Who are the frontrunners to replace John Burns on 3AW Breakfast?

Staff Writer
Nine Radio

After broadcaster John Burns revealed he’d be leaving 3AW Breakfast, the rumour mill is spinning as many try to predict who could join Ross Stevenson as Burns’ replacement.

Nine Radio has just dealt with the end of the Alan Jones era on 2GB and 4BC Breakfast, with Ben Fordham stepping into Sydney and Neil Breen into Brisbane.

Now executives face the challenge of hiring the right person to the shoes of Burns.

This appointment may prove more difficult, as many considered Fordham the natural and logical replacement for Jones after his historic run atop the Sydney radio ratings.

Ross & John have held the #1 Breakfast show in Melbourne for a whopping 147 consecutive radio surveys, and in 2020 they celebrate their 20th year on-air together.

The pair held a 17.3% share of listening in survey two this year, the last GfK survey to be conducted before the coronavirus forced radio ratings into hiatus.

By comparison, Jones rated 17.9% in his final book, a higher result than usual, no doubt influenced by COVID-19 driving listeners towards news-talk, and his retirement announcement.

For someone in a powerful position as Stevenson, you’d think he will make the final call on who joins him for Breakfast at the end of the day.

Ross & John are celebrating 20 years together

Some of the speculated names include Richard Stubbs, Stephen Quartermain, the ABC’s Glenn Robbins, Hamish McLachlan, and former Gold announcer Anthony ‘Lehmo’ Lehmann.

Some suggest Andy Lee from Hamish & Andy could be ready to take the plunge into talk radio, while Merrick Watts has been testing his chops on 2GB in recent times.

Former #1 Fox breakfast host Matt Tilley is considered a strong chance by some insiders. Another possibility is fellow ex-Fox announcer Dee Dee Dunleavy, who currently does Afternoons on 3AW, while Kate Stevenson or Alicia Loxley are considered outside chances.

Nine execs won’t be too concerned about losing ears after Burns departs, in that it’s a similar situation to replacing Jones. Ultimately, 3AW listeners don’t really have anywhere else to go, and one would assume that they won’t go to the ABC, which already rates 11.8% from the last survey.

Burns’ last day on-air is June 30, so expect an announcement fairly soon.

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9 Jun 2020 - 11:01 am

Andy Lee would be great, looks like Hamish is busy with TV committments so he might as well have a go.

9 Jun 2020 - 11:35 am

Why doesn’t he go solo and ask for my money like Alan Jones 4 million !

9 Jun 2020 - 2:48 pm

Matt Tilley will surely get it, he is primed for the job

9 Jun 2020 - 4:01 pm

Ross and John wouldn’t even rate 10% in Sydney!

9 Jun 2020 - 4:02 pm

How about Denise Drysdale heard her on Triple M recently.

9 Jun 2020 - 4:26 pm

My money is on Andy Lee or Matt Tilley both of whom had huge ratings and following at Foxfm.

9 Jun 2020 - 6:49 pm

Let’s hope it’s not some moronic footballer.

9 Jun 2020 - 8:38 pm

Going by previous host changes at 3AW, I would think a replacement for such a prime shift will come from closer to home instead of an ‘outsider’. Wasn’t John Burns a regular segment contributor on 3AW Breakfast as ‘Sir Lunchalot’ before he replaced Dean Banks?

3AW listeners prefer incremental small changes, not massive shifts. Just look at the outcry whenever Nine Radio made changes to Overnights! I’d be very surprised if they went for such a big change in host to someone of the likes of a Matt Tilley, Andy Lee or Merrick Watts. Probably better to look at those who fill in for Ross & John when they’re on break, or someone who already appears/appeared elsewhere on 3AW.

9 Jun 2020 - 9:05 pm

We need someone with equivalent level of education as Ross and as well-read, we don’t want the show to deteriorate into a shallow, shock-jock affair like other some stations.
Jane, Cheltenham

9 Jun 2020 - 9:32 pm

If Hamish or Andy come in, I’m done. It needs to be a familiar and trusted voice already on 3aw. I’m already disliking the Sydney influence….. Quartermain or Kate Stephenson are the standouts. Never felt Dee Dee or Stubbs suite the show Andy don’t keep me interested. Matt Tilley would also be an excellent match with similar humour and personality to Ross. The others don’t do it for me which if why I switch off when I here any of them on radio or TV.

10 Jun 2020 - 8:01 am

Judging Christian O’Connells success on GOLD, AW should look at Anthony Lehmann, Andy Lee or Matt Tilley. They have all had extraordinary ratings success in Melbourne and are high profile.

The Man From Havana
10 Jun 2020 - 10:24 am

Tony Moclair .

10 Jun 2020 - 11:32 am

Pleasèeeee no more women broadcasters
I am female . I don’t need to hear a woman’s perspective I have female friends for that . It also becomes boring. I aleady turn the radio off between 12-3.pm. . Dee Dee sounds lovley but oh so boring. Give us back Dennis please.
I enjoy hearing the male jokes lin the morning. Men look and discuss everything differently

Thanks christina

10 Jun 2020 - 11:34 am

Has to be an insider from 3 AW, obvious choice a man of reason ,respect ,appeals to all age groups and knowledgeable on life ,the great man ………Mr Dennis Walters.

