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New voices and old in ABC Radio Adelaide’s shake-up

An interstate announcer, a comedian and a voice from the recent past are included in ABC Radio Adelaide’s line-up for 2024, with the reboot also setting up a direct showdown between its previous breakfast presenters.

Nov 29, 2023, updated Nov 29, 2023
The ABC's headquarters at Collinswood. Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

The ABC's headquarters at Collinswood. Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

ABC Radio Adelaide will begin 2024 with a mostly reshaped line-up, with only weekday mornings announcer David Bevan and Saturday morning presenter Deb Tribe continuing in their current roles.

The station previously announced the current drive presenter Jules Schiller would team up with afternoon host Sonya Feldhoff to present breakfast next year.

Today, the national broadcaster revealed the rest of the line-up.

Current breakfast presenter Nikolai Beilharz will move to afternoons, in direct competition with his previous on-air partner, Stacey Lee, who resigned from the ABC earlier this month to become the afternoon announcer on commercial talk station FIVEaa.

Beilharz and Lee had presented the ABC’s breakfast program since early 2022, first experiencing great success and then fading in the ratings in line with a general decline in ABC radio audiences. In the last ratings survey, the pair ranked third in Adelaide and were the ABC’s highest-rating local presenters.

The key Drive shift has been given to 20-year ABC veteran Jo Laverty, who has presented breakfast on ABC Radio Darwin since 2019. She has had previous roles with the ABC on the youth network Triple J and ABC Local Radio in Canberra.

With the retirement of long-standing evenings presenter Peter Goers, who presents his final show on Thursday this week, the ABC has turned to comedian Jason Chong to anchor its nightly show in 2024. Chong is a regular on the ABC, including as a fill-in presenter, and, like Schiller, also has experience on commercial FM radio.

In a surprise move, the ABC will bring back Spence Denny to present the Sunday morning program – previously in Goers’ hands. Denny retired in 2022 after more than three decades on air.

Laverty said she had wanted to live in South Australia since the age of eight when her grandparents moved to the Adelaide Hills.

“I’d regularly ask Mum and Dad if we could move to Adelaide, the answer always being ‘if we win the lotto’,” she said in a statement released by the ABC . “Well, I’ve finally won the lotto. I can’t wait to make great radio in a city I have always loved.”

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Chong said he wanted to continue the “warmth and intelligence” that Goers had brought to his show over the past 20 years.

“When I heard Peter was retiring, I thought you’d have to be very brave or stupid to step into his shoes,” he said. “Perhaps I’m both? I’m sure Mrs Calabash will let me know.”

The new line-up is a response to significant challenges faced by local ABC stations across the country, with audience preferences shifting wildly in the wake of the COVID pandemic.

Just over a year ago – in August 2022 – ABC Radio Adelaide was the overall ratings leader.

However, it fell suddenly to last spot among the local stations, starting this year at the bottom of the table and remaining there in the most recent survey this year.

ABC Radio Adelaide manager Graeme Bennett described the new line-up as a “mix of well-known voices and new talent”.

“I’m excited for audiences to get to know our new presenters and hear some familiar voices in exciting new roles,” he said.

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