Andy Sichter: 35 Years

Staff Writer

Andy Sichter is SCA’s Localworks Network Music Director. He oversees the music on 30 regional radio stations around Australia. This week he celebrates 35 years in commercial radio. We caught up with Andy for a look back over his career.

Andy Sichter with 4GG's John "Jonesy" Jones - 4GG Jnr DJ Competition 1980Congratulations on 35 years in commercial radio. Where did it all begin for Andy Sichter?

Andy: It really began back in the mid-70’s growing up on the Gold Coast listening to 4GG. There was no internet back then, no iTunes or social media, so listening to the radio at night was pretty much the thing for kids to do. I’d listen every night, to the Top 40 Countdown on the weekends and the request shows. I eventually got to know most of the on-air staff at 4GG and was fortunate enough to be able to hang out in the spare on-air studio a few nights a week to ‘play radio’. Guys like Greg Newman, John Jones, Gary Boughen and Ron Saywell were all willing to indulge my fascination with radio and empowered me with a wealth of knowledge about the business long before I got my first job. In 1979 I entered the first 4GG Junior DJ competition and came runner-up. I entered again the following year and won. From that point my career path was pretty much set in stone. I got my first job at 4KZ in Innisfail at the age of 17.

No doubt you’ve had some great mentors over the years. Who are those you admire most?

Andy: The ones that really stick in my mind are those truly inspirational individuals who drive you to be the best that you can be. Duncan Campbell has certainly been one of those people. I met Duncan when he was PD of PM-FM in Perth. We would often talk about programming, music research and crafting music logs. I remember being in awe of how driven to win Duncan was (& still is!) He’s very passionate about the product and has immaculate attention to detail. Hopefully some of that rubbed off on me!

Rod Brice is another. We, as an industry, owe Rod a great debt of gratitude for lifting the standard of regional radio in this country. He brought us the programming tools we had been sadly lacking, and would often bring some of the country’s best consultants with him on his visits. Having grown up listening to Rod on 4GG, it was pretty special to eventually work for him. It was through Rod that I met Brain Ford. I had the privilege of working under Brian’s direction for quite a few years. I always thought I was a pretty decent MD, but Brian took me to a whole new level.

He was a bit of a task-master, but you would take it all in and go back and do a better job the next day, the day after that and the day after that. He made me the Music Director I am today and for that I’m eternally grateful. Mickey Maher, SCA’s Head of Regional Content, is one of those truly inspirational leaders. He’s a great visionary, very passionate about the product, and is one the hardest working people in the business. He’s made some great changes in the past year alone and again, is one of those people that inspire you to be the best that you can be.

There have been many others along the way that I’ve admired for their passion and knowledge, including Craig Bruce, Eriks Celmins, Dan Bradley, Steve Price (4TO-FM), Daniel Smith and Blair Woodcock. I’ve observed, listened and learned from them all.

The MD’s role is a position you’ve pretty much held for your entire career. It’s obviously a great passion of yours.

Andy: It’s the inspiration to get to work every day! It’s just something I could never let go of. I’ve been fortunate enough to have been MD at every station I’ve ever worked at. It’s always been my strength and my greatest passion. As an MD you’re responsible for a significant slice of your on-air brand. For most music stations, the music can make up around 65% to 70% of the total on-air product. So it’s absolutely essential to nail it. Music is what I do best. It’s where I want be and where I can contribute most to the company.

Do you still set yourself career goals after all these years?

Andy: Absolutely. Without goals in mind there’s always the potential to fall into ‘cruise control mode’. Being content with where you are and what you’re doing is fine, but having a goal in your sights is a great motivator to better yourself and ensure you’re contributing 110% on a daily basis. There’s always a better gig out there, but you’ve got to be pro-active about it. It won’t just be handed to you, you need to earn it!

As someone who’s been in commercial radio now for 35 years, what are your top ‘survival tips’?


*Give 110% every day and love what you do with an absolute passion. If you can’t be passionate about it, it’s not the industry for you.

*Find some great mentors, those who are doing the job you ultimately want to do, and soak up as much knowledge as you can.

*Know your strengths and your weaknesses. Sell your strengths and constantly work to improve your weaknesses.

*Embrace change. Radio is an ever changing landscape and what works today won’t necessarily work tomorrow. Challenge the ‘safe option’. Being a pioneer can be a good thing!

*Surround yourself with positive people who motivate you and drive you to be the best that you can be. Negativity is a killer in this game. Adopt a positive attitude and feed off of like-minded people.

What stations have you worked for?

Andy: In order – 4KZ, 4LG, 4AY, 4TO, 4AY/4RR, 8DN, Radio West, 6GGG, 3CV, 4TO/4TO-FM, DMG Northern Hub, DMG Southern Hub, 4TO-FM, Magic107, 4TO-FM, Mix94.5 and 4TO-FM.

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