Matt Tilley’s new radio challenge: Hosting a solo show on Nova

• Day one on air at Nova for former Fox FM and KIIS 101.1 brekky host

By James Manning

The breakfast radio veteran’s teenage children won’t be asking dad when he’s going to get a job anymore.

Matt Tilley left ARN at the end of 2017, vowing to take a year off, after co-hosting KIIS Melbourne breakfast with Meshel Laurie.

Not that he was home that much. Tilley travelled a bit and indulged some of his cycling fantasies. Those trips included visits to Belgium, Amsterdam, Northern France and then later in the year another trip took in the Pyrenees and the Dolomites.

Tilley told Mediaweek he didn’t really think too much about what his next radio role might be, or even if he’d stay with the industry. “I was too excited about having the year off.”

Matt Tilley (right) and Troy Ellis at Fox FM a decade ago. With them are breakfast guests Michala Banas and Miranda Kerr

Tilley also did some study, taking on a Diploma of Business (Governance) for not-for-profits. Tilley even launched his own charity raising money for various homelessness organisations.

“That became a fulltime job for a couple of months. It is called the Aussie Dollar Drop and the Victorian Andrews Government agreed to match every dollar we raised.”

The charities sharing the money include The Salvation Army, The Big Issue, Melbourne City Mission and Berry Street.

“The idea was that if everybody gave on dollar on one day [that day was the Victoria State Election] then that could be millions.”

Tilley ultimately decided to return to radio instead of working fulltime on Aussie Dollar Drop. “If I was to pay myself a salary from that then not enough was going to the people who needed it. I will let it find its feet and I have decided to go back to work.

I had decided I really loved radio and it felt like it was what I do. Around that time I got a call from Nova out of the blue.

That call came from Nova Melbourne PD Rohan Brown. “He asked me if I wanted to meet for lunch, tomorrow! I then caught up with Paul Jackson two days later and the deal was pretty much done.

“It all happened very quickly and I liked the idea.”

After years in breakfast radio Tilley noted mornings would be very different to a breakfast shift, first and foremost because he will be on air by himself.

“I am used to a very frenetic pace and that is not what we are looking for. I like that challenge.”

Nova is very keen to promote Tilley as the host, wanting more than just someone to announce the odd tune and a few weather updates.

“Nova has just been unbelievable. I keep saying to them are you sure about this?’ ”[Laughs]

After a long time at Fox with Austereo and then Southern Cross Austereo, Tilley said he found ARN very a big change.

“They were completely different. Their management structure through to the way they looked after people was very different.”

Tilley then suggested it was not too early to pass judgement on his new home.

“I find first impressions important and I have been amazed. Nova is a very fun, fresh place to work and everyone likes being there.

Tilley has a few former colleagues at his new workplace, none more familiar than his longtime Fox breakfast colleague Troy Ellis. “He is on air after me each day and it’s like having your little brother here.

“Rohan Brown was with us at Fox for years and his wife was the producer on my breakfast show for a while.”

When describing the Nova music, Tilley called his playlist “fun and familiar”.

He added there is no “weird-ass urban. That’s probably not a category, I just made it up.”

Is he nervous starting a new show at a new station? “For sure – particularly because it is me by myself. I won’t be able to hide behind anyone else’s bad performances.”

His brief from Nova was simple. “They want the ratings to go up. I get the feeling there is more to it though. Spotify and things like that are powerful competitors now. Just offering good music is possibly not enough. There needs to be music and entertainment.”

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