Commercial Radio and Audio has announced the finalists for the 34th Australian Commercial Radio & Audio Awards. Winners will be revealed in a red-carpet, radio-star-studded extravaganza at the ICC in Sydney on Saturday, Oct. 14.
Australia’s top radio personalities are vying for the coveted Best Team on Air Award. The 2022 Hall of Fame Winners Kyle Sandilands and Jackie Henderson (The Kyle and Jackie O Show, KIIS 1065, Sydney) are in the running to win for a possible ninth time for the Metro award. They are against perennially popular Jonesy and Amanda (Brendan Jones and Amanda Keller, WSFM, Sydney), Perth breakfast team Nathan, Nat and Shaun (Nathan Morris, Natalie Locke and Shaun McManus, Nova 93.7 Perth) and The Christian O’Connell Show (GOLD104.3 Melbourne). Ricki-Lee Coulter is nominated for the first time as part of the Ricki-Lee, Tim and Joel team (alongside Tim Blackwell and Joel Creasey, Nova Network).
The new Individual Talent of the Year Award — awarded to an individual (who may be part of a team) who demonstrates a strong rapport with an audience — has drawn overwhelming entries from across the nation. The Metro 2023 finalists for this award are Christian O’Connell (GOLD104.3 Melbourne), Ryan “Fitzy” Fitzgerald (Nova 96.9 Sydney), Ray Hadley (2GB Sydney), Jase Hawkins (KIIS 101.1 Melbourne), Jackie Henderson (KIIS 1065 Sydney), “Ugly” Phil O’Neil (WSFM Sydney) and Kyle Sandilands (KIIS 1065 Sydney).
Winner of the 2022 ACRA for Best Newcomer On-Air, 4BC Brisbane’s Sofie Formica is nominated for Best Talk Presenter (Metro), alongside Ben Fordham, Ray Hadley and John Stanley from 2GB Sydney and Neil Mitchell and Tom Elliott from 3AW Melbourne.
Three Melbourne stations are among the five finalists for the inaugural Station of the Year Award (Metro), which recognizes the station exemplifying the best in innovation and taking creative risks while holding high levels of support for listeners: 3AW, GOLD104.3 and The Fox. The other two finalists are Sydney’s KIIS 1065 and Peth-based Nova 93.7.
Non-metro contenders are 90.9 Sea FM (Gold Coast), River 949 (Ipswich), Mix 106.3 (Canberra) and Star 104.5 (Central Coast).
The Best Networked Show Award finalists for this year are Jonesy and Amanda (Brendan Jones and Amanda Keller, WSFM, ARN), The Kyle and Jackie O Show Hour of Power (Kyle Sandilands and Jackie Henderson, KIIS Network, ARN), Ricki-Lee, Tim and Joel (Ricki-Lee Coulter, Tim Blackwell and Joel Creasey, Nova Network, NOVA Entertainment), Rush Hour QLD (Elliott Lovejoy and Annabelle Brett, Triple M Rush Hour QLD, SCA), Rush Hour with JB and Billy (James Brayshaw and Billy Brownless, Triple M, VIC, SCA) and Will and Woody (Will McMahon and Woody Whitelaw, KIIS Network, ARN).
This year, the ACRAs will recognize commercial radio’s passion for supporting Australian music and artists by announcing the winner of the “Gudinski,” or the Australian Music Champion Award named in honor of the late Mushroom Records founder Michael Gudinski. Tim Blackwell (Nova Network), K-Sera (CADA/2ONE, Katoomba), Triple M’s Homegrown with Matty O (Matthew O’Gorman, Julia Di Gregorio, Chris Holland, Kalun Townsend, Triple M Melbourne, SCA) and The Maddy Rowe Aus Music Show (Jodie Williams and Maddy Rowe, Nova Network), are vying for the award.
Recognizing the growing popularity of podcasts
The ACRAs also feature two new podcast awards: Podcast of the Year and Podcast Host. The organizers added the podcast category last year, signifying the strong growth in podcast listening and a passion for Australian-made content.
Podcast of the Year Award finalists are the following: Concealed with Art Simone (iHeart Melbourne, ARN), Hamish and Andy (LiSTNR, Melbourne, SCA), She’s on the Money (iHeart Melbourne, ARN), Stories of Origin (9Podcasts, Sydney, Nine Radio), The Children in The Pictures (LiSTNR, Sydney/Melbourne, SCA), The Space (Nova Podcasts, NOVA Entertainment) and You Don’t Know Me (LiSTNR, Sydney, SCA).
Podcast Host of the Year Award finalists are Abbie Chatfield (It’s a Lot, LiSTNR Sydney, SCA), Casey Donovan (The Space, Nova Podcasts, NOVA Entertainment), Phil “Gus” Gould (Six Tackles with Gus, 9Podcasts, Sydney, Nine Radio), Tanya Hennessy (Hennessy’s Hotline, Nova Podcasts, NOVA Entertainment) and Art Simone (Concealed with Art Simone, iHeart Melbourne, ARN).
Ford Ennals, CEO of CRA, organizers of the ACRAs, said that the record number of nominations received this year and the broad mix of finalists across metro, provincial and country stations recognizes the outstanding talent that goes to making the shows and content Australians trust and love, across news, talk, sport, music and entertainment.
“Congratulations to all the finalists. Your peers have acknowledged you as being the best and the brightest in a thriving and creative commercial radio and audio industry. There are more women finalists this year than for any other ACRA Awards. Fifteen of the 16 finalists for Best New Talent on Air Award (Metro) and over 40% for the new Individual Talent of the Year Award category are women, including five of the six provincial category finalists,” Ford said.
The inaugural ACRA Diversity and Inclusion Award acknowledges the company that has made the most significant advancement in supporting DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging) and champions the advancement of diverse and marginalized groups within their organization.
Finalists for the award are the following: Internship Program (Nine Radio), Our Pride (Triple M, Sydney), People Experience (Nova Entertainment, National) and the People and Culture Team (SCA, Sydney).
The ACRAs organizers received over 1200 entries from across Australia for this year’s awards, up 15% from 2022, with a broad mix of finalists from metro, provincial and country Australia. Industry members peer judge the winners. For the first time, the ACRAs include an independent judge for each category who will also be the arbiter in the case of a tie.
“The 34th ACRA Awards will celebrate 100 years of commercial radio in Australia. And while we honor a century of music, news, entertainment and connection, we crown those ensuring commercial radio’s continued vibrancy and relevance across Australia,” Ford said.
Tickets for the ACRAs go on sale Sept. 4.