ARN’s Christian O’Connell conundrum leaves Melbourne hanging

Just two weeks remain in the first survey period of the year. But the great unanswered question is when will Melbourne’s Gold104.3 finally get a permanent breakfast show?

Australian Radio Network copped a lot of criticism last year after axing Jo Stanley and Anthony Lehmann, without announcing a replacement for 2018.

Jo and Lehmo finished their tenure atop the FM leaderboard, a position the network will struggle to uphold without a star lineup.

Following survey eight results in December, Duncan Campbell told Radio Today there would likely be something in place by about March. It’d be a two-person team; one from within the network and one from outside ARN.

And we waited.

An announcement finally came last month when ARN confirmed that British radio star Christian O’Connell would depart Absolute Radio in London, for a somewhat sunnier Melbourne, after securing a rare visa to work in Australia.

And still, we waited for an on-air date.

As yet, nothing has been confirmed and there’s speculation a start-up date has been pushed back to June or possibly even later in the year, due to contractual issues in the UK.

ARN is saying very little on the matter. However, the defection of Troy Ellis to NOVA Entertainment may have further complicated things for the network.

The experienced and popular Ellis was a good stop-gap until O’Connell’s arrival. But with the announcer starting over the road next Monday, it left the station without a backup plan.


An ARN spokesperson has since told Radio Today that a more music shift will carry listeners through to O’Connell’s arrival: “Troy’s contract was extended until the end of survey 1 which is March 2. Christian’s arrival to Melbourne was always planned for Q2 and there is no change to this timeline.”

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