Sky Sports Radio - Company Profile

Sky Sports Radio company profile

Sky Sports Radio has been broadcasting the best of thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing to a state-wide audience for more than 34-years of its 86-year history.

The National Racing Service, broadcast on Sky Sports Radio daily throughout NSW, each week covers more than 1500 races. Live race descriptions are complemented by appropriate pre-race form guides, up-to-date TAB information, mounting yard mail and post-race opinions.

Sydney metropolitan area listeners tune to Sky Sports Radio via a five kilowatt transmitter located at Homebush and the Sydney footprint is expanded by a wide-spread of more than 105 narrowcast transmitters. The narrowcast transmitters ensure a state-wide coverage as far north as Tweed Heads, south to Bega and west to Broken Hill.

Sky Sports Radio has pioneered new digital radio technology with data displays and exclusive sports content currently available from time to time on its digital channels. More live racing and sports betting entertainment will be added to the digital service as the penetration continues to increase.

Digital radio provides listeners with a richer experience with the broadcasting of text such as TAB racing and sports odds, tips, results and special promotions. At this stage digital service only is available to Sydney metropolitan listeners.

Sky Sports Radio also utilises online technology and podcast’s daily highlights from the Big Sports Breakfast  and Racing HQ as well as full programs and streaming high quality broadcasts online.

Racing may be the backbone of the company but Sky Sports Radio, as the name suggests, has a variety of other sporting programs.

The flagship in this arena is the Big Sports Breakfast co-hosted by Terry Kennedy and Michael Slater on air each weekday morning from 5:30am to 9am. It is the only all-sports breakfast program on radio in New South Wales. Big name national and international sports stars call in for breakfast and along with the expert views of a strong team of regular contributors guarantees the listeners are kept up-to-date with the latest news and views on their favourite sports.

On 10 March 2014, The Big Sports Breakfast TV was launched on Sky Racing 1 (Foxtel Channel 519) with the radio program simulcast.

The casual racing enthusiast and the more serious punters are catered for in an informative and entertaining fashion with Inside Running. Each Saturday and public holiday from 6:30am Andrew Bensley hosts this comprehensive coverage with expert help from Ron Dufficy, Michael Fraser, Deane Lester and a team of other respected form analysts throughout the country.

Other programs garnering a loyal audience on Sky Sports Radio include:

  • Punters Post Mortem (Mondays 9am to 10am) Terry Kennedy, Ron Dufficy and Deane Lester present an authoritative overview of the previous weekend racing highlights.
  • Racing HQ (9am to 10:30am Tuesday to Friday) is a fast-moving racing news program hosted by the omniscient Andrew Bensley. News, views and interviews abound during this fast-moving hour and a half.
  • Big Sports Breakfast Weekend (7am to 10am Sunday) hosted by Jimmy Smith and Stuart Clark. The first hour is devoted to racing with expert comments from Ray Thomas and Malcolm Johnston and from 8am general sports is covered by Jimmy, Stuart and a regular panel of experts.

This unique blend of high-calibre racing and general sports coverage broadcast throughout the state, on digital, and with Big Sports Breakfast TV's arrival on the Foxtel platform into 2.2 million homes, has installed Sky Sports Radio as a leader in sporting coverage.

Tracking the Sky Sports Radio tale

Tracking the progress of Sky Sports Radio from its origins way back in 1925 reveals a litany of luminaries, past and present, of the broadcasting world.

Originally under the ownership of the Labour Council of New South Wales as radio station 2KY with a music-format it progressed to talk programs and ultimately the current popular niche of race broadcasting. A cavalcade of radio broadcasting doyens have graced the station's airways in three formats.
• Music: Lyal Richardson, Bill Perryman, Donald Day, Jim Tregonning, Bill McColl and Brian Howard.
• Talk Back: John Harper, Ron Casey, Ita Buttrose, Mike Gibson, Bob Maumill and John Singleton.
• Sportscasting: Ken Howard, Cyril Angles, Ian Craig, Ray Conroy, Tiger Black, Doug Melton, Greg Hartley, Peter Peters, Peter Bosley and Ray Warren.

Race broadcasting, the present speciality of Sky Sports Radio, actually dates back to 1949 when night harness racing was introduced and soon after greyhound racing was added to the program guide.

Still under the banner of 2KY, in the mid-60s the station obtained network capability from 2GB for Wednesday thoroughbred race broadcasts and expanded to Saturday afternoon gallops coverage by 1974. Eventually in 1981 2GB dropped out of race broadcasting and 2KY had exclusive commercial coverage.

By 1992, taking advantage of the open narrowcasting provision of the Broadcasting Services Act, the station began to introduce a state-wide narrowcasting network.

Sky Sports Radio now transmits to more than 105 centres throughout New South Wales, practically blanketing the state with its exclusive racing radio service.

In 2001 the radio station was acquired by Sky Channel Pty Ltd heralding a new era in broadcasting in racing and sports. The amalgamation of the two visual and audio broadcasters enabled the organisation to take advantage of the synergies that exist within the two entities. As a result of the Sky Channel acquisition 2KY was rebranded Sky Sports Radio.

Sky Sports Radio has embraced the next generation of technology, pioneering Digital Audio Broadcasting and chief engineer, Max Carter, won two Commercial Radio Australia awards for his contribution to the early development of the new medium. In 2010 Sky Sports Radio began broadcasting the English Premier League on its second digital channel. It was the first radio station in Australia to broadcasting live sports coverage on its digital service and was recognised by Commercial Radio Australia in 2010 as a finalist for best new digital radio format. Other recent commercial radio awards include:

  • Best Newcomer 2009 - Michael Slater
  • Best Sports Coverage (Metro) - 2011 Melbourne Cup Carnival
  • Best On-Air Team 2013 - TK & Slats
  • Best Newcomer 2013 - Andrew Webster

Sky Sports Radio has produced some of the greatest race callers in Australia and is continually focussed on harbouring new broadcasting talents. This is highlighted through the John Tapp Scholarship program.

