Radio Today’s Top 50 Most Influential People in Australian Radio in 2018

Staff Writer

Here are the Top 50 Most Influential People in Australian Radio in 2018.

Radio Today‘s latest list features 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.

This new list is our biggest and most comprehensive to date, and includes management, senior executives, directors, programmers, and moguls who have influenced the airwaves, and the business of radio, in 2018.

It does not include on-air talent, who will be given the spotlight with their own list in the coming weeks.

Factors including market size, reach of stations and networks have been taken into account, as well as 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.

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

1. Mitch FifieldMinister of Communications

Fifield has conducted a review into cross media ownership in his tenure with the Communications portfolio. He has retained his position following new Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s recent Cabinet reshuffle.

2. Lachlan Murdoch – Executive Chairman & Owner NOVA Entertainment

The media heir and businessman is the man behind NOVA Entertainment, includes the Nova and Smooth networks. He is also the Executive Co-Chairman of News Corp.

3. Cathy O’Connor – CEO NOVA Entertainment

The longest-serving and most successful CEO of any metro radio group, Cathy has been at the helm of Nova/DMG for over 13 years now.

4. Michelle Guthrie Managing Director ABC

The ABC has the biggest radio market share in Australia, and includes Radio National, triple j, Classic FM, News Radio, Local Radio and a series of DAB+ stations. The ABC is also the home of Australia’s most downloaded podcasts.

5. Grant Blackley – CEO & Managing Director Southern Cross Austereo

 The former CEO of the Ten network, he has been in the role at SCA since 2015, and oversees the fortunes of Australia’s biggest radio group.

6. Ciaran Davis – CEO HT&E

HT&E are the owners of ARN’s radio and digital assets. Davis has received the coveted CEO of the Year award and is recognised as the key person behind ARN’s Sydney turnaround in recent years.

7. Adam Lang – CEO Macquarie Media

Lang oversees the Macquarie network including 2GB, 3AW, 2UE. Formerly from Southern Cross Austereo, he watches over one of the leading line-ups of talk radio talent in the country.

8. Michael Mason – Director ABC Radio

Mason 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.

9. Joan Warner – CEO Commercial Radio Australia

Head of the national industry body representing Australia’s commercial radio broadcasters, Warner is one of the most influential women in the radio industry.

10. Rob Atkinson – CEO Australian Radio Network

The former sales director of Bauer Media and CEO of Bauers magazine division, Atkinson now leads the strategic direction of ARN (which includes the KIIS and Pure Gold networks), as well as leading positions in digital and content integration.

11. Peter Bush – Chairman Southern Cross Austereo

Appointed to the Chair of SCA in 2015, Bush was formerly a Director and Board Member at Nine Entertainment and a former CEO of McDonalds Australia.

12. Robert Kaye – Interim Chairman HT&E

Kaye currently holds the role of Interim Chairman at HT&E; owners of ARN, following the departure of Peter Cosgrove earlier this year.

13. Russell Tate – Chairman Macquarie Media Network

Is 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.

14. Paul Jackson – Group Program Director NOVA Entertainment

Oversees the content of the successful Nova and Smooth brands, with big upturns in the most recent ratings survey across Sydney and Melbourne. He was previously at Global Radio and Virgin Radio.

15. Guy Dobson – Chief Creative Officer Southern Cross Austereo

Has been with Austereo since 2005, and oversees the programming, content and talent on the Hit and Triple M Networks in metro and regional.

16. Chris Scaddan – Head of Music & Creative Development ABC

Looks after the music programming for the national broadcaster, this includes triple j which now tops the ratings in many metro and regional markets, plus Classic FM, Double J, triple j Unearthed, ABC Jazz and ABC Country.

17. Duncan Campbell – Group Content Director Australian Radio Network

The man responsible for ARN’s ratings, Campbell has been overseeing the content on the KIIS and Pure Gold networks for almost a decade now.

18. Dave Cameron – General Manager Melbourne & Head of National Shows/New Talent Development SCA

He programmed FOX during its most successful period, and now manages daily operations of Southern Cross Austereo Melbourne, including national talent development unit and digital radio strategy.

