Roxie calls it a day: “I feel like I’m leaving at the top of my game”


For decades, Roxie Bennett has been a well known and much loved radio presence in Geelong.

“People talk to me like we’re old friends when they meet me because they feel like they’ve shared their life with me, the way I’ve shared my life with them,” Roxie tells Radio Today.

But the end of an era is near, with Roxie – co-host of Bay 93.9 FM’s Drive show The Catch Up – leaving to embark on a new life chapter.

And after being accustomed to spending half her day, every day, with co-host Daryl Reader, that’s going to take a bit of getting used to.

“He’s my on air partner-in-crime who has become my bestie and ‘brother from another mother.’”

But the time was right to call it a day.

“I have been juggling my on-air commitments with another part-time role with a company called Scale Facilitation® which has offices in Geelong, across Australia and New York. My position recently changed to that of Head of Strategic Relationships, and this means that I’m required to do a lot more travel and, unfortunately that’s not conducive to physically being in a studio five days a week.”

“I also feel like I’m leaving at the top of my game. The radio station had a phenomenal result in our last survey and Daryl and I have really created something special with our listeners.”

Roxie says she’ll miss the creative outlet that radio has given her.

“Being able to perform every day, make people laugh and occasionally cry, and share my life with our listeners who in turn share theirs with me has been amazing.”

When Roxie finished uni, she had no idea what she wanted to do.

“I did this careers exercise that looks at what you love doing and what you’re good at and randomly radio came up! I’d never thought of a career in radio before that.”

With no Google back then, Roxie grabbed a copy of the Yellow Pages and found a radio school in South Melbourne run by Chris Heaney, who was working at EON FM at the time.

Nine months later she compiled a demo tape and went on a road trip visiting all the stations she could find within two hours of Melbourne.

“Ironically, 3CS in Colac had just changed management (always a good time to look for opportunities) and they liked me and offered me ‘nights!’”

“The ironic part is that I’m originally from Colac and I’m sure I vowed I’d never return after I finished secondary school!”

Roxie co-hosted Breakfast on K rock for eight years and describes the experience as the most amazing time in her life, albeit a rollercoaster ride at times.

“I had my two kids while doing breakfast and remember breastfeeding my son Jack in the studio years before Kate Langbroek ever did it. I even went into labour with my son while I was on air doing a cruisy Sunday arvo shift!”

During this time, Roxie was also diagnosed with breast cancer.

She worked right through her chemo and radiation treatment, sharing her journey with the listeners.

“Over the years a number of women told me that I saved their life because my story encouraged them to check themselves and they found lumps that they might otherwise have missed. That’s pretty humbling and really shows the power there is in what we do.”

A highlight this year was her involvement in the inaugural Geelong Big Freeze, which raised over $50,000 to fight MND.

“The best part was seeing Daryl go down the slide into a pool filled with ice wearing nothing but a lycra suit with my face all over it!”

Being invited by the City of Greater Geelong to MC the public stage for the presentation of the 2022 Cats AFL Premiership team to the city is another memory Roxie will always treasure.

“Daryl and I were just blown away, looking out over the crowd 15-20,000 people and being a part of something so incredibly special.”

While the goalposts may have changed for women in commercial radio over recent decades, Roxie says there’s still a way to go.

“Women are still the +1 in duos on air and, with contracting opportunities thanks to automation, there’s a lot less room for women.”

“Having said that, I do believe that the women who are coming up in the industry now are a lot more empowered (that might just be a reflection of this generation).”

Broadcasting in Geelong is unique. It’s a city, but also a tight knit local community.

Roxie says that local radio connection is everything.

“Geelong people have access to all the Melbourne stations with huge names and massive budgets so why would they choose us? Quite simply, it’s because we’re local and part of their community.”

“I have always worked super hard to contribute where I can to the community, realising that I’m in a privileged position and can use that to support community causes and events.”

“Funnily enough, when I first met my new boss David Collard – who is originally from Geelong but lives in New York – he said to me ‘Hey, I won a CD off you when I was a kid!’”

“I have never underestimated the influence and impact you can have on others when you’re on air.”

Roxie believes that local connection meant the world to listeners and local businesses during COVID and all the lockdowns that came with it.

“We turned up every day, kept as upbeat as we could and gave people the on-air platform to connect. We were very aware that there would be people at home on their own, lonely and, at times, really scared, so we made sure we were the constant for them. It was an honour to be on air during this time.”

Bay 93.9 Content Director Mark Hyland has paid tribute, saying “Roxie is larger than life, on air and in person. We’ll miss her energy and passion in the station and I’m sure listeners will miss her infectious personality … and ‘that laugh’ on air.”

Roxie will co-host her last show with Daryl on Friday, December 23.

Though sad to leave, Roxie departs Bay 93.9 with a genuine sense of fulfilment.

“It truly has been such a privilege to be able to do what I have done on air; few people ever get this opportunity and I have been blessed to have been doing it for more than 35 years and sharing the airwaves with some phenomenal people (oh … and some crazy ones too!)”

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Josh Olek
16 Dec 2022 - 10:28 am

One of the all-time greats! Congrats on an incredible career Roxie.

16 Dec 2022 - 1:17 pm

Congrats on an outstanding career, Roxanne. I remember hearing her on the late great 3XY!

17 Dec 2022 - 9:25 pm

Loved listening to the Krock breakfast show on my clock radio when I was getting ready for school. And yes I have started randomly talking to Roxy in a cafe because I feel like I know her. Local legend!


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