Category Archives: Ear Worms

These radio ads and sound bites stuck in our ears, have a listen to see if they keep you humming in the shower.

Smooth tour at NOVA FM

Macleay College’s Advertising & Media students are pretty used to discussing work and career beyond the college sound lab, but it’s far better to see it up close …


Today, the Macleay Advertising Copywriting class had the opportunity to poke around in the real world of capital city radio, with a tour of Nova’s Sydney studios.

We arrived at the Pyrmont headquarters fashionably late. Well, just ten minutes. But in “media time” that’s like an hour. Still fashionable though #sorrynotsorry.

But look, we’ll rip the band-aid straight off now: we didn’t meet NOVA FM stars, Fitzy and Wippa. Being breakfast announcers, they’re in at 3am and out of the building by midday, maybe 1pm at the latest. So we didn’t see them in the flesh.

But!! We did get to hang around in their studio, and sit in their chairs and talk into their mics – and view their view over the Anzac Bridge.

We did see Kate Ritchie – part of NOVA’s drive time program which recently won Best On-Air team at the Australian Commercial Radio Awards. Kate just ran past us in the hall way on her way to a programming meeting. She smiled, laughed and said “Hi” then scurried into her meeting room.

This was our first inkling of how frantic Sydney radio can be.



As it happens

We really saw frantic for real, when the Smooth FM program director, Peter Clay, raced through the office to fix a computer issue in the studio while drive-time presenter Anthony Davis was going live-to-air. It just really hammered home that sense: radio is immediate.

When a problem occurs, it’s being broadcast live. We’ve spoken about it in classes, but until we saw Peter Clay taking charge like that, it was nothing more than an abstract thought.

Turning ideas into airwaves

We also met Stephen Bruce, Nova’s sales manager. He and our guide, account manager Julian Dias, explained how they take an idea and making it rain moolah. It’s actually a really long process!

It starts with the creatives coming up with their crazy ideas in the corner, they liaise with the content team to see how their ideas can be executed across different platforms: on-air, social media, websites – radio isn’t just radio any more. Then they get the sales guys involved, to get some sponsorships on it.

Sometimes, it works in reverse – the sales guys will go to the creatives, flesh out an idea and then get the promotions and production team involved from there.

Without hearing their real-world experiences seeing their ideas grow wings and flying onto the airwaves, again, we would have been left with just the abstract.



Seeing the sounds

Production was a huge highlight! We briefly met the current Australian Radio Producer of the Year, Darcy Milne, then commercial sound engineer, Shelly Mitchell spent the better part of an hour showing us the ad-making process.

We’ve had a bit of experience with Protools, but until we saw Shelly working with it, we had no idea it was so complex! There’s so much sound layering and automation in every 30 second ad. Hours of work goes into it.

And there’s also a lot of psychology too – the ad sound has to create the right atmosphere to fit with the audience demographic. You have to really understand the listener.

All in all, our tour of Nova was an eye-opener. A lot of thanks go to account manager, Julian, who took two hours out of his Tuesday to show us around and answer all our questions. What a legend!


Photos and Blog by Emma-Marie Horn. Guest Lecturer – Advertising & Media Faculty, Macleay College.

Macleay AdGrads do well at the ACRA Awards

Quick update from the 2015 Australian Commercial Radio Awards.


Cameron Horn, Katrina Fowler, Kyra Brown & Michael Anderson.

Recent Macleay College advertising graduate Katrina Fowler ranked in the top 3 commercials among the thousands written this year in Australian Regional Commercials.

Advertising copywriting & radio lecturer Cameron Horn was announced winner of the Non-Metropolitan Radio Advertising Campaign of the Year 2015,  winner ‘People’s Choice’ Non-Metropolitan Radio Advertising Campaign, winner ‘People’s Choice’ Non-Metropolitan Radio Commercial (Single) and ranked in the top 3 commercials Australian Regional Commercial (Single).

Macleay Alumni Michael Anderson (MMM Sydney Sound Engineer) celebrated winning his 20th ACRA (Best Achievement in Production 2015).

Also, current advertising student Kyra Brown came to SCA Central Coast to do part of her internship and while here applied for an Account Manager position. It was announced this week that she has been successful in getting that job and so is on her way to starting her media career even before finishing her diploma!


