The battle for Best On-Air Team will be fiercely contested this year between The Hamish and Andy Show (Fox FM 101.9), The Kyle and Jackie O Show (2Day FM), Merrick and Rosso and Kate Ritchie (Nova 969) and Michelle and Smallzy in Brisbane (Nova 106.9) – all announced as finalists today for the 2008 Australian Commercial Radio Awards (ACRAs). 2DayFM’s Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O have won this award for the past two years and Nova’s Merrick and Rosso are also past winners. [link=]List of finalists here[/link]

The well-known on-air teams will join many of Australia’s radio personalities and talking heads from across metropolitan, regional and country stations as finalists in the 20th annual ACRAs, with the winners to be announced at a gala ceremony at Conrad Jupiters on the Gold Coast on October 11.

Another hotly contested category this year is Best Talk Presenter. Finalists include the winner for the past two years, Neil Mitchell (3AW) as well as Derryn Hinch (3AW), Ray Hadley (2GB) and Leon Byner (5AA, Adelaide). The Best Current Affairs Commentator category will be decided between last year’s winner, Neil Mitchell (3AW) along with Derryn Hinch (3AW), Ray Hadley (2GB), Steve Price (2UE) and Leon Byner (5AA, Adelaide).

Last year’s winner for Best Music Personality, Jabba (Nova 969) joins other finalists Dave Williams (Triple M, Melbourne), Mike Fitzpatrick (Triple M, Melbourne), Rod Maldon (The Irod) (Fox FM 101.9), Emily Jade O’Keefe (Nova 106.9) and Jamie Row (Nova 969), to battle it out for the winner of this coveted category.

The winner of Best Sports Presenter last year, Clinton Grybas (3AW Sports) has been posthumously entered into the same category this year and is a finalist along with Ray Hadley (2GB Sports), Brian Taylor (Triple M Sports) and Ken Cunningham (5AA Sports).

Finalists in the Best Newcomer On-Air category include Wil Anderson (Triple M Network), Charlie Pickering (Triple M, Melbourne), Cal Wilson (Nova 100) and Ian ‘Dicko” Dickson (Vega 91.5, Melbourne).

There are eight finalist in the prestigious Best News Presenter (metropolitan) category including for AM, Denis O’Kane (3AW), Gail Watson (4BC), Chris Rieger (4KQ) and Steve Blanda (2UE). For FM, finalists include last year’s winner, Kristy Warner (Nova 969), Glenn Daniel (WS FM), Geoff Field (2Day FM) and Monique Dews (Vega 95.3).

This year’s ACRAs will be hosted by Australian Idol co-host, Andrew G, who also hosts Australia’s biggest weekly radio countdown, “Take 40 Australia”.

Organised by Commercial Radio Australia, on behalf of the radio industry, the national Awards include 32 categories, which cover all areas of radio broadcasting including news, talk, sport, music and entertainment. The ACRAs differ from television’s Logie Awards, in that they are peer judged with judging panels comprised of industry members. Winners are announced in each category across three areas: metropolitan, provincial and country commercial radio stations. This year there is one new category – Best Multimedia Execution, which has been introduced to recognise innovative multimedia campaigns which involve listeners, using a website and podcasts, mobile phones or other multimedia applications.