The women of Melbourne Afternoons


When Toni Tenaglia began hosting weekday Afternoons on Gold 104.3 back in April 2019, she was the only sole female announcer in that timeslot on Melbourne commercial FM radio.

Five years earlier, the Sydney Morning Herald had published an article titled ‘Silence is golden for women in radio.’

“Whatever your theory on why there are so few women radio presenters, few would deny men dominate our airwaves,” it read.

According to the story, it was found that nationally in 2014, women comprised just 17 per cent of presenters for the major metro talkback stations on weekdays.

Five stations had none at all.

Fast forward nearly a decade, and the radio landscape has changed dramatically.

Women now dominate the Afternoon shifts across Melbourne, both AM and FM.

Dee Dee Dunleavy – one of the most familiar and established voices on Melbourne’s airwaves – has been hosing 3AW Afternoons since early 2020.

Sarah Maree Cameron presents Afternoons on Triple M.

Chrissie Swan is heard across the Nova Network between 2pm and 4pm.

Mel Tracina is in the Nova hosting chair from midday.

Kat Markey is the Workday Announcer & Operations Manager at 101.9 The Fox.

 Jacinta Parsons hosts Afternoons on ABC Melbourne.

And Cathy Jubb presents Afternoons on 3MP, part of a weekly roster which also features Julie Strini, Emily Canning and Emma Clark in the hosting chair across the day.

(KIIS 101.1 has Brittany Hockley, Laura Byrne & Mitch Churi presenting The Pick Up at 3pm weekdays).

For Toni, hosting Afternoons on Gold was an enticing prospect.

She tells Radio Today “As funny as this sounds, my first thought was ‘I can go straight home as soon as I’m off air.’ Haha.”

“During most of my radio career I have been in the dual role of Music Director and On Air Announcer and this was first time in long time I was only doing one role.”

“It actually took me a while to get over guilt of getting in and out of the building just for my shift.”

Toni says it’s been interesting to see how much has changed in the years since.

“I know Dee Dee moved into afternoons on 3AW not too long after, but since then it seems Afternoons has turned into the timeslot for women announcers.”

And as far as Toni’s concerned, that’s an awesome thing.

“More power to us, I say. I think it’s pretty cool. I feel like we’ve started a trend.”

That said, Toni believes it’s important to have a good balance of genders on air.

“At one stage it was said that women don’t like to listen to women on radio. That may have been the case a long time ago, but I think we’ve well and truly progressed from there.”

“I think women like to hear other women talking about the things they are going through. I know if I hear a woman talking about something I can relate to, I feel connected to them.”

“It’s what I try to do on air – I talk about things I’m doing that I know our listeners are doing. I connect to them.”

While Toni might be considered a trailblazer for women in radio, it’s not a tag that sits comfortably with her.

“I’m flattered, but to be honest I don’t see myself that way. I’ve worked as hard as any other woman in the industry to get to where I am today.”

“I don’t believe I am any more special than anyone else and think we all have something to contribute.”

“I may have been doing this a little longer than some but trust me, I am learning new stuff every day from women who have only been in the industry a short time. It’s just one of the things I love about radio!”

The latest ratings were further cause for celebration.

Toni went up to 14.2% in Afternoons, making her outright number 1.

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Recent comments (9)
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Mel Tracina
29 Mar 2023 - 7:56 am

Love this article but you forgot one – me, Mel Tracina 12-2pm on Nova, before the fabulous Chrissie Swan.

(Oh I’m getting school flashbacks of being left out of sporting team choices)

    Sarah Patterson
    29 Mar 2023 - 8:14 am

    My heartfelt apologies, Mel. That was certainly not intentional. I had you in there. Now amended. Sarah.

29 Mar 2023 - 6:48 pm

If mmm.
replaced S M Cameron with Rosie, they might pick up a few more listeners.
Boring as batshit!!!!

Dan Bradley
30 Mar 2023 - 5:19 am

Responding to ‘Wally699’, I don’t know who his comment reflects more poorly on:
– Wally, for a needlessly aggressive, cruel and incorrect comment. I was SMC & Rosie’s Content Director for 4-years, both are superstars, very different styles, but both brilliant.
– Or Radio Today, for allowing such an appalling comment to be posted on an article which, on the surface, purports to be supportive of women. Any positivity and inspiration that may come from an article of this nature is undone by allowing a comment like this to be be published.

30 Mar 2023 - 11:38 am

Completely disagree with your comment Wally. SMC is a weapon, and an announcer that any CD would want on their station!

30 Mar 2023 - 3:50 pm

@Wally669 probably typed that on his keyboard sitting on top of a stack of rejection letters from radio stations around the country.

Onya champ.

Lets pump up these legends. Awesome to see a huge shift from an city that was formerly a boys club.

30 Mar 2023 - 3:53 pm

Take a hike, Wayne. To take the time to write such a bs comment, and on an article celebrating women – pathetic.

SMC and Rosie are both extremely talented broadcasters. We don’t pit women against each other anymore, so highly suggest you stop attempting to.

30 Mar 2023 - 9:17 pm

92.9 Tamworth has back to back female’s, with Di doing workdays and Amz doing afternoons. We also had Sally-Anne on 2TM breakfast until last year – plus our last 5 journalists have all been female.
We are exceptionally proud of it – especially for regional radio 🙂

31 Mar 2023 - 6:22 am

Here at 2LM/ZZZ in Lismore all our local announcers are female (except me) our sales/news/admin are female too. Almost a complete reversal from when I started out in radio.


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