Top 30 FM stars of all time: Top 10

This week, following my 'great talent matters' article, I have been counting down my Top 30 FM stars of all-time in Australia. There have been some world standard talent on radio in this country. 

Any list of this nature will be subjective, and I welcome your thoughts on the list that I have put together. Criteria considered was this: individuals and teams who consistently delivered great radio content, have had longevity on the air, achieve high ratings and are unique and innovative. I also considered market size, shift, format and national coverage.

There were a few who narrowly missed the cut - honourable mentions go to Fred Botica, Barry Bissell, Amanda Blair, Dave Gibson, Tim Smith and John Vincent.

Just to recap, here are numbers 30 to 11:

30 Robyn Bailey 20 Marty Sheargold
29 Club Veg 19 Jono and Dano
28 Adam Hills 18 James Brayshaw
27 The Cage 17 Mick Molloy
26 Brigitte Duclos 16 Peter Moon
25 Grubby & Dee Dee 15 The D-Generation
24 Fifi Box 14 Eddie McGuire
23 Jamie Dunn 13 Merrick and Rosso
22 Tracy Bartram 12 The Grill Team (3MMM)
21 Ugly Phil 11 Richard Stubbs

So here we go - now for the Top 10.

10 Tony Martin
9 Andrew Denton
8 Roy & HG
7 Hughesy & Kate
6 Amanda Keller
5 Matt Tilley
4 Doug Mulray
3 Wendy Harmer


The Top 3 were challenging, and in the end I have gone for two teams at equal number two.

2 (equal) Hamish & Andy
2 (equal) Martin/Molloy


And on my list of the Top 30 FM commercial radio stars of all-time, the number one show is Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O.


What are your thoughts, is there anyone who I should have included, or any rankings you would change? Or anyone that you dont think should be there!

Would be great to hear your comments.

Soon on Radio Today I’ll list the most promising newcomers on FM radio.


Published on Friday, 16 March 2012 06:00

sjp(7:25am 16 Mar 2012)
Kyle and Jackie O? Really? If this is ranking talent, I think you've misfired.

Also, I'm glad that Tony Martin got an individual nod as well as the Martin/Molloy nod, but why not any mention of Ed Kavalee, as I assume that Tony's individual ranking is to do with Get This?
Paul D(7:32am 16 Mar 2012)

Those scumbags at #1?

It's like saying the Big Mac is the best good of all time because it sells heaps and you can get it everywhere.
Shay(7:55am 16 Mar 2012)
Love it #1 Kyle and Jackie O
djcox(8:15am 16 Mar 2012)
You had me until number 2.

But then it was like when Letterman's Top 10 peaks at #2 then rights of #1 with a bad joke.
Jodes(8:15am 16 Mar 2012)
What. The. Hell? You put clever, funny, fabulous Martin & Molloy beneath that Vile Kyle and Jackie Ogre? They're morons! Vicious, vacuous, pathetic and entirely unfunny morons.

Oh, and btw what about Richard Kingsmill or Maynard F# Crabbes?
christian(8:37am 16 Mar 2012)
i did not realise that simply appealing to the lowest common denominator was considered talent and success. trashtainment more like it.
Gilded Billy(9:34am 16 Mar 2012)
Living proof that a countdown still pulls an audience.... I've been looking forward to seeing the conclusion to this list. Can't believe Barry Bissell hasn't made the 30 (nay top 20!!!) - a radio guy who has defied trends, fashion.... Could've made a pretty solid case for Rob Duckworth who has also demonstrated a knack for relevance and reinvention throughout the 'ages'. Good fun exercise which would've had a few extra turns if some AM stars of the 3XY / 2SM era could've been added.
Anonymous(9:58am 16 Mar 2012)
You are kidding
90 percent of the audience don't listen to Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O Henderson.
What about intelligent people like Martin and Molloy, Wendy Harmer or Hamish and Andy for top spot.
Surely this is a joke?
Anonymous(10:31am 16 Mar 2012)
Really? Those clowns at #1? I was with you til then. Kyle and Jackie O are an insipid pair who don't belong on air, let alone on this list. Drop #1, seperate the tie at number 2 and make Martin/Molloy #1. They were groundbreaking and downright funny!
Anonymous(10:35am 16 Mar 2012)
I think you got the top 2 mixed up. Martin/Molloy are why I got into radio in the first place. Kyle and Jackie O are everything that is wrong with commercial radio today.
andy j(10:42am 16 Mar 2012)
Really interesting list!

