Commercial radio industry offers musicians their first break

The commercial radio industry has launched a new initiative, called First Break, to help discover the next big thing in Australian music. It will replace the New Artists to Radio program which has been running for the past ten years. The new initiative, in conjunction with Mushroom Music, is open to unsigned artists who have not charted in the top 100 Australian national airplay chart.


CRA’s Joan Warner says: “The industry, which will provide airtime across major metropolitan and regional networks to promote the new artist, has also joined forces with the Mushroom Group to financially support the winner for the release of two singles and touring and marketing – which is very exciting.”

The Chairman of The Mushroom Group, Michael Gudinski, has long been passionate about the quality of the current crop of local artists and generally supportive of Australian music. 

“I’m delighted that commercial radio is undertaking this initiative in conjunction with the Mushroom Group. This is a real opportunity to stand shoulder to shoulder with commercial radio to help develop and support Australian talent. First Break will give a unique opportunity to a solo performer or band, who have perhaps got themselves to a certain level, to really kick in some doors. What better way than to have the Mushroom Group and commercial radio right behind them?” says Gudinski.


First Break will replace the New Artists 2 Radio (NA2R) program, which the industry had held for the past ten years.

Warner explains that the NA2R initiative “has provided a unique opportunity for independent artists to make invaluable contacts in the commercial radio industry and opened the door for many to commercial radio airplay. It has featured Delta Goodrem, Thirsty Merc, Jade McRae, the Sunpilots, the Smart, Ashleigh Mannix, Finabah, Cassie Marie, Danielle Blakey, Emma Louise and Nine Sons of Dan.

“However, the industry decided it was time for a new approach to make the project even more powerful and ensure a real career breakthrough for Australian artists on commercial radio. Hence the development of First Break which offers more airplay over a longer period much longer term and broader support for the winning artist.”


The new initiative includes:

  • airplay support for two single releases and commercial radio airtime support for touring and marketing over 12 months, conservatively valued at $1.9 million;
  • joint financing by commercial radio and the Mushroom Group for creating video clips social media activation and on-road support to build a long term partnership with the chosen artist or band over twelve months;
  • performing at the Australian Commercial Radio Awards (ACRAs) in Sydney on October 12 in front of around 1200 of the commercial radio and music industries’ elite.

“Collaboration with Australia’s number one independent music group, the Mushroom Group, headed by Michael Gudinski, adds another strong element to the new initiative which will ensure a richer, deeper relationship between commercial radio and the artist,” says Warner.


First Break will include a multi-level judging process under which commercial radio music and program directors and Mushroom will be involved in three levels of judging with input from music journalists in the early judging rounds. Five finalists will be chosen and one winner announced at the end of September.

Entries are now open. Go to and follow the instructions.


Michael Gudinski will be very busy this month. He has also been announced to deliver the 2012 National Film and Sound Archive Thomas Rome Lecture in Melbourne on 13 August. More details here.