Disrupt Radio CEO Benjamin Roberts: “The response has been overwhelmingly positive”


“It has to be one of the most exciting station launches in Australia.”

That was the verdict from Disrupt Radio Founder and CEO Benjamin Roberts after its first week on air.

The digital start-up burst out of the blocks, with Libbi Gorr presenting Enterprise Breakfast alongside guest host Sir Bob Geldof, and the legendary George Donikian reading half-hourly news updates.

On a mission to wake up and shake up businesses, it heralded the start of what the station promises to be a ground-breaking, rule defying, perception-challenging format.

Radio Today caught up with Roberts, who says launch week was nothing short of incredible:

“The response has been overwhelmingly positive and the national publicity, largely driven by Sir Bob co-hosting Breakfast with Libbi, was unprecedented.”

“The pairing of Libbi with Bob was magic. A blend of chaos and charisma. Thought-provoking, informative and entertaining.”

Roberts says with her background in law, broadcasting and comedy, Gorr brings a depth of knowledge and sharp wit to the table.

“Bob, on the other hand, was never going to be the typical co-host everyone was expecting and that’s what made it so interesting and addictive to listen to.”

Roberts describes Geldof as a walking encyclopedia.

“For 10 days we experienced Bob the social entrepreneur, musician, activist and disruptive thinker. He arrived in Melbourne armed with program preparation and fully immersed himself in the station.”

“From AI technology, machine learning and mushrooms, space travel and conscious capitalism to green energy, environment, activism and music and entertainment – there was something for everyone.”

Disrupt’s Head of Content Steve Kyte concurs, telling Radio Today “In all my years in media, I have never heard anything quite like it.”

“I needed a lie down and a large glass of red after the week ended.”

Roberts is also full of praise for Disrupt’s news presenters.

“Watching George Donikian and Debbie Disrupt, our beloved AI newsreader, co-operate has warmed our digital hearts.”

There were some initial hiccups – such as when Debbie insisted on pronouncing Melbourne as ‘Mel-born.’

“But George, being the gentleman and consummate professional he is, patiently guided her through the tricky pronunciation of Australian place names and they’ve become quite the dynamic duo,” says Roberts.

“It’s like witnessing an unusual friendship bloom between man and machine, a kind of ‘beauty and the bot’ situation, if you will.”

Roberts says Debbie has been working diligently to improve her diction and her efforts are reaping results.

“We can now proudly say she can pronounce ‘Woolloomooloo’ flawlessly – and if that’s not a sign of progress, we don’t know what is!”

Donikian tells Radio Today he’s loving the experience so far.

“It’s been exhilarating listening to Sir Bob regale us with story after story – both privately and on air – with Libbi Gorr.”

“It’s been a unique experience and opportunity for everyone involved at Disrupt Radio.”

Having flown in to help anchor the first week, Sir Bob makes way for a rotating cast of Breakfast co-hosts.

Roberts says hearing George McEnroe’s comeback through Moolah has been another highlight.

He says there’s also been plenty of interest in the women in business program Entrepreneur Her – hosted by Moana Hope.

“She’s new to radio and an absolute powerhouse.”

Roberts says Startup Nation with Jules Lund is very tech and innovation focused, and feels like it’s always been there.

“Jules is a class act with enormous energy and the show will hopefully become a staple for the Startup community.”

Joey was among the listeners to tune in for the launch and told Radio Today he liked what he heard:

“As a Gen X (as Libbi is) this station seems targeted at exactly my stage in life. It’s fun as well as informative (including short news breaks) and interperses the chat with great music: Niche yet still quite in the mainstream of things.”

“Hope it’s built to last. It has been a long while since we’ve really had a innovative new format on the radio.”

JP was less enamoured with the concept, saying prior to its launch “I give it six months.”

Whether it’s your cup of tea or not, Disrupt’s arrival on the scene has certainly piqued the curiosity of its radio counterparts, with Nova 100‘s Brekky team of Ben, Liam & Belle taking the mickey out of the station ahead of its launch.

But Roberts’ attitude is: bring it on.

“We’re loving the free plugs on the other stations.”

Roberts says mentions like that certainly helped with the launch and awareness of Disrupt Radio, especially in conjunction with its national TV coverage and billboards.

“Who would have thought an unrelated Talk format built on optimism and opportunity would create so much interest?”

“I guess audiences now have access to a new channel where they can learn and be inspired through progressive, future-focused talk and entrepreneurial thinking – or they can stick with being asked to call in and tell the Friday Drive show whether they wee or brush their teeth in the shower.”

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5 Jul 2023 - 9:10 am

It sounds like a woke university station broadcasting from a basement

5 Jul 2023 - 11:06 am

Remember when DMG launched Vega?

Disrupt is very similar but sounds worse

5 Jul 2023 - 10:11 pm

If you’re as brave as you claim to be share some listening numbers!

Eye roll
6 Jul 2023 - 11:51 am

@disrupted I think you spelled disgruntled incorrectly.

Competition is a positive thing! Good on them.

6 Jul 2023 - 3:58 pm

I’m just loving this station. I gave it a go yesterday and learnt a tonne.

7 Jul 2023 - 3:46 pm

Good on Disrupt on trying to change things up, but they might want to update their FAQ. It reads as if it was a default WordPress page setting for loading their mp3 players with music, and very little information about the actual station itself or their podcasts.

14 Jul 2023 - 6:38 pm

I want to like this station, there are some good shows but the overall listening experience is suffocating.
“Moolah – A new way to talk about money” is a social justice browbeating show with nothing to do with money where the host talks mostly about male genitalia, there’s an obnoxious venture capitalist who said he hates software coders (their target audience?) because they’re “smelly”, at night you hear the same promo repeated 3 times every ad break, often twice in a row.


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