19. Mike Fitzpatrick – Content Director Triple M Network

Behind the success of Triple M Melbourne and the Triple M network in general in recent years. Fitzpatrick heads up audio and digital content creation; talent recruitment, development and coaching, as well as music and format strategy.

20. Ollie Wards – National Content Director triple j

Wards started out at triple j in 2010 and oversees triple j’s brand and content, Hack news/current affairs, strategy for content distribution, and on-air development. Recently departed on 12 months sabbatical, with former Head of Unearthed Lachlan Macara stepping into the role.

21. Jeremy Millar – Senior Strategist ABC

Millar joined the ABC from commercial radio and after running ABC Sydney, managed the ABC’s capital-city Local stations. More recently he moved into ABC Strategy working on longer-term planning for all ABC radio in a rapidly changing media environment.

22. Louise Higgins – Chief Operating Financial Officer ABC

Higgins is responsible for providing strategic leadership and oversight of the following ABC functions and frameworks; ABC Commercial, finance & operations, legal, business transformation & more.

23. Siobhan McKenna – Managing Partner of Lachlan Murdoch’s Illyria

Illyria owns NOVA Entertainment’s Nova and Smooth networks. She is a key part of Lachlan Murdoch’s management team.

24. John Kelly – Chief Operating Officer Southern Cross Austereo

Joining Southern Cross Austereo in 2016, John looks after SCA’s highly diverse and successful set of media assets across the Australian geographic and demographic footprint.

25. Gemma Fordham – Head of Content Hit Network

Fordham looks after talent, content and programming for 2DayFM, Fox FM and the Hit Network. A former EP she was previously Group Content Director at NZME.

26. Mickey Maher – Group Regional Content Director Southern Cross Austereo

With over 20 years at SCA, Maher oversees the content of 68 regional radio stations around Australia. His responsibilities include the recruitment and development content teams including on-air talent, and driving successful strategies for SCA brands.

27. Janet Cameron/Alison, Grant & Dugald Cameron – Grant Broadcasters

Grant Broadcasters are regional radio pioneers in Australia, operating more than 70 regional radio stations across Australia and the Radio Sales Network. This year Alison Cameron assumed the role of CEO with Janet Cameron remaining as Chairman of the Group.

28. Kevin Blyton – Chairman/Owner Capital Radio Group.

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

29. Derek Bargwanna – Content Director KIIS Network

Heads up the programming of ARN’s KIIS Sydney and KIIS Melbourne. One of the key people behind Kyle and Jackie O’s success both at ARN and SCA.

30. Jay Walkerden – Head of Podcasting, Brisbane Program Director & Market Lead NOVA Entertainment

Not only content director of Nova 106.9 Brisbane, but also NOVA’s first head of podcasting. He was previously at MCM and Global Media in the UK.

31. John Singleton – Shareholder & Owner Macquarie Media Network

Owner of 2UE, 2GB, 3AW under the MMN banner. He is a major shareholder of the merged entity, which controls the leading commercial talk radio stations in Australia.

32. Michael Harvey – COO & CFO Australian Radio Network

Was previously CFO at ARN and has been a Director of Commercial Radio Australia and CEO of Fox Studios.

33. Scott Muller – Content Director WSFM

Vastly experienced programmer Scott Muller took over duties at ARN’s WSFM in 2018. The widely respected programming consultant and talent coach famously took Nova 96.9 to its first ever #1 position.

34. Rowly Paterson / Judy Paterson – Executive Directors ACE Radio Network

At the helm of Victorian broadcaster ACE Radio Network, which includes 17 regional radio stations and one newspaper.

35. Adrian Brine – Content Director Fox FM

Brine is in charge of content and talent at leading Melbourne FM station SCA’s Fox FM. Also oversees SCA’s new talent development business unit.

36. Jamie Angel – Content Director Triple M Sydney

Now in his 26th year at SCA, Angel has overseen significant on-air changes this year to Triple M’s Sydney lineup. Previously has been a successful CD at 2DayFM, FoxFM and B105.

37. Grant Tothill – Head of Podcasting Southern Cross Austereo

Former Triple M PD, Tothill returned to SCA in 2010 and held various partnerships roles before becoming SCA Head of Podcasting in 2016. Launched PodcastOne Australia last year.

