Radio Awards: Network scores, K&J, Ray, Grant and Lee Simon talk

Kyle and Jackie O connections win five of ARN’s 10 ACRAs

Kyle Sandilands was in a grumpy mood Monday as he explained why he didn’t head to the ACRAs on Saturday as originally planned.

Co-host Jackie Henderson said at the start of their KIIS FM Sydney breakfast show: “We don’t even show up and we get more press than if we were there. I was never going to go.”

“It is one of the world’s worst events,” added Sandilands.

“Isn’t that every award show?” responded Henderson.

Later in the show, Sandilands dumped on the awards again, adding that Commercial Radio Australia wasn’t his favourite organisation either.

“What’s wrong with them?” asked his puzzled co-host.

After more strong of invective from Sandilands, Henderson said: “I hate it when you are like this,” alluding to his grumpy mood.

Sandilands thought about giving the victory speech he would have on Saturday night on the Monday show. He decided not to.

What Kyle and Jackie did do though was give one of their team, Pedro Cuccovillo Vitola, time to make his speech after winning the ACRA for Best Newcomer Off Air. Pedro thanked every one of his colleagues, eventually, and was dragged off air after the background music slowly increased in volume until it drowned him out.

Without the Kyle and Jackie O Show, ARN metro stations would have won only a single ACRA – for the Paul McCartney documentary One-On-One hosted by WSFM’s Amanda Keller.

Five of the 10 ARN ACRAs came from people working on the KIIS FM Sydney breakfast show (although Andy Procopis did win for his work on the KIIS and Gold networks).

Will Kyle Sandilands attend the ACRAs next year? Unlikely. He suggested he might attend in 2019. However, when he was told that would mean a trip to Brisbane, Sandilands said: “I hate going to the Awards when they are in a regional place like that.”

 ACRA winners: Network score sheet

Southern Cross Austereo 30
Nova Entertainment 14
Grant Broadcasting 12
Australian Radio Network 10
ACE Radio Network 10
Macquarie Media 6
Super Radio Network 4
WIN Radio 2
Capital Radio Network 2
Hot Tomato 1
Resonate Broadcasting 1
Andy Wells Media 1

 Grant Denyer’s latest trophy: Best Newcomer On Air

“Winning this award has blown me away,” said 2Day FM’s Grant Denyer after winning his ACRA on Saturday night. It has been a hell of a year for Denyer, who has already won the coveted TV Week Gold Logie.

Asked if he could keep doing radio despite his growing list of Network Ten commitments – Game Of Games and next Dancing With The Stars with Amanda Keller – Denyer told Mediaweek: “Radio I like. TV is very pre-planned and pre-determined. It is a slow-moving beast. Radio is kind of wild and loose, fast and exciting and that becomes addictive pretty quickly.

“While I don’t feel I’m very good at it just yet, there’s no way I want to stop. It is an adrenalin rush that is pretty hard to match.”

Denyer said he and his 2Day breakfast co-host Ed Kavalee don’t yet know what will be happening with their show in 2019. He wants to be involved though.

“It’s not only bloody good fun, but it makes me a lot better TV presenter as well. It has improved my television presenting out of sight.”

Denyer said the chance to work with Ed Kavalee was one of the reasons he joined the breakfast show.

Kavalee said the two have a great time on air. “We love each other,” Kavalee told Mediaweek. “Grant has come into radio and it couldn’t be more different from television. The show at 8am can be completely different from what we thought it would be at 6am.”

 Hall of famer: Lee Simon signs off from radio with ultimate accolade

Some of the warmest applause, including two standing ovations, was heard for departing Triple M announcer-turned-programmer-turned-producer Lee Simon, who was named 2018’s Hall Of Fame inductee.

“My career was started by absolute chance,” he told the audience as he started his eight-minute (“I’ll try to keep it tight”) speech.

“In 1971 I started working full-time for the ANZ Bank. One day in the city I was walking past 3AW and saw a sign for 3AW Radio School. I signed up for a 12-week course Tuesday and Thursday nights and halfway through Wayne Brown from 3AW took me aside and told me a job had come up for a panel operator. I didn’t have time to think about it because the job started the next Monday. So I said yes.”

Simon told how he quit the next day, then started at 3AW at 5.30am as panel operator for Peter James in 1971. It didn’t go well initially, but Simon survived.

