Radio’s Greatest Newsreaders: The Past

Radio newsreaders have a unique relationship with listeners. Unlike the on-air teams and announcers, they’re rarely known by face, but are often considered as trusted ‘friends’.

They deliver the news with authority and authenticity, whether it’s good news or bad, momentous or mundane.

But who are considered the ‘greats’ of news presenting? Radio Today has consulted with industry leaders to determine who makes the grade.

First, we look to the past to acknowledge the news-reading trailblazers.

They are in no particular order:

Steve Liebmann: In a career spanning almost 50 years, Liebmann spent time at 2XL, 2CA, 2UE and 2SM before making the move into TV, where he would help launch the Today Show in 1981, before switching to Channel Ten in 1987.

David White: In a class of his own, ‘Whitey’ established himself at 2SM before becoming the ‘voice’ of 2MMM in the halcyon days of the 80s and 90s.   

He read breakfast news for Doug Mulray and was the master of the MMM ‘rockumentaries’. Whitey also read breakfast news for Wendy Harmer and The Morning Crew on 2DayFM.

Alison Drower: Alison has had a career the envy of many. Along with Richard Wilkins, she was the face of MTV Australia and read breakfast news on 2MMM for Doug Mulray.

Ali has been head of Regional News (Radio & TV) for SCA for a number of years.

Rod Tiley: After almost 40 years on air in Queensland, the late and great “Mr T” was ‘the voice’ of Brisbane at 4MMM and 4BC.

In 2011, Tiley joined Radio 6PR Perth before retiring as station news director in 2014.  After a nine-month battle with cancer, Rod passed away in 2016.

Colin Denovan: For 23 years, Denovan read news on the ABC in Melbourne before taking a redundancy in 2015.

But that’s only half his story.  Before moving to the national broadcaster, Denovan was also News Director at 3XY, 3DB and FOX FM.

Carrie Bickmore and Georgie Gardner: Both women have had quite similar careers, establishing radio careers before making the move into TV.

Bickmore started in Perth before reading drive and breakfast news on Nova 100.  It led to a stint on Rove Live and The Project.

Also from Perth, Gardner got her start in radio at 2NX before moving to 2DayFM, where she read drive news for three years until 1997.

Radio newsman Frank Avis is cited by many journalists as an inspiration in their own careers.  Frank’s career spanned 42-years and included time in Melbourne, Perth and at 2MMM and 2Day Fm.

Kristy Warner made an impact during her time at Nova 919, winning numerous ACRAs for her news reading for ‘Merrick and Rosso’.  The AFTRS graduate spent time in Pasadena, California but is now back home in Sydney.

John Logan was considered one of the most recognisable voices on the ABC in Sydney with a career spanning 40 years.

Logan retired in 2016 after beginning his radio life as an announcer in 1973 at the ABC in Rockhampton, Queensland.

The late Jim Angel is considered by many as one of the best news readers Australian radio has produced. During his 40 years, he presented news on Sydney radio stations 2SM, 2UE, 2GB and 2CH,

He retired in 2001 and passed away in 2007.

Former 4MMM journalist and newsreader Robyn Ironside was a mainstay on the FM dial before crossing over the ABC in Brisbane.  

She’s now the aviation writer for The Australian.

No list of past ‘great readers’ would be complete without mention of Brian White. Commercial radio’s first cadet journalist, he was at 2SM in the 70s, appointed 3AW general manager in 1981 and 2UE in the 80s.

The Brian White Award is presented annually by Commercial Radio Australia for excellence in journalism.

There are many, many more newsreaders who’ve made their mark on the industry. Leave your suggestions in the comments.

Stay tuned to Radio Today next week when we name the present day ‘greats’ from AM and FM.

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Recent comments (20)
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nick bartlett
27 Aug 2018 - 11:15 am

I can still hear Jim Angel’s voice. Clear, professional and distinct. I trusted everything he said.

27 Aug 2018 - 5:13 pm

Len London was a Sydney mainstay and brilliant and should be recognised today as one of the greats as he was recognised at his time.

edward thirkill
27 Aug 2018 - 5:18 pm

Alex Shiren 4BK QRNS news reader and general announcer for many years through the late 50s and 60s Brilliant news reader.

