EXCLUSIVE: Australian radio’s 15 most influential music minds, according to the music industry
Music is one of the most powerful elements of any radio brand. In many cases, music makes up more than half of a station’s on-air product.
Crafting playlists and fine-tuning spin counts, the best music minds in radio have an ability to challenge established ways of thinking, while also displaying an awareness of the current musical landscape and evolving audience trends.
In collaboration with the Australian music industry, TMN presents the 15 most influential radio music minds in Australia, ranked according to reputation, credibility, market size, experience, format competitiveness and a track record of taking risks on debut acts.
1. Paul Jackson – group program director, NOVA Entertainment
One of the only executives on the list, Jackson is the known maestro behind NOVA Entertainment’s national music strategy. He was responsible for breaking artists like Sam Hunt, Portugal. The Man, Morgan Evans and Gang Of Youths through to commercial radio last year and continues to make Nova a trendsetter in 2018.
2. Irene Hulme – head of music & entertainment partnerships, Hit Network
Hulme oversees all things music across the largest radio network in Australia. She moved to the newly created position of network head of music and entertainment partnerships in October 2015. Hulme was behind the creation of Hits and Old Skool and the hugely popular RnB Fridays.
3. Richard Kingsmill – group music director, triple j
Kingsmill leads and coordinates national music strategies for youth broadcaster triple j, digital stations Unearthed and Double J, as well as ABC Local Radio. With over 30 years working in the industry, he is a key figure in the Australian indie music scene.
4. Brad McNicol – music director, KIIS 106.5 / KIIS 101.1
Music directing for the top FM station in Sydney (including breakfast program Kyle and Jackie O Show), McNicol’s music is widely heard in the harbour city. With over 10 years of music directing at ARN, he moulds the playlist for both KIIS stations in Australia.
5. Jack Ball – assistant content director / music director, Hit105
Ball is a champion for homegrown music and has been pivotal in shifting the spotlight onto Aussie artists at Hit 105 Brisbane. Ball has held many music-related positions across SCA having worked in three of Australia’s five radio markets.
6. Nick Findlay – music director, triple j
Promoted to music director in April last year, Findlay curates the music for Australia’s most renowned music radio brand. Since stepping up to the new role, Findlay has played a crucial role in shaping the unique sound and continued success of triple j moving forward.
7. Scott Baker-Smith – head of music, Nova network
Making a move to Nova in 2013 after a stint at SCA, Baker-Smith was promoted to head of music for the network in 2017. Together with Paul Jackson, the pair spearhead Nova’s nationwide musical strategy
8. Dan Hill – music director / operations manager, Fox FM
With stints at Sea FM Gold Coast, Hit92.9 Perth, NXFM, 2DayFM, Hit105, ACRA-nominee Dan Hill took the reigns at Fox FM in January 2016. Boasting the Hit Network’s only #1 breakfast show in a metro market (Fifi, Fev & Byron), Fox is a crucial destination for label’s to get their music heard.
9. Kate Mason – head of music, smooth network
As the leading AC radio brand in the country, smoothfm are moving from strength-to-strength under the watchful eye of MD Kate Mason. The network has a combined audience of over 1.5 million across Sydney and Melbourne.
10. Trent Towson – assistant content director, 90.9 Sea FM & regional Hit network
Crowned the best provincial music director at the 2017 ACRAs, Towson crafts the music logs at ratings-leading station Sea FM Gold Coast. He also curates the playlist for the Hit Regional Network made up of more than 30 stations across Australia.
11. Georgina Ingham-Myers – program manager / music director, Nova 106.9
With a slate of announcing, news reading and music directing credits to her name, Ingham-Myers has been the MD at Nova Brisbane since 2012. The station is pulling strong ratings both at Breakfast (Ash, Kip & Luttsy) and Drive (Kate, Tim & Marty).
12. Andy Sichter – network music director, Triple M regional
With over 35 years in commercial radio, Sichter has a long list of music directing credits. He’s had stints at 4KZ, 4LG, 4AY, 4TO, 4AY/4RR, 8DN, Radio West, 6GGG, 3CV, 4TO/4TO-FM, DMG Northern Hub, DMG Southern Hub, 4TO-FM, Magic107 and Mix94.5. He currently oversees music on Triple M’s Regional Network which includes 30 radio stations around Australia.
13. Kiri Martin – music director, 2DayFM
Previously at Fox FM Melbourne and Sea FM Gold Coast, Martin’s current home 2DayFM Sydney went through a reorientation of its music strategy in early 2017. This move (amongst other changes) has upped the station’s ratings and ushered in a diverse new wave of listeners.
14. Jeff Burzacott – music director, Mix 1023 & Cruise 1323
A former SCA program director, Burzacott has broad experience in both an on-air and programming capacity at a number of Australian radio networks. He’s now the MD at Adelaide’s undisputed #1 radio station MIX 1023.
15. Josh McCabe – music director, Nova 93.7
Prior to his tenure at Nova 93.7, McCabe was Music Director for B105 in Brisbane, fellow network station Nova 96.9 Sydney and SAFM in Adelaide. He has over 10 years of programming experience.