Nova CEO Cathy O’Connor tops 40 Most Influential People in Australian Radio list

Nova Entertainment CEO Cathy O’Connor has taken the crown for most influential person in Australian radio according to a list compiled by Radio Today, up from third place in 2018.

O’Connor beat fellow CEOs, Australian Radio Network’s Ciaran Davis, Southern Cross Austereo’s Grant Blackley, and Macquarie Media’s Adam Lang for the top spot.

The list, compiled by the Radio Today team, takes eight weeks to pull together, and involves number crunching, industry insider opinions and debates, the publication said. This is the first year it’s been topped by a woman, and women make up 27.5% of the list, up from 22.5% in 2018 when Minister for Communications Mitch Fifield took the top spot. 2018 also saw Radio Today compile a list of 50, compared to 2019’s 40.

In 2019, only executives working full time in a radio station or network were considered, with ARN and Macquarie Media the only two networks with no women in qualifying executive positions.

Based on the new criteria, Mitch Fifield, Lachlan Murdoch, Michelle Guthrie, Michael Mason, Rob Atkinson, Peter Bush, Robert Kaye, Russell Tate, Guy Dobson and Ollie Wards were all dropped from the list.

Behind O’Connor in the top spot, Davis took second, Blackley third, and Lang fourth. The top 10 was rounded out with Paul Jackson, Nova group program director, Duncan Campbell, ARN group content director, Joan Warner, CEO Commercial Radio Australia, Mike Fitzpatrick, head of content Triple M Network, Ita Butrose, ABC chair and Gemma Fordham head of content, Hit Network.

The full list:

40 Most Influential People in Australian Radio in 2019

1. Cathy O’Connor – Chief Executive Officer, NOVA Entertainment

2. Ciaran Davis – Chief Executive Officer, Australian Radio Network

3. Grant Blackley – Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director, Southern Cross Austereo

4. Adam Lang – Chief Executive Officer, Macquarie Media

5. Paul Jackson – Group Program Director, NOVA Entertainment

6. Duncan Campbell – Group Content Director, Australian Radio Network

7. Joan Warner – Chief Executive Officer, Commercial Radio Australia

8. Mike Fitzpatrick – Head of Content, Triple M Network (SCA)

9. Ita Buttrose – Chair, Australian Broadcasting Corporation

10. Gemma Fordham – Head of Content, Hit Network (SCA)

11. John Kelly – Chief Operating Officer, Southern Cross Austereo

12. Janet & Alison Cameron – Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Grant Broadcasters

13. David Anderson – Managing Director, Australian Broadcasting Corporation

14. Kevin Blyton – Chair, Capital Radio Group

15. Derek Bargwanna – Head of Content, KIIS Sydney & Melbourne (ARN)

16. Ben Latimer – Program Director, Nova 96.9 & Nova 91.9 (NE)

17. Peter Clay – Head of Programming, Nova 96.9 & smoothfm Network (NE)

18. Irene Hulme – Head of Music, Hit Network (SCA)

19. Mickey Maher – Head of Music, Triple M (SCA)

20. Chris Scaddan – Head of Music, Australian Broadcasting Corporation

21. Jeremy Millar – Strategy & Transformation, Australian Broadcasting Corporation

22. Jay Walkerden – Head of Podcasting & Nova 106.9 Program Director, NOVA Entertainment

23. Brendan Taylor – Group Program Operations Director, NOVA Entertainment

24. Rowly & Judy Paterson – Executive Directors, ACE Radio Network

25. Dave Cameron – General Manager, Southern Cross Austereo Melbourne

26. Grant Tothill – Head of Podcasting, PodcastOne (SCA)

27. Dan Bradley – Content Director, Triple M Melbourne (SCA)

28. Michael Harvey – Chief Operating & Financial Officer, Australian Radio Network

29. Scott Muller – Content Director, WSFM (ARN)

30. Geraint Davies – Chief Operating Officer, iHeartRadio Australia (ARN)

31. Bill Caralis – Managing Director, Super Radio Network

32. Tony Thomas – Chief Marketing and Digital Officer, NOVA Entertainment

33. Anthony Xydis – Chief Marketing Officer, Australian Radio Network

34. Nikki Clarkson – Head of Marketing and Communication, Southern Cross Austereo

35. Mathew Eggleston – Hit Network National Operations Manager, Southern Cross Austereo

36. Jane Elliot – Publicity Director, NOVA Entertainment

37. Adrian Brine – Head of Talent Development Southern Cross Austereo

38. Gary Roberts – Managing Director, 96FM (ARN)

39. Jamie Angel – Content Director, Triple M Sydney (SCA)

40. Amanda Lee – Content Director, Fox FM (SCA)


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