EXCLUSIVE: Top New Talent to Watch in 2017

It's that time of year again; the team at Radio Today has scoured the nation and discovered some of the best new talents on Australian radio.

In previous editions, Radio Today have featured an impressive list; Seb Costello, Tommy Little, Ryan Jon, Kristie Mercer, Amos Gill, Tanya Hennessy, Heidi Anderson and Will & Woody - all have moved on to bigger and better gigs in cap city markets.

The Top New Talent to Watch in 2017 is put together in collaboration with Group CDs and Content Directors from regional and metro markets.

Exactly how significant is fresh on-air talent for radio? Well, that's best answered by the programmers - the finders and hirers of exceptional new talent in this business;

Guy Dobson, Group Creative Officer, SCA: “We all have the same tech, we all have the same transmitter, we all have the same wattage, we all have the same scheduling systems. Great talent is what separates us. Great talent is key in all areas of our business."

Gemma Fordham, Head of Content, SCA’s Hit Network: “Radio continues to thrive because it has an emotional connection. Talent connects. It’s as simple as that. It’s important as an industry to find and develop talent who have the potential to be something great.”

Paul Jackson, Group Program Director, NOVA Entertainment: “A strong radio brand coupled with great talent is a powerful and often winning factor in any market.”

Ollie Wards, National Content Director, triple j:  "triple j's presenters are our most important connection to the audience. Listeners have access to the world's back catalogue of music, but they turn to triple j presenters as trusted music recommenders. It's also important our on-air team are real people, who can naturally discuss anything from pop culture to serious issues that affect young people."

Mike Fitzpatrick, Head of Content, Triple M Network: “Talent is essential to radio. Without them, we're no more than a streaming service or jukebox. The key advantage is to find and nurture the great ones.”

Jay Walkerden, GM/CD, Nova Brisbane: “Finding and growing great talent isn’t part of the job... it is the job."

Duncan Campbell, National Content Director, ARN: “Investment in talent is a key priority for ARN. We have some of Australia’s most loved talent, and that has helped deliver some of the highest rating, long-term on-air partnerships of any network.”

Jeremy Millar, Head of Capital City Radio Group, ABC: “The best talent has expertise in investing in their personal brand – their engagement in social media and digital smarts counts more than ever.”

Sam Thompson, Content Director, KIIS 101.1 and GOLD104.3: “Talent drives the tone of the radio station. Great talent stirs emotion in the audience.”

Dave Cameron, Head of National Content and Development, SCA: “The only thing radio truly owns, is talent. Everything else is borrowed from other businesses making us just a delivery vehicle. The hardest working, non-conforming, square pegs are the reason radio lives on”.

Mickey Maher, Head of Content Regional, SCA: “Great talent doesn’t follow the pack, they carve their own path to find their individuality that makes them stand out amongst the rest.”

Derek Bargwanna, Head of Content KIIS Sydney and Melbourne, ARN: "World class talent is the make or break of a brand."

Peter Clay, Head of Programming Nova 96.9 & smoothfm Network: “Having great talent that fit into the culture is key to the station’s success, you can certainly hear it on air when you’re in a good work environment. If you surround yourself with the best people, it makes your job so much easier.”

2017 marks the fifth year of Radio Today's annual new talent list and all of this year’s names have been on-air full time in Australia for only three years or less, and we believe, are the future stars of radio.

In no particular order, here they are - the Top New Talent to Watch in 2017 and beyond;