Radio & Copywriting lecturer, Cameron Horn

Ad Students at Southern Cross Austereo

As advertising students at Macleay College, we are lucky enough that our copywriting and radio lecturer Cameron Horn also works at Southern Cross Austereo (SCA). Cameron recently took us on a great field trip to tour of the studios at both Triple M and 2Day FM, where we were honoured to have the Sydney general manager of SCA, Jeremy Simpson, show us the ropes.

IMG_1277 copy


SCA is much larger than I expected: they have 68 radio stations across the country; they are 3 times the size of their competitor networks; they own Southern Cross 10 and other TV networks; they have 270 people employed in Sydney and 120 of those are in the radio section. Just those numbers are enough to leave a fantastic first impression with anyone interested in getting into the radio industry.

What I like about SCA is the unique positioning and specific values of each of the two radio stations. 2DayFM was youthful, bright, exuberant, charismatic, while Triple M was established, a little older, traditionally blokey & heavily focused on males. I liked the differences but also the similarities in their success. I listen to Triple M quite a lot . I grew up listening to the type of music they play via my dad, and it feels really familiar to me. Something I love, and I could see myself working in a place like Triple M – the atmosphere would suit my personality.

We also had the pleasure of meeting ‘Ugly Phil’ and Merrick, two of the personalities on Triple M.

We then were able to sit in on the recording of some radio ad’s featuring established voice actor, Gail Knight ( She was the amazing talent. Her voice was so familiar and I was stunned with her ability to read the time of the ad, to adapt and change her voice to what the director was instructing, her range, it was really amazing to witness.

Overall – I loved our little excursion. It was a cool experience and again I loved seeing the internal workings of the radio stations. It made me really learn to love radio on a deeper level.

By advertising student, Kyra Brown.

Macleay Copywriting Lecturer Scores ACRA Win

Southern Cross Media’s Cameron Horn celebrated a win at this weekend’s Australian Commercial Radio Awards (ACRAs) as he took the crown for the ‘Best Station Produced Commercial – Single’ in the category for his work with East Coast Juice.

Horn celebrated his win off the back of a nomination ‘hat trick’ – being the only writer in Australian radio to receive three nominations in the 2014 event. This included two nominations in the Best Station Produced Commercial – Single provincial category and one in the Best Station Produced Commercial – Campaign non-metropolitan category.

Currently Macleay College’s copywriting and radio advertising lecturer, Horn’s success is revered by the education institute, with advertising program leader, Ian Thomson, saying this is a perfect example of why industry professionals are best placed to mentor tomorrow’s leaders.

“We’re all really proud of Cameron’s achievements at this weekend’s ACRA awards. It’s great to see him succeed from both a personal and professional level, and it’s great to know that our students are in good hands,” Thomson said.

Along with sound engineer, David Horspool, his work with East Coast Juice earned him two of the three nominations,with a single commercial for Best Wash making up the third. East Coast Food and Beverages’ Business Developer Manager, Samuel James Lentini, sent a letter of recommendation to this year’s ACRA judging panel citing Horn’s work as the driving force behind the brand’s success.

“Our company’s gone from having to beg Coles and Woolworths to take our products locally, to now being in a position of distributing our products to Woolworths locally and Coles, state-wide. Our research shows that we have become the second most popular juice in Coles on the Central Coast, behind only one other brand which is an international brand with an enormous promotion budget,” said Lentini.

No stranger to the ACRA landscape – taking home the Best Campaign Commercial accolade the previous two years – Horn hopes his success in the field will inspire his students to follow in his footsteps.

“There are currently 217 regional commercial radio stations in Australia, each producing around 2,000 ads a year,” Horn said. “The ACRAs pick only four of these single commercials to feature in their finalist nomination list, so I was thrilled to receive not only one, but two of these coveted spots.

“I look forward to continuing with my work in radio creative and hope my success encourages others to reach big and believe in themselves. My dream would be to see one of my Macleay College students win their own ACRA in the near future alongside many other industry awards. I actually have one student already in line for next year’s ACRA nominations,” said Horn.

A Date with the Doctor

When audio is all you have to work with, you need to get creative, and the boffins that look after Doctor Who’s promotional material certainly know how to do it well. Using sound affects from the show like starting the ad with the revving of the TARDIS to placing all the vocals behind weird effects to sound like they’re being communicated through time, this one hit the spot for Whovians.