=38. Tony Thomas  Chief Marketing and Digital Officer

With vast experience working across brands including Pepsi, Gatorade, Nine MSN, and Coles, Thomas joined NOVA in 2010 and last year oversaw the company’s biggest ever Nova Network brand refresh since its launch in 2001.

=38. Anthony Xydis  Chief Marketing Officer Australian Radio Network

Xydis is responsible for responsible for leading the brand activation, marketing and communications function nationally for ARN. Significantly he led the marketing strategy for the launch of KIIS 106.5 and subsequent rollout of the KIIS National Network.

39. Bruno Bouchet – Executive Producer KIIS 106.5 Breakfast

Bruno produces the Kyle and Jackie O show on KIIS 106.5 Breakfast. The duo’s record speaks for itself, with over a decade as a duo.

40. Brendan Taylor – Group Program Operations Director NOVA Entertainment

Taylor has worked at NOVA for a decade and moved from the role of Nova 96.9 PD to Group Program Operations Director in 2015.

41. Peter Charlton – Chief Commercial Officer NOVA Entertainment

Oversees NOVA’s sales teams across the country, Peter joined the company from Adshel in 2012; having previously worked at Capital Radio in London. Currently acting CEO, as of September 2018.

42. Leon Sjogren – Executive Producer Fox FM Breakfast

After spending time producing Dan and Maz on 2DayFM, and later Merrick and Australia on Triple M Sydney, Sjogren joined Fox FM Breakfast in 2017. His tenure has seen Fifi, Fev and Byron remain top of the tree on Melbourne Breakfast.

43. Natasha Jobson – Metro News Operations Manager Southern Cross Austereo 

Previously in the role of Brisbane News Director, Natasha has been elevated for her current role in 2017. Ensures the efficient running of SCA’s Metro newsrooms, as well as training and development of staff across key brands Hit Network and Triple M Network.

43. Kellie Riordan – Manager ABC Audio Studios

Kellie leads the ABC’s podcast and long-form audio teams on content ideas, audio storytelling, podcasts, journalism, digital strategy and delivery, editorial standards, radio, and on-air presentation.

44. Nikki Clarkson – Head of Marketing and Communication Southern Cross Austereo

Clarkson was appointed to her current role in 2008, and has overseen a plethora of national campaigns across both the Triple M and Hit Networks over the past decade (including the rebrand of most of SCA’s regional assets).

45. Bill Caralis – Owner Super Radio Network

The veteran media mogul holds one of the largest privately held radio networks with 36 stations across NSW.

46. Brian Gallagher – Chief Sales Officer Southern Cross Austereo

Appointed CSO in 2015, and is responsible for the development and implementation of an overall sales strategy for the company, including driving the entire sales operation across SCA’s full suite of media channels and brands. Previously the Director of Sales at the Ten Network. 

47. Hans Torv – Owner/Executive Chairman Hot Tomato

Leading the Gold Coast’s premier independent family-owned radio station Hot Tomato.

=48. Rohan Brown – Program Director Nova 100 & Nova 91.9

Previously assistant program director at SCA’s FoxFM and Triple M, and PD for smoothfm, Brown and is now at the helm of Nova 100, and in addition, recently took over as PD of Adelaide’s Nova 919.

=48. Ben Latimer – Program Director Nova 96.9

Lattimer looks after Nova 96.9, having previously worked as smoothfm program director and has held various roles at ARN.

49. Irene Hulme – National Head of Music & Entertainment Partnerships Hit Network

Irene oversees the music vision of the largest radio network in Australia and was behind the creation of the Hits and Old Skool and the network’s RnB Fridays.

=50 Deborah Clay – National News Director Australian Radio Network

Clay was promoted to the national role in 2017 after working as the Sydney/Brisbane News Director. She recently took out the 2018 B&T Women In Media Award for top Journalist/Producer.

=50. Michelle Stephenson – National Newsroom Manager NOVA Entertainment

Stephenson took over the role of National News Director in 2015, now National Newsroom Manager. Also the newsreader for Kate, Tim and Marty as well as Star 104.5 FM.

As always, hit us up in the comments below if you believe we’ve missed anyone.