Heather Maltman Recently commenced on Sea FM Gold Coast alongside the talented Dan Anstey and rugby league star Ben Hannant. The former Bachelor star is also an actor and filmmaker. She has previously hosted SCA’s summer breakfast with Osher Gunsberg.
Sam Thaiday Bronco’s player and now Nova Brisbane radio presenter. Sam presents Thank God It's Thaiday each weekend with Kimberly Busteed and Katie Mattin on Nova. Nova Brisbane has a history of successfully moving sportsters to broadcast stars with Jonathon Brown who is now on Nova 100 and Susie O’Neill who is with Ash, Kip and Luttsy for breakfast.
Jack Tree Jack is on Capital Radio’s Snow FM Cooma/Jindabyne. Jack appears on breakfast and previously has worked at Hot Tomato on the Gold Coast.
Seamus Evans A former Channel Ten and Channel Eleven reporter, Seamus has had roles on Totally Wild and Toasted TV. He has written and performed stand-up. He joins Riley Rose Harper at SCA on the Border's Hit104.9 on 6 February.
Ben and Liam The new triple j breakfast team. Ben and Liam were previously at community station Fresh 92.7 Adelaide where they were on-air for breakfast for two years; recently making a move to Sydney for the national breakfast show.
Harley Breen A well-known stand-up comedian. Harley has appeared on numerous TV shows including The Project and Celebrity Family Feud and has been a regular guest host on Merrick and Australia for the Triple M network.
Christie Hayes For seven years she played Kirsty Sutherland on Home and Away. New to i98 Christie joins Marty and Crammy for the Marty, Christie and Crammy Breakfast Show in 2017.
Tyrone Thwaites Has been morning announcer on SCA’s Hit92.9 Perth for just over a year. He was previously lead commentator for NBL TV games in Perth.
Adam Price

On-air at KIIS and the iHeart Radio countdown. He is also a producer for WSFM’s Jonesy and Amanda breakfast show. He has a Bachelor of Communication, majoring in journalism from the University of Newcastle.

Miriam Young Miriam has been on Nova Brisbane for about a year. She is currently the floater across the station and works regular weekends shifts. She has previously worked for SCA on the Gold Coast.
Emma Freedman Is co-host of Triple M Sydney’s The Grill Team with Matty Johns, Gus Worland and Mark Geyer. She previously was the Hit Network on national nights.
Jake Powell He’s 21 years old from Newcastle. Jake started out started panelling Hamish and Andy and can now be heard on NXFM / Hit106.9 afternoons for SCA, and also assists in music and programming.
Paige Leacey Paige worked for a short time at ARN-owned The Edge in Sydney and FBi community radio. She will shortly start at Magic 93.1 to co-host breakfast. Paige completed studies at the Australian Film Television and Radio School last year.
Sarah Mcgilvray Co-host on Nova 969’s Fitzy and Wippa Has been on-air at breakfast now for only a year. Sarah is also CD at Nova. Previously she has worked as Kyle and Jackie O’s EP and Producer for Ray Hadley and Nine’s Today Show.
Mitch Churi Describes himself as a struggling actor, possible radio presenter and definite pole dancer, Mitch is new to metro radio - he works at KIIS Sydney, first on the KIIS Thunderbird Team before moving on to work with the Kyle and Jackie O Show.
Benjamin Hannant Retired Australian rugby league player Ben played in the State of Origin and is a two-time premiership winner. This year he joined Heather Maltman and Dan Anstey at the Gold Coast's Hit90.9 for breakfast.
Bree Tomasel Formerly at Nova Bree is now co-host of Sea FM Central Coast breakfast with Daniel ‘Gawndy' Gawned. She has just started her second year in the role and last week confirmed to co-host regional weekend breakfast across 38 Hit Network regional markets.
Greg Burns Not a newcomer but new to Australia having been on-air at Nova for less than a year. Greg is on-air at Nova Sydney and Melbourne across the day.
Jacinda Gugliemino New to Sea FM Bundaberg breakfast. Brand new to radio Jacinda is also a business owner, artist, actor and children entertainer.
Meg Alexander Currently looks after weekends in Newcastle. Meg is a Newcastle local and was a massive fan of NXFM. After completing work experience, she did the AFTRS course in 2015. You can hear Meg now at NXFM/Hit106.9 on weekends and weekday fill-ins.

Let us know any names we might have missed in the comments below and, as always, we welcome your contribution.


Brian(18:53 31 Jan 2017)
Cool 9 out of 20 are women. The industry is changing finally.
Anonymous(19:30 31 Jan 2017)
Aren't there any up and combing talent at Grant Broadcasters or the Ace network ?
It is good seeing a couple from non SCA stations like FBI, The Edge, Fresh etc but few more from regional would be nice.
Anonymous(20:07 31 Jan 2017)
Note - No Grant CD's were approached to contribute to this list.
Anonymous(20:42 31 Jan 2017)
No Grant Broadcasters talent? Good too see Jack from Snow FM - He's going places!
mel(20:44 31 Jan 2017)
Every year this list is full of people who have more than a 'newcomer's' radio experience. I can see at least 1 or 2 who would have way more than 5 years experience.