Matt Hill was the inaugural winner of the John Tapp Scholarship which subsequently has been awarded to Josh Fleming, Mitchell Manners and Luke Marlow, who all now are broadcasting through Sky Sports Radio and Sky Racing.

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Sky Sports Radio Team

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Terry Kennedy

Terry's experience in the media dates back to 1982, when he joined Network Ten. He's hosted and called many sporting events. He has a passion for rugby league and racing and a solid overall sporting knowledge that our listeners enjoy Monday to Friday on the Big Sports Breakfast. 'TK' also hosts Punters Post Mortem every Monday from 9am-10am on Sky Sports Radio.

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Stuart Clark

Famed former Australia and NSW cricketer, Stuart Clark, joined the big Sports Breakfast Weekend team in 2011. He has a well-rounded sports knowledge and an articulate presentation. Recreationally, he harbours a deep passion for his Cronulla Sharks. Stuart has been a member of the Sky Sports Radio team since 2007.

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Andrew Bensley

Starting out in country radio and moving to the Nine Network, Andrew maintains a hectic schedule on Sky Sports Radio and Sky Racing. In addition to his uncanny ability to break the latest racing news stories on radio and TV, he also hosts the informative Racing HQ program, Tuesday to Friday 9am-10am and Racing HQ Saturday from 6:30am on Sky Sports Radio.

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Jimmy Smith

Since having joined the Sky Sports Radio stable, Jimmy's versatility has been a valuable asset. Graduating to the media after an 11-year professional rugby league career, he has successfully transferred his on-field vitality to television and radio. His regular role is co-host of Big Sports Breakfast Weekend and during the summer months Jimmy, co-hosts Big Sports Breakfast Summer with Stuart Clark.

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Tanya Thomas

A consummate radio professional, Tanya boasts more than 20 years of experience in the radio industry. She now is a vital part of the Big Sports Breakfast Weekend production team. Utilising her previous experience in radio news rooms, she presents several bulletins with all of the latest sporting news during the three-hour program.

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Andrew Webster

Chief Sports writer at The Sydney Morning Herald, has been writing about international and Australia sports in a variety of publications for more than 15 years. His bright, breezy and informative writing style has been adroitly adapted to his appearances on radio and TV. Andrew co-hosts the Big Sports Breakfast with Terry Kennedy on Friday mornings during the rugby league season.

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Shawn Cosgrove

Shawn Cosgrove has relished a radio and television career of more than 30 years. He started at Radio 3UZ in Melbourne during the mid 70s coordinating races on air when his station confreres were Don Lane, Bert Newton, Bert Bryant and Ugly Dave Gray. Later he transferred to music radio at 3KZ, GOLD FM and Easy Listening 3MP. For good measure, for many years, he was the “Come on Down” voice-over man on the TV show, The Price is Right. However, throughout his long media career, Shawn’s love of racing was undiminished and he is revelling in a return to all codes of racing on Sky Sports Radio. Shawn hosts Racing HQ every Tuesday and is part of the National Racing Service team.

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Ray Thomas

Racing editor of the Daily and Sunday Telegraph he is one of the most respected racing journalists in Australia. Ray is the co-host of the Big Sports Breakfast Weekend. His insightful news and views add considerable authority to Sky Sports Radio's racing programs. Ray also hosts Sky Racing's One on One program interviewing racing personalities.

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Paul Langham

Melbourne-born, Paul developed a keen interest in racing and radio from a young age. After having met Ron Hawkswell he was encouraged to pursue race calling and then he gained part time radio work with 3UZ (now Radio Sport National) and at the ABC assisting Greg Miles. Ultimately he gained full-time employment with Triple S FM in Canberra then 2KY (now Sky Sports Radio )in Sydney. Paul considers he is fortunate to be doing a job that he enjoys in presenting racing to our SSR audience. Apart from studio work, Paul recently celebrated 30 years of calling the picnic meetings at Dederang in north-east Victoria.

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Simon Harrison

Born in Perth, Simon moved to Sydney in 1987. As a youngster he harboured a desire to become a news reader but later an enthusiasm for racing emerged. On finishing High School he spent five-nights a week in the 2KY Parramatta studios learning the craft of race coordinating and ABC broadcaster Mike Broadhurst helped develop and refine his vocal skills. Simon now is the afternoon presenter of the national racing service on Sky Sports Radio. In his own words, ''bringing the races to the people'' is his daily passion.

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Jono Farr

As panel operator Jono has the unenviable and, sometimes, unpredictable task of guiding TK and Slats through three and a half hours of live breakfast radio. Jono’s radio career started in 1998 with Austereo and two years later he joined Sky Sports Radio. After stints with other commercial networks he returned to Sky Sports Radio as panel operator for the Big Sports Breakfast. In his spare time Jono has proved to be talented in the voice over field and a fantastic host of the Monday to Friday 5am to 5.30program, The Best of the Big Sports Breakfast.

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Program Spotlight

From 6.30am every Saturday this extensive preview programme is hosted by the ubiquitous Andrew Bensley. It's a fast-moving four hours of radio, highlighted by a procession of punter-friendly information including latest racing news, revealing interviews with key jockeys and trainers as well as professional opinions of authoritative form experts.