10 Jun 2020 - 11:40 am

The best move would be to leave John where he is.
The show is mostly Ross Stevenson, but the co-host has to be well read and knowledgeable so that when Ross does include them in the conversation they have to have something to contribute.
The key to being a successful second chair on that show is knowing when to shut up.
Most of those named are strong personalities in their own right and would not be suitable being 20% of a show to Ross’ 80%.
There is not one person named so far who could play second to Ross than John.
So why change?

Brenda Rawlins
10 Jun 2020 - 1:02 pm

Perfect replacement so far as droll sense of humour and a dry wit that would fit Ross Stevenson like a hand in a glove would be Red Symons. I wish they would give Red some consideration. They could always try a few out before deciding on a final replacement.

David Schwarz
10 Jun 2020 - 1:10 pm

Anyone but a footballer or Darren James.

Judi Goodwin
10 Jun 2020 - 1:35 pm

I couldn’t listen if it were Kate .. she doesn’t come up for air .. don’t listen to 3aw when Kate is on

Nev Harris
10 Jun 2020 - 2:13 pm

Red Symons

Dave Weinert
10 Jun 2020 - 2:19 pm

Darren James woul be a natural.

10 Jun 2020 - 2:29 pm

Please not Hamish McLaughlin I turn when ever he is on tv. Steve quartermain perfect.

10 Jun 2020 - 6:23 pm

Let’s rule our who we do not want. Nobody from Sydney or brisbane, nobody from FM land, Darren name dropper James, Steven quartermain. someone with the BV the intelligence of Ross, so I suggest sorcher.

Tim Casey
10 Jun 2020 - 7:07 pm

Hopefully they make an in-house appointment someone like Kate Stevenson, Tony Moclair, Quarters or Glen Robbins could all do the job well

10 Jun 2020 - 8:41 pm

Tony Moclair should be the one but definitely not a woman.

11 Jun 2020 - 12:19 am

Agree – needs to be someone that is well read, intelligent, moves in slightly different circles to Ross, has a great sense of humour and willing to be the ying to Ross’ yang. Rob Sitch, Glenn Robins, Kate Stevenson, Hamish McLachlan or Stephen Quartermain will keep me listening. Ross doesn’t need to be lumbered with someone more interested in their own one liners than participating in the quality and flow of a show already being delivered by an experienced and successful team.

11 Jun 2020 - 9:32 am

Bring on Darren James, all the rest are a slow second.

11 Jun 2020 - 11:56 am

Clearly the Sydney changes didn’t work for Melbourne. We need a quality presenter with a sense of humour. Kate is ok for a fillin but not 3 hours a day 5 days a week. Tony Moclair is the standout quirky and very knowledgeable.

12 Jun 2020 - 6:53 am

Richard Stubbs would be my pick

12 Jun 2020 - 9:58 am

Give scorcher the gig, seems obvious to me

12 Jun 2020 - 10:07 am

They should bring in an intelligent and witty young guy to work with Ross, untried even that she how Greta careers start, so no older that would be a mistake a w blood that could be athe next Graham kennedy Nicky look, Tay would be the best way to go

John Blackman
12 Jun 2020 - 4:53 pm

My pick is Glenn Robbins – extremely intelligent, compassionate, knows when it’s his turn to be funny and “Breakfast with Ross & Robbo” has a nice ring to it. Second drop would be Jon Anderson – so it would still be “Breakfast with Ross & Jon – simple!!!!

12 Jun 2020 - 6:50 pm

Ross virtually does the show on his own, with bit parts from John, Kate, etc.And the reason they wouldn’t rate well in Sydney cause Sydney wants to go to work wound up from listening to right wing commentary on 2GB.At least between 5.30- 8.30 on AW we are spared that.

13 Jun 2020 - 5:50 pm

You would be scrapping the bottom of the barrel to have either Andy Lee, Lehmo or Matt Tilley. Dee Dee would be great but I like her in the afternoon slot

Ex Radio Guy
13 Jun 2020 - 6:28 pm

…and it’s Russell Howcroft. I feel like it’s not a fit that’ll work – I know Ross drives the show, but maybe I’m wrong.

13 Jun 2020 - 6:42 pm

Definitely not Darren James. He thinks he knows everything especially on Saturday garden program

21 Jun 2020 - 3:39 pm

Ross Stevenson needs to give the other person a chance to speak. Not talk all over them as he does with John Burns. This is not a one man show. Sometimes it is hard to know if John Burns is even there.

Heather Abbey
30 Jun 2020 - 6:34 am

Tony Moclair only has one line of conversation, aircraft. Denis Walter is absolutely boring with his dull tone. Darren James is like ‘pepper & salt’, we hear too much of him on radio.
It wont be easy to fill John Burn’s shoes. The best candidate for the role alongside John Stephenson has to be very witty & intelligent, someone who will compliment John with wit & knowledge. Glenn Robbins would slot into the role well.

Peter G
30 Jun 2020 - 12:57 pm

I think Dale Lewis needs to do talk back. Although a football background, 20 years in TV and RDio platforms. He seems very intelligent, can articulate his Point across a wide range of topics, is not a fence sitter, has a sense of humour, rated number 1 before getting the flick with Triple M (bad decision).
Not a comedian trying to be top dog in the media, surely there are enough of those people around?

6 Jul 2020 - 8:30 am

Altho I’m in Sydney

Was John shown the door or did he leave of his own accord?


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