Revealed: Australian radio’s Top 20 content directors in 2020

Staff Writer

The role of the content director is one of the most pivotal to the day-to-day operations of any radio station or network, while also being one of the most demanding.

Content directors are responsible for the sound of a radio station, taking care of the music, key shows, announcers, imaging, social, the execution of promotions and network shows. They deliver great content across Breakfast, workdays, Drive and Nights across Australia.

Radio Today is again recognising excellence in content and programming on commercial radio, with this latest list including not only station content chiefs but also the top network programmers.

There are seven brand new entries in this year’s Top 20, while it should come as no surprise that most entries come from the two biggest markets.

This year, 11 of the Top 20 are Sydney-based while another seven call Melbourne home.

There nine entries from Southern Cross Austereo, six from Australian Radio Network and three from NOVA Entertainment. Grant Broadcasters and Nine Radio are also represented.

There have been plenty of executive role changes at key networks in recent months, and with radio operating through one of its toughest challenges amid the coronavirus pandemic, we’re predicting those most likely to successfully steer their network and stations through to the other side.

The list reflects the overall influence of stations, talent management and direction, music influence, experience, market size, competitive landscape and the scale of the position.

Here are the Top FM content directors in Australia for 2020:

1. Duncan Campbell

Australian Radio Network’s national content director Duncan Campbell has overseen ARN as it became the #1 network. Campbell’s storied history in the industry saw him launch the first FM radio station on the central coast, before stints with Austereo at B105 and Triple M Melbourne as program director. Campbell oversaw the launch of KIIS 1065 in Sydney, poaching the Kyle and Jackie O Breakfast show from SCA. More recently he gave 96FM in Perth a content reboot and facelift that has seen the station become competitive again after years in the wilderness. He also gambled on Christian O’Connell, bringing the UK star to Melbourne, paying off after 18 months when the show went #1 FM.

2. Paul Jackson

Paul Jackson is of the most influential people in radio, having served as the group program director at NOVA Entertainment since 2010, with his title recently changing to chief programming and marketing officer. He has also held such roles as chief executive and program director of Virgin Radio, and program director at Global Radio. Paul was responsible for the highly successful launch of smoothfm and oversees the direction of the Nova and smooth networks day-to-day.

3. Dave Cameron

Southern Cross Austereo’s new chief content officer Dave Cameron has been with the network for more than 25 years. He is responsible for the strategic leadership content across its 78 FM radio stations, 10 DAB+ stations, digital and on-demand content, and is also a member of SCA’s executive team. Previously the GM for SCA Melbourne, Cameron spent 11 years as a programmer in that city and six as a music director in Sydney. He is often credited for the launch of Hamish & Andy, one of the most successful Drive shows in Australian history.

4. Mike Fitzpatrick

Triple M’s head of content Mike Fitzpatrick leads the content teams for the Triple M Network across Australia’s metro markets. He is responsible for talent recruitment, development and coaching, music and listener research, as well as overseeing the overall sound of the network. He’s previously served as content director for Triple M at Southern Cross Austereo and got his start as a presenter and music director at B-Rock FM in Bathurst.

5. Dan Bradley

Dan Bradley moved to Melbourne to become the content director at SCA after years of service at the hugely sucessful Gold Coast station 102.9 Hot Tomato. Bradley got his start at 7HO in Tassie, and had roles as music director at SCA’s FM104.7, Fox FM, and Triple M, before being snapped up by DMG Radio as their regional group PD. He was the founding programmer for Nova 100 Melbourne, taking the station to #1 within just 12 weeks. He is also the director and founder of Kaizen Media, record label Laneway Music, Active Instore and Purple Wax.

6. Derek Bargwanna

Derek Bargwanna started his radio career at NXFM as a panel operator and now serves as the head of content for both KIIS Sydney and Melbourne. He’s been instrumental in the day-to-day of legacy Breakfast show Kyle and Jackie O, from the early days at Southern Cross Austereo, coming across to ARN with the duo for 2014. Prior to his move to KIIS, Bargwanna had spent over 15 years at SCA, having moved to 2DayFM from a content director role at Perth 92.9.