I agree with Mark though. As a 'non radio industry' person I can't believe that Barry Bissell did not make the list. Twenty years in a row on the FOX, and relevant and entertaining across the range of formats that they had over the years speaks for itself (not to mention his 20 years on Take 40 Australia as well). And what about Lee Simon on EON/Triple M??

Great read though.
Tarryn(12:23pm 16 Mar 2012)
I agree with those who mention the talented and smart Barry Bissell, in my eyes a legend of FM radio. I grew up listening to him. He belongs on any list of top FM stars. And may I also mention the very successful 90's announcer "Ugly" Phil O'Neill, who liked to have a laugh but was never nasty and classless unlike Mr. Sandilands. In his day, Phil totally revitalised the night-time countdown format and had a huge following. He made it cool for young people to listen to the radio again. In my opinion he belongs on this list in place of Kyle.
Mel(12:24pm 16 Mar 2012)
Is this for real?
The show where Sandilands threatened to "hunt down" a young female, while O tittered in the background.
Make disgusting jokes about Magda and concentration camps.
Strap a 14 year old to a lie detector, bully staff on air, run fake phone callers etc?
This must be an early April fool's joke.
BJ(12:27pm 16 Mar 2012)
Kyle and Jackie O are trash. Giving them this kind of stuff is just ammunition for them to justify their pathetic careers.

The fact that three entries in the top 13 contain Tony Martin would suggest Tony Martin is the best all round.
Jason(12:53pm 16 Mar 2012)
You're either a moron or on the payroll of the company that employs kyle and jackieo. What a joke! Martin/Molloy number one by a long shot.
dan(13:05pm 16 Mar 2012)
Some strong opinions - which is the beauty of a list like this, it generates discussion and debate due to its subjectivity.

Brad has listed 'his' top 30, not anyone else's, not mine, not Gregs, not Scotts, not yours - it is completely subjective.

If in his opinion K&J are the #1, then that's fair enough. I wouldn't have had them at that position, but I certainly would have had them top 4 or 5. That said, I can see the reasoning why Brad would have them where he has.
djcox(13:22pm 16 Mar 2012)
Good Call Anonymous from (11:31am 16 Mar 2012)

"...Drop #1, seperate the tie at number 2 and make Martin/Molloy #1. They were groundbreaking and downright funny!"
brad march(13:22pm 16 Mar 2012)
Thanks everyone for your comments. Agree Barry Bissells Take 40 should have been in the 30. It was a difficult list to put together !!!!

Regarding Kyle and Jackie at Number 1 - I took into account a few things. They have been together as a team for over 12 years now and 7 years as the Number 1 FM breakfast in the Number 1 most competitive market Sydney . Its also a more competitive era than when there were say only 2 FM's.

As a Programmer I know that doing a competitive Breakfast show is a lot tougher than a Drive show and they continue to deliver world standard radio content. I don't think a few errors of judgement recently during ' live ' radio should cloud that achievement. They've won countless ACRA nominations and continue to set the benchmark for Breakfast radio.

Everyone on the Top 30 list have been brilliant contributors to the very creative, competitive market that is Australian radio.

Thanks for your comments and your interest. Look forward to your votes on the poll.

Scott Muller(13:32pm 16 Mar 2012)
I'm outraged, Brad! Genuinely outraged! So outraged I had to storm out twice to slam the door behind me a second time.

Not by K&JO at #1, but by Tony's photo. Not only is he on the list several times - both in his own right and as part of teams - he's somehow also managed to appear in Denton's photo.

Steve(13:36pm 16 Mar 2012)
Interesting and yes good debate, but i feel more passionate about people who have been left off the list, Bissel, Sparks and maybe Stuart Cranney, whilst all music jocks i'd still call them starts. I probably would have put them above say Robyn Bailey but it is all subjectivity!
keith fowler(14:35pm 16 Mar 2012)
This exercise also underscores why Brad had a long history as successful content director (before the phrase was coined). As every one weighs in with their opinion, some very passionately and personally, consider this, this is a piece of content for a site he has an interest in.

In his mind I would suspect the gap between those in the top 5 was minute, but the order of those 5 was guaranteed to make a difference to the reaction to the piece.

Now this is his list and I have no doubt this is his pragmatic order but I would believe he was very aware the reaction would have been much less passionate and the response lower if numbers 2 3 4 5 had made number 1.

"Your audience can love you or hate you indifference will kill you"

engaging and compelling
Anonymous(14:35pm 16 Mar 2012)
I think the list was really good and I've been checking in all week. However, as a listener I was really disappointed when I saw #1... really?

Frankly, I don't think Kyle would have even made it onto a list of The Top 10 Kyles of All Time.

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