ACRAs Finalists Fever – #13

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 ACRAs.

Just like we did last year, over the next few weeks, Radio Today will shine a spotlight on the best of the best.

Today we feature Mena Soliman & Tony Dean, Chelsea Teelow,  Drew Chapman & Aaron Stevens

Let’s Roll Out the Red Carpet….The ACRAs Finalists Fever – counting down the days to the big event on October 10 by profiling the finalists across all categories. You can get involved by emailing us here.



Stiletto Boots; Mena Soliman & Tony Dean, 5RM, Riverland SA, Grant Broadcasters C

Steady on.. one of you already appears to have pulled out a celebratory drink already… your careers so far..

The B52’s and Faith No More were battling it out for top 10 spots on the charts when Tony Dean started in Radio in Ballarat on mid-dawns. To highlight his age Mena was in Grade 4 at the time. Tony has been to the Hunter Valley, the Great Barrier Reef and Bundaberg, BrisVegas with River 949, The Mighty Murray and Houseboat country in the Riverland and now onto the beautiful Sunshine Coast. Tony has been a Breakfast announcer, Sports Presenter, Promotions Manager, Music Director, Network Production Manager, Newsreader and overall general annoyance.   

Mena is new to radio, starting the career in July 2012. After two years of breakfast radio in Echuca (right next door to a great charcoal chicken shop), he traveled to the Riverland to work as a Copywriter/Announcer with The Tone (where the magic happened). In March this year, he moved within the wonderful GB network to 3BA/Power FM Ballarat (where Tony started his career!) to take a Creative Director post.

Tell us about your entry…

The Account Manager, (Go Kristy!), took us to meet the client. As a “hardware/work safety” business, his clients are tradies with a rural background – some tech savvy, some not. With the launch of a new online store, we imagined a scenario where a “tradie tries out technology”. We came up with “Frank” – an old bloke with a smart phone. With Tony’s editing magic, the ad came up perfect – Dave’s competitors would later reference it as a benchmark for their ads and listeners began to “remember Frank”. This gave us the platform to create a series of ads featuring “Frank’s misadventures”. A win/win for the client and us.

Your speech..

I didn’t muck around when Mena came along –strict rules, procedures, deadlines and I said to Mena ‘watch, learn, I’m here for you and I promise you’ll be rewarded’. Thanks Mena for believing and as promised here is the reward. I also have to say a huge thank you to the Riverland crew who, besides being one of the best radio teams in the country, all strive for a common goal – we wouldn’t be here without them. A massive thanks to: Cheryl Lardner, Whitey, Matt Stephens, David Bye and also Peter Upton, on ya Pete, who together combined made Riverland Radio the place it is. A joy to be at.. Also a big thanks to my partner Helen for putting up with me all this time, a job in itself, and to Mena. Well done champ we’ll see you here next year…..

Tony is right – he didn’t muck around, he was strict. So thank you Tony for drilling discipline and the pursuit of perfection into me. A huge thank you to one of the best radio teams in the country who brought the excellence out in us. That’s: Cheryl, Whitey, Pupton, MD, Kristy (the Juice!), Amanda, Matt, Trev, L&T, Alysha (SIA!) & Leanne). My mentor and friend SCM – there for me every step of the way. Also Kira and my parents. (Oh no, the wind-up music, better wrap up!). My brothers Josh and Matt, and all the… 




Chelsea Teelow; hit107 & Triple M, Adelaide SA, Southern Cross Austereo M

Congrats on being a finalist.. whats the best part of your job…

The best part of this job is the people and the businesses/organisations that you help grow. Working in the media industry would be by far the most rewarding industry that I have had the pleasure of working in. Each and every day is different and no client experience is the same. To have the opportunity to become an asset to a client’s business and provide them with a multimedia platform that will reach a large audience can be the most humbling experience – how can you not help but smile and love what you do. It’s funny, because people always say to me you must love being in sales – and I think … Yes but I don’t look at is as sales, I look at it like being part of their marketing team for companies with different products with budgets big and small. Relationships are key to this job and that by far is the best part.

What have you achieved in the last 12 months..

Some key achievements over the past 12 months have included;
• Some key incremental growth on some of my National and Local Direct client (National Crime Check and Southern VW)
• The experience of mentoring some of Adelaide’s newest Account Managers
• Going through the network change from SAFM to hit107
• Direct Sales Person of the year for the 3rd time running
• Maintaining 4 years straight without missing a budget
• And last but not least, being nominated for this ACRA



20 20 Countdown; Drew Chapman & Aaron Stevens, Grant Broadcasters P –

So Aaron… tell us about your career so far..

3 weeks after the ACRAS, I’ll celebrate 25 years in radio – which includes time at around 15 radio stations from Tasmania to Cairns! During that time, I’ve worked full time in copy, sales, promotions and on air in every shift available… and that’s what I love most about Radio – there’s always the chance to use your experience in other areas – someone’s always looking for a new idea and it’s great to be able to contribute!

You’re up for Best Networked Program with your CD Drew Chapman, tell us about the show …

I’ve been producing the 20 20 Retro Countdown for around 2 and a half years, and currently hold the title! (is that the right term?) The music based program is a snap shot of a week in time… the top 20… the tv programs we were watching… the events on the news. It takes a lot of research but it will pay off one day when I win a million dollars on some trivia game show!

Your ACRAs speech.. go..

I’d like to thank my wife for accepting her role as a radio widow… and congrats to everyone who’s won an ACRA, cause it’s those moments when you are recognised for your work that make all the goofing around in the studio seem meaningful.


Are You an ACRAs Finalist?

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 Blair  here.




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