7. Ben Latimer

Ben Latimer was appointed to the role of head of programming at NOVA Entertainment in late 2019, having previously served the program director for smoothfm and Nova’s Sydney & Adelaide stations. He now oversees Nova’s Melbourne, Perth & Adelaide stations and recently launched Ben & Liam’s new Breakfast show at Nova 91.9 Adelaide. His previous roles have included executive producer of WSFM’s Jonesy and Amanda, and programmer roles at Mix 106.5, Mix 102.3 and 5DN.

8. Gemma Fordham

Southern Cross Austereo’s current head of content for the Hit Network Gemma Fordham rose to her first programming role in 2014 at New Zealand’s premier integrated media company NZME. She originally began her career at SCA as a receptionist, but quickly rose to the position of executive producer. Fordham then jetted overseas firstly to London at Heart FM and then spent some time away from radio in Los Angeles. Upon returning to Australia in 2010 she returned to SCA to EP 2DayFM Breakfast.

9. Rex Morris

Triple M, SCA

Rex Morris is another on this list to have moved into a bigger market recently, joining Triple M Sydney as content director after taking Triple M Brisbane to the #1 position in radio ratings. Morris began his career at SCA almost three decades ago in 1990, and was first promoted to a content director role in 1996. He’s held roles including Triple M head of music operations, and was appointed Triple M Brisbane CD in March of 2018.

10. Matthew Eggleston

Hit Network national operations manager and head of content for NSW, Mathew ‘Eggo’ Eggleston oversees operations and content across the state. He took on the role after three and half years as content director at Hit105 Brisbane, during which time the station often topped Brisbane radio ratings. He has previously served as the Hit Network’s national music director, and in MD/announcer roles at Fox FM, SAFM and NXFM.

11. Peter Clay

Peter Clay is NOVA Entertainment’s head of programming, and also heads up the network’s talent development & acquisition for both Nova and smoothfm. He’s also spent time as a producer for shows including Nova’s Fresh 40, Richard Wilkins, Melissa Doyle, Weekends, David Campbell and Michael Buble. He has worked in producer roles at both ARN and SCA as well.

12. Dan Underhill


Daniel Underhill is the content director at ARN’s 96FM in Perth, having overseen the content at the station as it has returned to former glory as a ratings threat in the city. He joined ARN in 2019 after spending almost 17 years with NOVA Entertainment. He started as a creative writer at Nova 93.7 in 2002, before serving as creative director, and raking up almost eight years as program director at the station as it dominated the radio ratings.

13. Barry Drinkwater

Barry Drinkwater is a Brisbane institution, has served as the content director for ARN’s 97.3 FM and 4KQ for almost two decades, helping both stations to plenty of ratings wins in that time. He first started at 4KQ in 1993, where he spent eight years at the Drive announcer before rising to the role of assistant program director and music director.

14. Greg Byrnes

Greg Byrnes joined the newly branded Nine Radio as head of content when it ceased to be Macquarie Media in 2019. Since joining Nine, he’s been at the helm of the biggest talent shakeup in years at the network. Joining after serving as an executive producer at Sky News, Byrnes previously spent 17 years at 2UE holding positions including news director and program director. He got his start in radio at Cooma’s 2XL.

15. Mike Byrne

Mike Byrne jumped ship from Southern Cross Austereo to Australian Radio Network in 2020 when he was appointed as the content director for Sydney’s WSFM. He previously worked with ARN as program director at Mix106.5 in Sydney and Gold FM in Melbourne, also holding roles as program director for Grant Broadcasters. He most recently served as the group content director for SCA Newcastle’s KOFM and NXFM.

16. Amanda Lee

After spending three and a half years as content director at Hit92.9 in Perth, Amanda Lee was appointed as CD at the high-rating Fox FM in Melbourne. It was a return to the station, where Lee previously served as assistant CD and acting CD, as well as holding roles including music director and operations manager. Her start in radio came at SCA’s SUN FM in Shepparton. She’s also worked as a producer and announcer at 2DayFM and in music roles at NOVA Entertainment.

17. Matthew O’Reilly

Matthew O’Reilly was the EP of Triple M Sydney’s Grill Team for over four years, before being poached by Triple M Adelaide to become the station’s content director. His previous roles have included EP of the Hot Breakfast show and AFL shows at Triple M Adelaide.

