Cathy O’Connor, chief executive officer of NOVA Entertainment, who this year celebrates 31 years in the radio industry, was tonight inducted into the Commercial Radio Hall of Fame at the 2016 Australian Commercial Radio Awards (ACRAs)
O’Connor was honoured with the accolade at a gala ceremony attended by 1200 of her industry peers at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. The award recognises outstanding lifetime achievement and contribution to the radio broadcasting industry.
One of Australia’s sole female chief executives of a stand-alone major media company, Cathy has lead NOVA Entertainment, the innovative media organisation which is wholly owned by IIyria Nominees Television, a private investment company of Lachlan Murdoch for last eight years.
Entering the radio industry in 1985, she started in sales roles at both 2SM and 2GB in Sydney. Her management career began at Austereo in 1991 where she held the roles of Agency Sales Manager, General Sales Manager and General Manager.
Cathy joined dmg Radio Australia (now NOVA Entertainment), as Managing Director in January 2003, eventually taking over after the retirement of her mentor and giant of the radio industry Paul Thompson. She was appointed to the position of CEO in October 2008.
Since joining NOVA Entertainment, Cathy has been involved in the completion and evolution of the national network, including the launches of Nova Adelaide and Brisbane, and most recently the establishment of the successful contemporary easy listening FM smoothfm network. NOVA Entertainment owns and operates the national Nova radio network, including the smoothfm stations in Sydney and Melbourne, leading talk station FIVEaa in Adelaide, Star 104.5 on the Central Coast of NSW, and the three digital radio stations smoothfm, Coles Radio and Koffee.
In a recent article, Cathy was asked about her industry heroes and said: “Lachlan Murdoch is an amazing leader and has taught me to think big. Paul Thompson for creating a great radio company in the late 80’s – Austereo – and then doing it again in the 2000’s by building a profoundly different company, but equally successful, in the same radio sector – dmg Radio, now Nova Entertainment.”
A testament to Cathy’s leadership, NOVA was on the BRW Top 25 of the Best Places to work.
Career achievements include the Telstra NSW Business Women’s Award for the Private Sector – over 100 Employees Category (1996), and Cathy was also awarded a Centenary Medal for Service to Australian Society in Business Leadership in 2003, recognising her significant career achievements.
Cathy has served on the Board of Commercial Radio Australia since 2006, and held the role of Chair from 2009 to 2012. Cathy is also a Governor of the Board of the Cerebral Palsy Foundation.
Commercial Radio Australia chief executive officer, Joan Warner said: “It has been a pleasure working with Cathy both when she was Chair of CRA and ongoing as an active and supportive Board member. It is a well deserved tribute to someone who has worked untiringly in the radio industry and we all hope will continue for many years to come.”
Hall of Fame recipients are nominated by industry peers and are selected by an executive level judging committee. Last year’s inductee was Jeremy Cordeaux, previous inductees have included: Peter Harvie, Kevin Blyton, Graham Mott, Tony Pilkington, Derryn Hinch, Neil Mitchell, John Laws, Bob Rogers, Janet Cameron, Gary O’Callaghan, Paul Thompson, Bob Francis, Rod Muir and the late Frank Hyde.