Tears, Cheers and Overhears: The sounds of the 2018 ACRAs

Staff Writer
Lee Simon and Barry Bissel - More than 100 years combined in radio

With the ACRAs done and dusted for another year, the radio industry heads back to work this week, a little worse for wear.

The hangover may last a few days, but the memories will last a lifetime, and on Saturday night Radio Today was up close and personal with all the big names before the ceremony kicked off, and catching up with the winners to share in their moment of elation.

From some 35-odd interviews, here are the best chats we had on the night of nights:

Lee Simon was inducted into the Hall of Fame and Triple M Head of Content Mike ‘Fitzy’ Fitzpatrick was ‘chuffed’ for the ‘Godfather of Rock’.  He was also happy to see him with another legend of the radio; Barry Bissell.

“Lee Simon is a legend. He’s taught me so much. So much. And look at these two together! 100 years of radio right there.“

As for Lee, it’s his birthday today and says a win to the Triple M Football call team for Best Sports Event Coverage capped off a great night.

“It’s a gift that keeps on giving. Very happy for the guys. They’re a really good team. It’s got nothing to do with me at all.

“Who gets it to take it home?


Kyle and Jackie O executive producer Bruno Bouchet accepted the award for Best On Air Team (Metro FM) on behalf of the show’s hosts who did not attend the awards.

“It does mean a lot to all of us. There’s obviously pre-conceived notions about the Kyle and Jackie O show,” he said.

“But behind the hype and the headlines and the controvers,y there’s a bunch of people, including Kyle and Jackie, who love radio and who obsess about trying to entertain and do what we can do to put a smile on people’s faces.

Ray Hadley summed up what it is what makes the Continous Call Team so good, after his team won the Best On Air Team (Metro AM) again.

“It’s just a bunch of people sitting in a room, like their sitting at home or in a bar, having a yarn, calling football.”

Neil Mitchell was full of advice for budding young radio journos.

“If someone wants a career in media, you can’t go wrong by putting radio into the mix,” he told Radio Today.

Kate Ritchie may have missed out on the top going with her teammates on Nova Drive show Kate, Tim and Marty, but she was reduced to tears after winning the award for Best Entertainment Presenter (Metro).

“I was blessed to come into a show… to join something that was already a success,” she said, tearing up.

“It’s all content she said!” after composing herself.

smoothfm veteran Ron Wilson took out the gong for Best Newsreader FM, and he was stoked to receive only his second ACRA.

“I’ve actually worked at 10 different radio stations over 44 years,” he said.

“Radio is more me than television believe it or not.”

Josh Olek is something of a cult hero in Geelong, and the budding young host took out the gong for Best Music Presenter (Provincial) at this year’s ACRAs.

“I’ve been nominated a couple of times, so its nice to a little bit of a result for all the hard work.”

“The culture is amazing, the studios now are amazing,” he said of his employer K rock.

Coming from TV for his first year in radio, 2DayFM’s Grant Denyer wasn’t convinced he deserved the award for Best Newcomer.

“It’s very humbling and amazing feeling. I’m speechless,” he told Radio Today.

“I don’t feel like I deserve it, I don’t feel like i’m good enough at it yet. ”

Hughesy and Kate’s long-time EP Sacha French was finally recognised for her years of service and dedication to her craft.

She refused to take the credit though, insisting “it’s about the team effort, the three of us.

“We’ve been together for fifteen years and it’s been an amazing journey.

“We’ve been through a lot together on and off air.”

Triple M’s Steve Price was easily the best-dressed of the night in his camo suit.

“I was 17 when I got into radio here [in Melbourne].

“When it comes to everything living, everything radio, this city is wonderful.

“We as a business are spread throughout the country, and sometimes we don’t see enough of each other, except for great nights like this.”

It was the first time at the ACRAs for Gold 104.3’s Christian O’Connell.

He told Radio Today that he’s loving the challenge of starting from scratch in Melbourne, received a surprising ‘welcome’ phone-call and is planning to have breakfast with Richard Stubbs.

“I’ve never met him. I know of him, of course. He’s a legend and I’m looking forward to meeting him next week.

“It’s going to be like DeNiro and Pacino in ‘Heat’ when the two of us finally meet. Two egos in one room. Mostly his. No, no he’s actually a mild-mannered man.”

Chris Taylor and Andrew Hansen from Radio Chaser were invited back to host for a third year, something that shocked even them.

“We were out of material last year, so it’s really ambitious of them to bring us back again,” joked the boys before the ceremony.

smootfm’s Melissa Doyle took out the award for Best Entertainment/Music Presenter Metro.

“Our listeners love what we do, that’s all that matters,” she said.

Catch up with the full list of winners from the #ACRAs2018 here.

Comment Form

Your email address will not be published.

Recent comments (4)
Post new comment
Olek Inc. Shareholder
22 Oct 2018 - 1:17 pm

As someone who has invested time and money in the Olek experience I for one am excited to see some dividends finally paid on the investment.
Obviously this is only the beginning of the award conquests. Next will be logies and eventually he will bring us all a Golden Globe for his amazing radio career. obviously Golden Globes are not awarded to radio announces, but I believe his radio talent to be so overwhelming that they will surely make him the first exception!


A happy investor

J.olek5eva(more than 4 eva)
22 Oct 2018 - 1:46 pm

Honestly couldn’t be happier to see Josh Olek finally recognised as the winner he is. Bravo, molte bene!

22 Oct 2018 - 1:51 pm

I find it very personally gratifying that our boy Josh Olek is finally getting the recognition he deserves after years of nominations. As the Voice of the Surf Coast, he is fully deserving of the moniker of best music presenter, and while this year he was unjustly limited by the scope of the awards to provincial, in future years he will surely be recognised for his musical presenting prowess across the globe…nay…the universe!

And did I hear that the studio is amazing “now”? Sure this is something to sing about from the rooftops, or at least to tell your close friends many, many times! Perhaps this studio upgrade, of which the cost and timeframe involved I can only assume was a significant investment without being informed otherwise, was the reason we were finally able to lift our cult hero Josh onto the pedestal at long last!

We can only assume with this recent success then that more studio upgrades are in store to allow Josh to reach a higher and higher level! Bravo to all involved, and bravo to Josh!

22 Oct 2018 - 3:13 pm

As president of the Olek Appreciation Society’s Peruvian chapter, we are pleased to see Josh be awarded the prize for best radio person of all time. Congratulations to Jacqueline and Kyle for being runners up to him


See all