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Recent comments (22)
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5 Sep 2018 - 9:14 am

12 women out of 50 that is a disgrace. Its time the radio industry took a good hard look at itself. You should all be ashamed of yourselves. Mostly white straight men. Ha. Im never reading your blog ever again. Disgraceful. Terrible list. Women make up half of the bloody population you know. Men in radio have got their heads shoved so far up their own a*********s its a joke. A crying shame.

5 Sep 2018 - 9:54 am

Too many ABC types they are public servants, lazy and riding on the backs of the taxpayer. And too many Chairman what do they do besides lunch.
Not enough of the real workers listed.

5 Sep 2018 - 10:17 am

This list is basically everyone that has worked in radio in 2018.

A. Sinclair
5 Sep 2018 - 10:17 am

Strange list ! Some gifted individuals there but what’s the criteria for assessing influence ? Popularity or results.

5 Sep 2018 - 10:18 am

What about Greg Hywood? You’ve got John Singleton on the list but he’s got a minority stake in Macquarie while Fairfax has the controlling interest.

5 Sep 2018 - 10:57 am

Not a single digital staff member… It’s 2018 and this website still never credits, or follows the works of digital producers who work closely with talent and influence the landscape greatly.

5 Sep 2018 - 10:59 am

I reckon its great that Joan has received the nod she so richly deserves. A great champion of the industry.

5 Sep 2018 - 11:06 am

I like the way a lot of very talented women are just plonked at the end of the list almost an after thought ?

5 Sep 2018 - 12:36 pm

Strange that Adam is higher up the list than Russell. Certainly not the order of who’s calling the shots… influence as you call it. And yes, technically owners are more influential than managers and CEO’s so maybe the list should have been in that order.

5 Sep 2018 - 12:53 pm

29. Scotch Tape
37. Magnificent Hair
45. Hasn’t aged a bit in 20 years

5 Sep 2018 - 2:57 pm

Alright, who at RT has a giant crush on this Leon kid? I’m sure he’s a nice guy and he’s doing well for himself, but if producers are making the list, I can think of half a dozen that would have more “influence” and success than him. Let’s start with Jones and Hadley’s producers.

5 Sep 2018 - 2:59 pm

Totters should be at Number 1 for that hair alone. Its a beautiful thing.

5 Sep 2018 - 3:13 pm

Michelle – Dont need to over think it. Its a just list. A subjective list. Don’t make it about equality… That story is old.
Sure it seems like a big list of old white men – It just reflects the real world… Politics, Sports and media.

5 Sep 2018 - 5:42 pm

Abe – He manages the talent and content of the highest cuming breakfast radio show in Australia.

If anything, he should be above Bruno (Who is equally brilliant) based on how much cume he has control over.

A pretty solid list RT – Now, out come all the ‘Why arent there more regional/am/non-commercial/females/one legged people on this list’ posters.

5 Sep 2018 - 8:29 pm

I’ve heard Matthew O’Reilly is doing great things as far as culture, so is Matthew Eggleston. Does RT have a thing against people outside of Sydney and Melb or do they dislike Matthews?

Walter Sterling
5 Sep 2018 - 8:50 pm

Having the perspective of distance from the US, Alan Jones is in fact the most influential in Australia.

6 Sep 2018 - 7:41 am

It’s so pleasing to see three women in the top ten on your list.
And three amazingly talented women.
There is hope for our industry.

6 Sep 2018 - 7:44 am

About time the heads of news got mentioned. They have more airtime that daytime announcers and have more influence than newspapers.

6 Sep 2018 - 9:32 am

Hey Walter in the US Alan Jones is an on air personality this is a list of off air peeps.

6 Sep 2018 - 10:09 pm

The joint is so boring! Let’s be friends with everyone. Let’s have someone form SCA here, then we’ll put a omeone Nova there and oh we left out ARN quick move someone up to there. 50 was clearly too ambitious, half that would do.
What’s has number 1 done for anything that comes out of the speakers? Zero! He changed some laws, nothing to do with what radio is, how it sounds or how we go about making it day to day, probably never been in a radio station.

7 Sep 2018 - 10:57 am

Michelle Stephenson? Nothing to do with gender, but don’t even understand how she is influential in the industry at all. Michelle who? List seems a bit odd in general.

25 Sep 2018 - 11:57 am

Number 4 gone ! Who else won’t make the year out ?


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