Stephen O’Doherty is a respected broadcaster, Christian leader and advocate. He has served as a director of Christian Media and the Arts Australia since 2013. He is the Chair of the CMAA Board public policy committee and represents CMAA on the Community Broadcasting Roundtable. He chairs the board’s Finance Committee.
In the 1980s and early ‘90s, Stephen was a successful broadcast journalist on commercial and public radio and TV. One of the pioneers of the NewsTalk format in Australia, he presented high-rating current affairs programmes on 2GB in Sydney and nationally on the Macquarie Network.
From 1992 – 2002 Stephen served as a Member of the NSW Parliament. He was a member of the Shadow Cabinet with portfolios including Education, Disability and Community Services, and Treasury.
Stephen resigned from Parliament in 2002 to become the inaugural CEO of Christian Schools Australia. In this role he was a strong voice for the Christian School movement. Stephen was instrumental in the formation of the Australian Christian Higher Education Alliance. He is a director of Excelsia College.
In 2017 Stephen stepped down from his role at CSA in order to commit more time to building capacity within the Christian Media and Arts sectors.
In particular, this includes a return to broadcasting as the host and executive producer of Open House, a weekly news and issues programme which “looks at life through the lens of faith, pointing to the hope of the Gospel”. Open House is produced by Hope Media and is currently heard live in Sydney (Hope 1032) and Brisbane (96five) with other stations joining from May 2017. It is also an extensive and growing podcast library.
A regular commentator on programmes including The Drum and Q and A, Stephen is an advocate for Christian values, beliefs and perspectives in everyday public debate. He is a strong apologist for the importance of Christian organisations as providers of essential social services.
Stephen holds a number of leadership position in Christian media. He represents the CMAA on the Community Broadcasting Roundtable, which helps establish policy, strategic and funding directions for community broadcasting.
Since 2003 Stephen has been the chair of Hope Media Limited (Hope 1032 Sydney), and from 2016 he the chair of Family Radio Limited (96five Brisbane). He was an architect of the co-mission strategy which sees these two stations working side-by-side for the mutual benefit of the communities they serve.
Stephen’s conviction is that Christian Media can and should continue to develop as a true alternative to secular media. This will require enhanced levels of collaboration, working within the particular constraints of a highly regulated environment. He is an advocate for policy reform to enable Christian and community media to take on a greater role at a time when globalisation, commercial and technological pressures are diminishing the number of voices heard in the Australian media.
Stephen is particularly interested in developing both local and national capacity in the delivery of news and current affairs by Christian media, both for the enrichment of Christians and also as a lighthouse for anyone seeking Godly perspectives on the issues of the day.
Stephen maintains an active life in the performing arts community. For more than 40 years he has conducted school and community concert bands. He currently is the Musical Director of the Golden Kangaroos Hornsby Concert Band – an active community-based performing arts organisation in northern Sydney, providing teaching and performance experiences for beginners through to experienced musicians of all ages. Stephen has also composed a number of original works for Concert Band.
Stephen is married to Georgina, a senior public servant and scientist, and they have two adult children who are both pursuing careers in media.