You guys are worse than the Acras for bias.
Erica McGee(20:46 31 Jan 2017)
HUGE miss. Matt Dyktysnki, now co-hosting breakfast at mix94.5 in Perth. As an actor and standup comedian, Dyktynski has starred in a number of films such as Love and Other Catastrophes, Takeaway and Japanese Story. After spending years in London on the UK comedy circuit, travelling around Britain, Ireland, Poland and Croatia too, Matt based himself in Melbourne for many years before moving back home to Perth after being named as Shane McFarlane's replacement on the mix94.5 breakfast show. His development has been extraordinary to watch. He is a bonafide radio superstar in the making.
(Dancing) Dan King(21:59 31 Jan 2017)
Really happy to see Jake on this list. Met him at NX. Humble and hungry. Another example of talent not only concentrating on what's coming out their mouth, but listening to whats happening around them. Go son!
Jake - Radio Today Editor(22:04 31 Jan 2017)
4 Grant GM's were invited by email (and again on LinkedIn) to submit talent but did not respond.
Sam(22:10 31 Jan 2017)
More community radio next year please. A lot of top radio talent have come from there.
Fyona Smith - Head of Radio AFTRS(23:36 31 Jan 2017)
It's great to see AFTRS alumni - Sarah McGilvray, Paige Leacey and Megz Alexander make the list!
Andrew(23:55 31 Jan 2017)
I just enjoy the banter that this list provides each year. Good session to get the popcorn out for!
Anonymous(0:01 01 Feb 2017)
I agree with Sam - how about a "top talent in community radio" list so those slugging their guts aiming to get commercial can have some recognition and spotlight for the PDs to have a look at?

I mean, it's great to see these guys in here, but a heap of them have a number of years under their belt already - hardly new.
Captain Obvious(0:29 01 Feb 2017)
The reason there is no Grant Broadcasters talent here is because if they had any talent they wouldn't be working for Grant Broadcasters.
*Drops Mic*
Josh Olek(1:11 01 Feb 2017)
Captain Obvious - Says stupid, bullying and quite frankly untrue crap, also too scared to give their actual name.

To Captain Obv(1:18 01 Feb 2017)
There's some brilliant talent in the network! Great people too. Everyone has to start somewhere mate.
James Speed(1:32 01 Feb 2017)
Great to see names like Tyrone and Jake on here, two young guys with a huge passion for radio. They've worked hard at their craft to get into the position they're in!
Been There Done That(1:42 01 Feb 2017)
There's no Grants talent on this list because they were once a great starting network for the next generation but now any talent they do have gets lost in their mediocre, revenue driven on air programming.

Talent tends to escape Grants either one of two ways, stressed out, burnt out and broke they leave the industry for good or they flee as quickly as possible to a professional radio network to further their careers.
Jake - Radio Today Editor(1:47 01 Feb 2017)
UPDATE: Paige Leacey is not moving to Fresh FM as previously published, but rather to Grant-owned Magic 93.1 where she will co-host breakfast.
Anonymous(2:13 01 Feb 2017)
Worth mentioning that mitch is now a weekend announcer at KIIS! That should be added to his bio as well as the fact that he is the KJ cash cock! Funny segment!
Anonymous(2:28 01 Feb 2017)
Great list! Good to see mitch on here - that kid has worked in radio for 12 months, And HARD! He has his own segment on Kyle and Jackie O Show, nominated for an ACRA AND now hosting weekends in Sydneys number one station KIIS - that should be added to his bio. All in his first year working in radio -congrats kid.
Anonymous(7:49 01 Feb 2017)
Been There Done That,
How's life back on Canberra?
Anonymous(9:14 01 Feb 2017)
What a pleasure to listen to a nice young man who speaks clearly, plays all types music by assorted artists and seems to know what he is talking about. Jake Powell thank you for entertaining us.

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