18. Ryan Rathbone

Ryan Rathbone returned to Australia at the end of 2019 after spending five years in New Zealand to take up the role of regional content director for Grant Broadcasters in Queensland and the Northern Territory. He has also served as the assistant content director at SCA’s 2DayFM Sydney, content director at ARN’s Mix 106.5, as well as program director at DMG Radio’s Nova 106.9. He was recently appointed group content director for Grant Broadcasters.

19. Sue Carter

Sue Carter currently serves as the content director of Gold104.3 in Melbourne, home of the top-rating Christian O’Connell Breakfast show. She has worked at ARN for almost five years, having also worked in programming at Mix 102.3. Prior to that she was EP of Triple M Sydney’s Grill Team, and has also worked for JackFM, GCap Media, Q102 Dublin, and GWR Group in the UK.

= 20. Tony Aldridge

Tony Aldridge joined ARN in 2018, overseeing Cruise 1323 and Mix 102.3 for 18 successful months before moving to Melbourne in mid-2019 to serve as content director for KIIS 101.1. He got his start in radio in the UK, serving in production and programming roles at Essex Radio Group and Global Radio. In Australia, he has worked as assistant program director for Nova Sydney and content director at i98 for WIN.

= 20. Erica McGee

Erica McGee has served as the content director of Southern Cross Austereo’s high-rating Mix 94.5 for almost seven years, helping the station to several #1 survey results in that time. She previously worked as a journalist, assistant CD and EO at SCA Perth, as well as having stints at Canberra FM, i98 and Triple M Sydney.

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Recent comments (25)
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18 Jun 2020 - 8:54 am

You’ve got to be joking you guys are always so biased towards Southern Cross Austereo. Only FOUR females out of twenty thats terrible. What about Grant Blackley wasn’t he Group CD for past few years.

18 Jun 2020 - 8:58 am

Fitzy ahead of Gemma? That’s performance based? Or is this the “good bloke” index?

18 Jun 2020 - 9:22 am

Has Radio Today got those pics of Peter Clay in the spa with David Campbell and Michael Buble ? Love to see !

18 Jun 2020 - 9:29 am

An overwhelmingly white male panel selecting the music Australia listens to. Props to the four women in the list, but surely we can do better fostering a more diverse line-up of up content influencers from the ground up.

18 Jun 2020 - 9:51 am

Are Mike Byrne and Greg Byrne actually related ? Good seeing Mike back on the metro list. But how can Greg be on there ? He only just started and he’s lost several key staff already – Alan Jones and John Burns. And putting Ben into breakfast will never work.

18 Jun 2020 - 10:16 am

Dear Mr Diversity which female metro content directors do you think should be included on the list ? Keen to hear your view and maybe they will be included next year ? Does anyone have any good suggestions ?

18 Jun 2020 - 10:58 am

Does the release of this list mean 2020 is over already? If so… good.

18 Jun 2020 - 11:02 am

How do you define ‘Top’? A few of these listings have seen their network or station go backwards since they took the helm.

18 Jun 2020 - 11:09 am

Nice list but thought Gary Roberts did the 96fm turn around recently. With respect Duncan got it wrong for more than 5 years and also got 97fm wrong. Lucky for him Kyle and Jackie left SCA all I can say.

18 Jun 2020 - 11:25 am

This is one area in real need of diversity.
Virtually a boy’s club, and where are the indigenous people?

18 Jun 2020 - 12:56 pm

16 white males make up the top 20 CDs. Not a single person of colour on the list, and hardly any women. I hope everyone is using this as a wake-up call to diversify their teams. I would be interested to see how many people were hired by these companies in the last few years, who weren’t a white male.

18 Jun 2020 - 1:34 pm

Dear Amanda,
I was mostly referring to racial diversity rather than gender, though they are both lacking. How about fostering young talent through an apprenticeship style of program to balance some of the whiteness in the list. Encourage some new perspectives in the mainstream radio industry. It can’t hurt can it?

18 Jun 2020 - 4:11 pm

And not a single one of them has produced even a minutes worth of radio worth listening to. It’s the same stuff now as it was 20 years ago when I first started. Secret sound anyone? Or maybe we’ll do a wedding, again. Don’t forget to parade wannabe celebs from whatever garbage reality TV show that happens to be popular at the moment. I could go on but I need to finish these bumpers for Beat the Bomb which starts next week.

