Hit105’s Jack Ball wins best music director at annual radio awards
Other nominees included Georgina Ingham-Myers from Nova 106.9 Brisbane, Scott Baker-Smith from Nova 100 Melbourne and Dan Hill from Fox FM Melbourne.
Talking to TMN after receiving the coveted peer recognition, Ball spoke of how the music director role has evolved since his first stint in Newcastle a decade ago.
“Back then, it used to be all about developing that magical ear that nobody else had. It was such an ego-driven role to want to be that person who could pick the next hit,” says Ball. “The longer I did it, the less it became about that.
“What a good music director does now, at least for a CHR format, is more about understanding your audience, what they want and when. And know how to deliver on that, which is such a broad target to hit.
“If you can nail that, it comes down to what you can do next. It’s not just about up-tempo songs in the morning and care-free songs on the weekend. The best music directors have a local connection to their audience.”
Ball has been a major supporter of both new music and Australian repertoire during his time at Southern Cross Austereo, having recently elevated to content director at the Hit Network station following Mathew Eggleston’s move to SCA’s Sydney headquarters.
“If you think about why Australian music is important on a cultural level, and from a business point of view, if a record label has an Aussie hit they make more money than if they had an international hit.
“So there is always a business reason behind cultural importance,” says Ball.
When asked by TMN why he has become a cult favourite among Australian record label executives, Ball singled out his grasp on the commercial realities for the record biz.
“It’s taken me a long time to understand what success looks like to [labels] and what part radio plays in that. We can get behind any international song, or any song early, and show the support.
“But when there is an international act and an Australian act chasing a #1, that’s the time we can really get behind the local act and help.”
There were two more gongs for Best Music Director awarded on the weekend: Mike Ormond-Birch from Sea FM Tasmania in the country category and Andrew Very from Gold 92.5 Gold Coast in the provincial category.
Australian music was also on display at radio’s night of nights at the Royal International Convention Centre with performances by Morgan Evans, Illy and Samantha Jade entertaining over 900 industry executives.
Triple M’s funnymen The Chaser hosted the evening, taking comical swipes at KIIS FM’s Kyle Sandilands and Jakie ‘O’ Henderson.
Other major winners included WSFM’s Brendan Jones and Amanda Keller, who beat stablemates Sandilands and Henderson to be crowned Best Best On-Air Team.
Jones and Keller invited their producing team on stage to collect the coveted award: “It takes a village,” said Jones.
The win caps off a big year for the much-loved duo, who have notched up 14 years on-air together. They previously won the coveted award in 2012 and 2014.
Other top metro winners included smoothfm’s Georgie Paige, who collected the gong for Best Program Director, and Fox FM breakfast executive producer Leon Sjogren for Best Show Producer.
Southern Cross Austereo won 33 awards, more than any other network. They were followed by NOVA Entertainment with 13, Grant Broadcasters with 12, and Australian Radio Network with 10.