Australian radio’s talent drain

Many pundits argue that Australia is currently the world’s most competitive radio market

Like the song says, “If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.”  Which is a big reason why top British talent like ARN’s Christian O’Connell and Nova Entertainment’s Greg Burns as well as group program director Paul Jackson want to make their home here in this wide brown land.
On the flipside, Aussie talent is keenly sought after all over the world from the UK to the U.S., South Africa, Papua New Guinea and the Middle East. In fact, former Head of Radio at AFTRS, radioinfo’s own Steve Ahern travels around the world setting up radio stations and training facilities in exotic places such as Afghanistan, Morocco, Romania, India, Singapore, India and Liberia, to mention a few.
Virgin Radio in Dubai has had a cavalcade of Australians pass through their ranks. Expat and ex- Australian Radio Network Steve Smith spent eight years as COO at the Arabian Radio Network and has been succeeded by another Aussie, Greg Worthington. Alex Agishev formerly known in Oz as Alex Dean is the Content Director.

Sydney sider Mariam “Maz” Hakim of Afghan heritage landed in Dubai in 2015, while Kris Fade (left) has the highest rating Breakfast in all of the UAE.

Even in Lebanon, where Virgin Radio launched in 2013, they have a Breakfast co-host from Sydney’s western suburbs, Anthony Salame. The son of Lebanese migrants, Anthony (main pic) was working the stand-up circuit and never considered being an on air presenter when a talent scout took him to a radio studio in Sydney and after a lot of convincing, Anthony finally travelled to Beirut to start his radio career. Luckily he was surrounded by experienced radio people – one or two from Virgin – and others at the station who’d worked at other stations in the Middle East.
After six years Anthony has become the most significant and successful presenter in Lebanon with an enormous following, incredibly popular, very funny, a bit quirky certainly not a ‘cookie cutter’ presenter.
Home sick and desperate to be reunited with his family in Sydney, Anthony will be returning to visit the world’s most competitive radio market, Australia in March.

 Peter Saxon

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