Canberra radio broadcaster Nigel “Nige” Johnson has quit the high profile 104.7 breakfast slot and will leave the station altogether a few weeks after the controversial axing of his long-standing breakfast co-host Scott “Scotty” Masters.
When announcing his move on air this morning, Johnson (above right, with Masters) made a connection between his departure and that of Masters a few weeks ago.
“I would be lying to you if I said it had nothing to do with recent changes in the line-up at the radio station,” he said.
“We all know what happened, and I’m going to be brutally honest with you. It was a game changer for me in a lot of ways.”
“Scotty and Nige” presented the station’s breakfast program together for eight years from May 2007 until October 9, when Masters was axed from the line-up after a three-week holiday in Fiji during which he became engaged to his partner. He was called into a meeting with Canberra FM general manager Eoghan O’Byrne who told of his fate, which meant he would not return to the breakfast team.
Masters was particularly disappointed that he did not get the chance to farewell his listeners on air.
The show had long been a ratings success story for all of its eight years, though in the most recent GfK ratings survey, it had lost ground to 666 ABC’s Breakfast with Philip Clark.
Johnson told listeners this morning that Friday would be his last breakfast show.
“In fact, all things being equal, it will be my last time doing any kind of broadcast on 104.7,” he said.
“Now I can assure you it’s not a decision I’ve taken lightly, and it’s been taken for a bunch of different reasons.
“Getting up at 3 in the morning every year for 8 years straight it takes it’s toll on your body and soul even when things are all hunky-dory.”
“Add to that I’m a 41-year-old man doing his level best to fit in on a hip music station aimed at people half my age, and I really think it’s time to walk away.”
Johnson hinted that he would return to radio on sister station 106.3 within a few months. The stations operate from the same premises in Gungahlin under the same general manager and are co-owned by Canberra FM Pty Ltd, a joint venture between Southern Cross Austereo and Australian Radio Network. 104.7 targets an 18 to 39-year-old audience and is part of Austereo’s Hit Network. MIX 106.3 is aimed at the 25 to 54 age group and is part of the KIIS Network.
Johnson said he plans to catch up on 8 years of lost sleep over the news few months.
His current breakfast co-host Kate “Knuckles” Rice will return to newsreading for the station, and incoming hosts Ryan Jon and Tanya Hennessy will start in January 2016.