Scoop: WSFM’s Charlie Fox and Ron E Sparks depart ARN

Former Publisher

Australian Radio Network has parted ways with two longstanding and much-loved team members, Radio Today can exclusively reveal.

The Edge and WSFM101.7 Sydney content director Charlie Fox and WSFM workday announcer Ron E Sparks have left the company, effective immediately.

Since Fox joined the ARN-owned station in 2005, he has led both WSFM and the Jonsey and Amanda breakfast show to a #1 victory lap on multiple occasions.

“WSFM has been the #1 FM for two of the last three surveys. I’m pleased to leave the place in such good shape,” Fox told Radio Today following the confirmation of his departure.

“Jonesy & Amanda have never sounded better and are currently on a 10.7. It’s a tribute to a small but really great team. I wish them and all who sail in good ship at ARN nothing but the best.”

Sparks arrived at WSFM in 2002 after a break from radio and a very successful career spanning over four decades behind the microphone, including a long run at 104.1 2Day FM Sydney, that ended in 2001.

National content director Duncan Campbell attributes the latest changes to a new strategy it hopes will “re-energise ARN and position the network for even greater success in 2018 and beyond”.

There has been much speculation in recent weeks surrounding the future direction of the Pure Gold network. ARN is expected to reveal its 2018 plans next week, with many radio insiders foreseeing a significant shift in strategy.

In a statement sent to Radio Today, Campbell acknowledged both Fox and Sparks for their contribution on behalf of ARN.

“I want to thank Charlie for his commitment to WSFM and his work with Jonesy & Amanda in Breakfast.

“I also want to acknowledge Ron E Sparks who has been an Icon of Sydney radio since the late 1970s and wish him the best for the next stage of his impressive career,” Campbell added.

The as yet unexplained changes at GOLD104.3 Melbourne left many radio admirers and insiders confused after it was confirmed that Jo and Lehmo would not return in 2018.

The duo had just delivered management their best book in a decade, topping the most recent GfK survey. A replacement is not expected to be announced until next year.

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14 Dec 2017 - 8:35 am

Really!!! Get rid of Ron E ?? That’s like Channel 9 losing it’s dots, or Coca Cola losing it’s swirl. You want ratings then play the music that people want to hear. Less repeats and more of a wider range of music, your music choice is so ordinary!

This will bite you on the arse for sure !

14 Dec 2017 - 9:21 am

Congratulations to these two on a superb innings.

14 Dec 2017 - 11:14 am

Both Charlie and Ron E were a pleasure to work with during my years at ARN. The building will be sad to see them go, no doubt. Congrats on a stellar run!

14 Dec 2017 - 11:22 am

Does this mean we will be hearing more of Mike Hammond ?? Been hearing a bit more of him on WS lately ???
Big move , can only assume something bigger happening .

Neil Docherty
14 Dec 2017 - 2:54 pm

I grew up with these guys driving the sound and content of Sydney for such a long time.

Why would you let such great talent go? Ronnie is now in his sixties and imagine Charlie wouldn’t be far behind.

Mike Hammond will appear in 2018 and this reminds if the 2DayFM of the eighties….I was not a great fan of the station then.

I would not be surprised if both turned up at Smooth….Southern Cross or even at 2CH.

More will be revealed.

Neil Docherty
14 Dec 2017 - 4:06 pm

New strategy usually means job cuts, work with less to achieve more…..

We now have a society built on putting more people under pressure so the shareholders can sleep easy at night…..

22 Jan 2018 - 9:24 am

For me Ron E Sparks is radio…to lose him is criminal….and to replace him with Mike Hammond, I don’t mind him, but a lot of us have been through marraige break ups…I don’t need to consyantly hear about his…Bring back the Sperkster…He makes my job of driving in Sydney’s traffic more bearable.

2 Feb 2018 - 7:56 am

Ron E Sparks has been a favourite of mine since I was a teenager in the 70s. This radios station has once again made a really bad move in my books. They are trying to attract a younger audience at the expense of faithful listeners. Mike Hammond is soooooo annoying that I lasted 1 hour with him, now when JAM go off at 9am, so does WSFM as far as I’m concerned. And stop playing so much INXS!

14 Feb 2018 - 8:05 am

Sad not hearing Ron E. on my radio anymore. He was the station. WSFM’s problem is the same 20 songs played continuously. There is no classic or gold mix. Sacking the icon will make no difference.

Deborah Murray
19 Feb 2018 - 9:54 am

I do miss you Ron E .. was the only reason I was listening !!
Wish you well on your next journey !!

Chris J.
7 Jan 2019 - 9:35 am

For WSFM to lose Ron E. I think is a great loss for them. I’ve been listening to this guy for so many years on a couple of different stations and he has always sounded fresh’ and his up & at em attitude one could never tire of because he always sounded fresh.
Good luck in the future Ron I would like to hear you at 2CH I now listen to them more often these days other than Sundays when they Bible bash the people for hours and MAN I just can’t get into any sort of groove raging along to a hymn even if it’s done by Elvis’ but take that out of the way and things start to come good. And the old Christopher John is doing his thing on the morning slot instead of Mr. Rogers thank you for that big improvement.


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