18 Jun 2020 - 4:33 pm

No Asian people. Unbelievable.

18 Jun 2020 - 5:36 pm

I agree where are all the females and diversity. I hope companies see this as a wake up call and start to mentor and foster diversity and there definitely needs to be more support for females in radio.

18 Jun 2020 - 6:00 pm

FFS Radio Today this list is a load of BS! Is it based on salary? Who you know? It should be based on results and sound of the station and the station’s achievements.

Let’s get real! The first 3 are always gonna be the top. Who cares.

Here is the problem with the rest.

4. Fitzy? Are you joking? MMM is a disaster across the board and has been for years. This guy destroyed the number 1 Melbourne breakfast show and put together a drive show that hasn’t worked either. So why is he at 4? This year has zero runs on the board.

5. Dan is a great CD but has zero runs on the board this year. MMM has only gone down and while he was handed a turd from CD number 4, not a lot has gone well.

6. DB should always been here, it’s programming list, he programs well.

7. Ben yep!
8. You won’t print my thoughts.
9. Rex has seen good increases in Sydney this year and is working the breakfast show hard. Well deserved.
10. Heard this kid is great, so yep. But what is he doing?
11. Pete should be in the list, smooth is solid.
12. Gifted a strong breakfast show.
13. Barry keeps getting 973 back from the back. Somehow!
14. No runs on the board, just in the list to be polite.
15. Mike B is a good guy and WS has great things to come under him. Solid first 6 months.
16. Amanda hasn’t had a great year, the Fox is off from the good old days, but still deserves to be on the list.
18. Only been back in the country for 5 minutes, should be on next years list.
19. Are you kidding? She should be much higher up. Look at Gold and what they’ve done in the last 12 months.
20. Tony has no runs on the board at Kiss and Erica should be there, she’s driven that station back to the top.

Also, I don’t subscribe to the male v female battle. If a female is the best then awesome, she’s on the list. Same for guys. Wouldn’t it be more offensive to females if they were making up the numbers or appeared as a token?

Wake up
18 Jun 2020 - 6:04 pm

No one is hiring based on gender and race these days. You hire the best people for the job! How about a congratulations to the top 10, and for the bottom 10 words of encouragement to get into the top 10 next year.

Disco Stu
18 Jun 2020 - 10:15 pm

Hot Tomato can’t seem to win an ACRA and their CD doesn’t
get a look in here either.
We need a royal commission.

19 Jun 2020 - 6:23 am

I hope Duncan buys Derek and Gary a bottle of something from the top shelf!

19 Jun 2020 - 9:14 pm

Wow we might be celebrating excellence but we are certainly not celebrating diversity and in particular gender with only 4 women.
What year are we in?

Charles Tuna
21 Jun 2020 - 7:32 pm

What Mickey said, what have they actually done ? Can you let us know, maybe introducing thee no back or pre announcing songs mantra or ditching time calls maybe ? as for Greg B , nice fella , but what’s he done ” Since joining Nine, he’s been at the helm of the biggest talent shakeup in years at the network. ” What shake up ???? Jones left ? thats it

22 Jun 2020 - 8:47 am

It looks as if this list has taken into account two key things. Firstly the degree of difficulty in each role, number of stations etc how can you possibly compare Gemma who looks after 30 stations to Sue who looks after one, Gold. Whilst Sue and Gold have done well, it was already successful and they transplanted a high rating UK show and backed it with millions of dollars marketing.
Secondly is level of responsibility. Some of these roles look after 30/40/70 stations so very hard compare to those who look over 1-2 stations.

23 Jun 2020 - 9:41 pm

Looks like you have to be in an East Coast market to be truly recognised… too bad if you choose to live anywhere else, it appears you won’t me ranked on talent alone and the job you do.

Ralph Midnight
25 Jun 2020 - 2:21 am

Just one with imagination & fortitude.

Just one who would challenge the accepted rules and break the chains.

Just one who we could look to and feel confidence that radio was in safe hands.

Vision. Radio has none.

young announcer
27 Jun 2020 - 7:44 pm

as a young female in radio, i am disheartened. it just another example of why it’s so hard for me and fellow females in this industry. how incredibly disappointing, and its not changing


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