On Sunday, 24 May, the first two winners of the 2015 McDonald’s Sydney Eisteddfod emerged from News Reading and Radio Announcing events that took place in the studios of Fine Music 102 at St Leonards.
Thirteen-year-old Zoe Gross claimed first gold medal of the season by winning the event for budding announcers aged 14 and under. Zoe, who entered this event in 2014, learned a lot through her initial experience and this year triumphed with a score of 97/100. Max Philips finished close on her heels in second place and Jasper Musgrave came third.
In the senior event for entrants in the 15-to-19 age group, aspiring announcers who made their mark in 2014 again finished in front. After gaining third place last year, Sam Goodman succeeded in winning the event a mark ahead of Isabella Monardo who claimed the silver medal for the second year in a row, while newcomer Caitlin Robinson established herself as an up and coming talent by coming third.
Following the events, adjudicator Judy Deacon pointed out that, as radio technique was very different to prose reading, aspiring announcers should listen carefully to the voices of accomplished professionals and observe their styles. Then, after asking entrants who had competed previously to raise their hands, she commented on the value of actual experience and said she looked forward to seeing the entrants again in 2016.
From the mid 1950’s to the mid 1980’s, radio announcing contests featured prominently in the Sydney Eisteddfod program and many entrants progressed into successful careers in broadcasting and television; Network Ten’s Angela Bishop and ABC personalities David Spicer, Debbie Spillane and Simone Whetton among them. Due to the scarcity of suitable venues, Sydney Eisteddfod dropped radio-announcing events from its program in the late 1980’s, but thanks to the generosity of Fine Music 102.5, after a break of 25 years, these events returned to its Syllabus in 2011.