“I ended up in Bega later that year after jagging a job up there. There was no music director and no music format. We did just whatever we wanted.

“I apologise to everybody in Bega for the bombastic British rock I played for the duration.”

Simon said the Bega playlist while he was on air there consisted of people like King Crimson and Uriah Heap.

He later return to Melbourne, working at 3DB and then in Hobart at “the wonderfully named” Boss Radio 7HT.

The radio great Holger Brockmann (aka Bill Drake) heard Simon on air and told him there was a job going at 2NX in Newcastle. “I didn’t have to think about that – 2NX at the time was part of the Digimay Group. It was a programming consultancy run by Rod Muir and they had glued together 4IP, 2MN, 2NX, 2SM, 3XY and I’m pretty sure 5AD in Adelaide too.

“There I was living the dream at 2NX. Rod Muir was king and he wore the crown.”

He soon moved to 2SM and then to his favourite radio station and the one he really wanted to work for – 3XY.

“A little TV show then came along. When I didn’t think my career could get any better, it did. At the end of the 70s I worked as program director for EON FM, building a radio station from scratch.

“I won’t go through the next 38 years because we don’t have the time. The story of Triple M is very well known – EON FM became Triple M.”

Simon was careful about not forgetting people during from thank-you list, but the ones he remembered included 3AW’s Wayne Brown, Rod Muir, Trevor Smith, Mike Webb, Garvin Rutherford, John Brennan, Mike Drayson, Dick Hemmings, Stan Rolfe for the Digimay years.

Simon thanked Michael Gudinski and Andrew McVitty for TV show Nightmoves. “It was the same as my day job, but with a few cameras.”

He mentioned he had been lucky to work with thousands of talented people during the Triple M years. Amongst his Triple M colleagues he mentioned Geoff Campbell, Bill Armstrong, Glenn Wheatley, Clive Simpson, Rod Muir, Trevor Smith, Ian Grace, John Kirby, Barry Chapman, Grant Blackley, Mike Fitzpatrick and Guy Dobson.

His final two acknowledgements were for longtime Southern Cross Austereo board member Peter Harvie and then a tribute to his mum and dad who supported him, his children and his wife Jan.

“Tonight is my official retirement and that is it from me. I walk away from this industry knowing it is in the best of hands.”

 Ray Hadley: Another award and another (much shorter) speech

The best on-air team for an AM station went to 2GB’s weekend warriors The Continuous Call Team. Accepting the award was the man who launched the show, 2GB’s Ray Hadley.

Ray Hadley

Hadley noted the show has been going for 31 years.

During his acknowledgements, Hadley mentioned the hard work by the women newsreaders in the 2GB newsroom, singling out ACRA winner Erin Maher and colleague Amie Meehan, who was earlier this year diagnosed with breast cancer. Hadley said she didn’t take much time off work during her treatment and had just recently been given the all clear.

He also paid tribute to Erin Molan, who joined the Continuous Call Team last year as the first female member, winning the ACRA for Best Newcomer in 2017. “She remains a very important part of the team,” Hadley told Mediaweek.

The multi-ACRA winning announcer said he’s faced a number of challenges this year away from the microphone. “I have to confront those challenges and they are still a concern.”

One of those challenges was helping his policeman son after he was arrested on drug charges earlier this year.

“My son is in recovery and hopefully he’ll make a full recovery, which could be a long time off. It has been tough. The fact that he was plastered all over the front of the newspaper, for a story that would normally be well inside, was difficult for him because he was my son. He is going okay. He is under treatment and he will continue that treatment for a fair while.”

Hadley was also at odds with Macquarie Media management after they accepted advertising from Clive Palmer for his reborn political party that filled much of the airtime on Hadley’s show.

“It’s not a matter of Clive Palmer advertising on the network. It’s a matter of him taking an ad in every break. He did it for a deliberate reason – to try to aggravate me – and he succeeded. It’s not good radio – it doesn’t work for him, for us or our listeners.”

Hadley said he was still enjoying the work. “The day I stop enjoying it is the day I give it up.”

With the weekend’s Wentworth by-election result, Hadley said there will be plenty of content. “It was fairly predictable. It will be a very testing period between now and the next federal election.”


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