope with continuous change in the market environment. Formerly at ARN as as group program director.

39. John Singleton – Shareholder of Macquarie Radio Network (-2)

Singleton is a major shareholder of the merged entity, which controls the leading commercial talk radio stations in Australia.

40. Janet Cameron / Alison, Grant & Dugald Cameron – Grant Broadcasters (-5)

Regional radio pioneers, Grant operates more than 50 regional radio stations across Australia and the Radio Sales Network.

41. Kevin Blyton – Managing Director, Capital Radio Group (-2)

Inductee into the Australian Commercial Radio Hall of Fame. Capital owns and operates regional radio stations across NSW, WA and Victoria.

42. Mickey Maher – Group Regional Content Director, SCA (no change)

He has the responsibility for the content of over 70 regional radio stations around Australia.

43. Jay Walkerden – General Manager & PD, Nova Brisbane / Head of Nova Podcast (new entry) 

Has been based in Brisbane since 2011 when he was appointed as program director. His arrival coincided with the return of Ash, Kip and Luttsy to the breakfast slot.

44 (tied). Fran Kelly – Announcer, ABC (-6)

Host of radio national’s Breakfast show, Kelly is a leading journalist and political correspondent.

44 (tied). Jon Faine – Announcer, ABC (-6)

Top rating morning host on 774 ABC Melbourne. Was previously voted as one of the Top 50 most influential members of the Jewish community.

45. Sam Thompson – Melbourne Group Content Director, ARN (-12)

Looks after the programming of leading FM station GOLD Melbourne.

46. Rick Lenarcic – Head of Regional Media, SCA (-5)

Lenarcic oversees more than 70 regional radio stations, 30 TV markets and 1,300 employees under his current position. Was formerly regional general manager at SCA.

47 (tied). Charlie Fox – Content Director, WSFM and The Edge (new entry)

Helped get WSFM into the #1 FM station in Sydney in the latest survey and has stabilised the ARN station following some rollercoaster ratings.  

47 (tied). Jamie Angel – Content Director, Triple M Sydney (new entry)

The Triple M Sydney Content Director and former jock joined SCA in November 1989. He was part of 2Day FM Sydney when the station took out Triple M for the first time in the 90’s. He made the switch from the network’s CHR station to its rock network in 2009.

48 (tied). Adrian Brine – Content Director, Fox FM (new entry)

The Fox FM Melbourne Content Director oversees Melbourne’s #1 FM breakfast show, Fifi, Dave, Fev & Byron. He’s previously held roles within the Hit Network at Hit105 Brisbane and Hit107 Adelaide, and joined SCA from Grant Broadcasters.

48 (tied). Peter Clay – Head of Programming, Nova 96.9 and smoothfm network (new entry)

Worked on the creation of smoothfm in 2012 and has taken the station to #1 FM in Melbourne.

49 (tied). Bill Caralis – Owner Super Radio Network (no change)

One of the largest privately held radio networks with 36 stations across NSW and a number of digital stations in Sydney. Notoriously hard to get a photo of.

49 (tied). Rowly Paterson – Chairman & Owner, ACE (+1)

With Geoff Handbury selling his stake in ACE, Paterson (pictured left) went from executive director to now chairman and owner. The Victorian-based broadcaster now operates a total of 17 regional stations (eight FM, nine AM) in New South Wales and Victoria.

50 (tied). Irene Hulme – Head of Music & Entertainment Partnerships, Hit Network (new entry)

She was instrumental in the launch of the Hit brand, particularly Adelaide’s Hit 107. Behind the creation of Hits and Old Skool as well as RnB Fridays.

50 (tied). Rex Morris – Head of Music Operations, Triple M Network (new entry)

Owner and Director of Resonate Broadcasting which owns stations in Australia and Hawaii. Former content director at B105, Fox FM, MMM Melbourne and MMM Brisbane.

50 (tied). Rohan Brown – Program Director, Nova 100 Melbourne (new entry)

He has been in the chair and responsible for one of radio’s best ratings turnarounds in some time. Nova with the Chrissie, Sam and Browny breakfast show has become a Melbourne ratings leader under his direction.

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Recent comments (11)
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6 Sep 2017 - 7:17 am

Good to see the FM guys ahead of the AM’ers. The FM radio market is much more competitive than AM. In Sydney and Melbourne there is only 2GB and 3AW or the ABC. Now that 2UE is effectively gone awol there’s no competition on AM.

6 Sep 2017 - 10:04 am

Far too few women on your list. So disappointing to see in 2017.

6 Sep 2017 - 12:47 pm

Agree! It’s 2017 and so many talented women in the radio industry, still we have so few on this list.

6 Sep 2017 - 1:07 pm

Rex Morris brings the talent and music MMM listeners want

Triple Your Music
6 Sep 2017 - 4:54 pm

Sirie- Does Triple M play music anymore?

6 Sep 2017 - 5:52 pm

I agree with Lee’s comment that 2UE is gone. Pity! But Sydney is fortunate to have 2SM as a commercial alternative to 2GB. It chooses not to participate in the ratings but seems to be doing OK.
Why is it that after 37 years of commercial FM radio we have never had an FM talk station? It’s certainly not because unlimited music on umpteen stations is that good. It’s simply cheap to produce.
When will an FM station challenge the conservative and shock jock rubbish put out by 2GB and 3AW?
Let’s have some new younger presenters … and some fresh views!

6 Sep 2017 - 6:45 pm

What happened to your top women in radio list ! Women need the promotion not men we have plenty of those knuckleheads already.

The Wolf
7 Sep 2017 - 8:34 am

Are you kidding…FM was developed because they could”nt compete against AM…when has Kyle and Jackie ever put the fear into a Govt….load of crapp….which fast food outlet was this Survey done at.

7 Sep 2017 - 11:02 am

Still love Jonesy that’s Brendan not Alan.

Jason Wallman
8 Sep 2017 - 4:10 pm

Mickey Maher, how does that happen, influential in wrecking radio stations? He was absolutely hopeless in Perth and Brisbane. Unreal…

9 Sep 2017 - 10:55 am

Gee there’s a lot of whiny women here. The list represents the 50 most influential PEOPLE in radio. You can’t just add more women to the list because you feel like it. I think it’s a pretty accurate representation of influence in our industry as it stands anyway.


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