27 Aug 2018 - 8:58 pm

Steve spezialie 3MMM. Not quite sure on the spelling

Brendan Barnes
27 Aug 2018 - 11:11 pm

John Williams,Michelle Aleksandrovics,Rick Wall,Anne Fulwood,Nikole Gunn,Jennifer Keyte,John Knox,Scott McKinlay.

Lester Pasley
28 Aug 2018 - 3:51 am

A few more newsreader names to add to the list.

Len London and Natalie Peters on 2CH.

ABC Radio Holger Brockman, James Dibble, John Hall, Bob Hudson, Bruce Menzies, Kel Richards, Martin Royal, Ross Symonds, Margaret Throsby, Peter Young.

Ron Wilson on Smooth FM.

28 Aug 2018 - 10:01 am

The three best radio newsreaders of all time were/are Len London, Jim Angel and Steve Blanda. No argument. However, it’s not easy to compare them with – say – Brian White, Steve Leibemann or Alli Drower. The former were/are “traditional” readers, while the latter all had different presentation styles to suit the format of the stations they were working on. It’s apples and oranges.

28 Aug 2018 - 1:22 pm

This list is severely lacking Graham French from 2ST. His dedication to his craft, community and to radio is second to none. No longer on air at the station but his mark has been well and truly left on the community.

Mel Frame
28 Aug 2018 - 2:49 pm

A big yes to seeing Robin Ironside on the list, great radio voice and one of the smartest people I’ve worked with in and out of radio. Well deserved!

28 Aug 2018 - 3:35 pm

Glen Daniel

David White
28 Aug 2018 - 6:26 pm

Hey Nikole, My friend and former colleague at 2SM & Triple M, Charlie Foxx gave me a heads up on your feature piece. Thank you for including me in your stellar lineup of Greatest News Readers. I can suggest two more worthy of mention…..Margaret Bates and Deanne Bishop. Batesy and Bish worked with me at the Ems and were red hot communicators of their craft. Top journos and anchors who were an absolute buzz to work with. Whitey.

Nikole Gunn
29 Aug 2018 - 8:32 am

Hey there Whitey,

You’re spot on — they’re great journos and readers .. so many talented people came out of the MMMs both in Sydney and Melbourne. Lou Dimovich being another.


Denise Schoupp
29 Aug 2018 - 11:18 am

Cameron Bond, Newsreader on 4BC and later, on 2WS who tragically, was killed in a motorbike accident on the way to work one day. As he’d been ill the station was initially unaware that the accident they were reporting on, had killed one of their own – Cameron!

Denise Schoupp
29 Aug 2018 - 11:21 am

Heather Schoupp – 4BC Brisbane. She was Newsreader, Reporter and News Director during her years at 4BC in the 1980’s and ’90s.

And John Knox – everyone’s favourite – now retired but still has the great voice and mad sense of humour.

Ian Holland
30 Aug 2018 - 5:03 pm

There can be no doubt Len London 2UE and 2CH should be on the list. Most certainly Steve Blanda, Tony Tardio of 3AW fame, Terry Dear 2GB, Bill Acfield who worked at several Melbourne stations including The Greater 3UZ. And possibly the best of them all, the ABC’s James Dibble.

30 Aug 2018 - 8:17 pm

Is that the famous Brendan Barnes 10 lines back? Currently doing voice overs on the Gold Coast? I remember listening to you in my 20’s when you were on 107.7 Sun Fm GV. If I had to nominate a favourite announcer of all time you would get my nomination. Would love to hear some old Sun Fm recordings with you in the chair.

Siri Homepod
1 Sep 2018 - 10:36 pm

I am considered a very talented radio and TV newsreader who was bullied by ABC management on and off for 5 years. Accused of “misconduct” as payback for complaining about my “manager’s” bullying behaviour to my (ultimately useless) union. Job, anyone? Fortunately, I have many other skills at my disposal.

Chris Maitland
2 Sep 2018 - 11:03 pm

His name will not mean much to the current generation of radio industry people but Heath Burdock was the doyen of newsreaders in the 1940’s and 1950’s, back when the top newsreaders worked late in the day culminating in the main bulletin at 6.45pm in the pre-TV days.
Burdock was lured to 2UE from the ABC by proprietors of The Sun newspaper, then owner of 2UE, to raise credibility for commercial radio news bulletins. Burdock died in 1958.

22 Sep 2018 - 6:33 am


Prue Jeffrey
8 Dec 2019 - 12:01 pm

Graham Connolly ABC news 50’s / 60’s?


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