Jake Challenor
Publisher & Editor

Sarah Forster exits ARN as radio newsrooms dwindle

Award-winning journalist Sarah Forster has unexpectedly left WSFM as its breakfast news presenter for Jonesy & Amanda.

Radio Today understands that the much-respected journalist and newsreader has left the ARN-owned station to spend more time with her family and has already landed a gig at NOVA Entertainment’s smoothfm where she will present weekend bulletins.

Forster, who began her career at 2SM Sydney, went on to WIN TV Rockhampton and i98FM Wollongong. She then joined SCA writing news for Geoff Field on the Kyle & Jackie O show and read breakfast and drive news on Triple M and 2Day FM.

Forster arrived at 2UE as a police reporter in 2008, where she won the prestigious Brian White Award. She later became WSFM’s deputy news director and drive reader, before moving to breakfast in 2012, where she spent five years with Jonesy & Amanda.

A number of radio networks have downsized their on-air news resources of late, readying for a stronger focus on digital.

ARN recently confirmed a major shakeup of its news operations with veteran radio newshound Deb Clay appointed national news director earlier this month – coinciding with the departure of Emily Hoskins.

Clay’s appointment followed a “national review” of ARN’s news strategy that the network said would provide “a more streamlined format”.

Back in July, SCA detailed some changes to its metro newsrooms with the now former group news director Steve Speziale departing the network after a decade of service. Then, in January, Natasha Jobson returned from maternity leave as head of news operations.

And earlier this year, SCA announced a “commercial radio first” with the current deputy editor of the Daily Mail Australia, Sarah Michael, set to join the network in May this year as its national digital news editor.

“It’s an exciting time for SCA News as we invent how news is deployed on-air and online going forward,” said SCA’s chief creative officer Guy Dobson last month.

Radio Today has further learned that one of the radio networks is currently undergoing a major restructure of its news service that is expected to result in multiple redundancies.

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Recent comments (8)
Mel
25 Mar 2017 - 10:47 am

So sad that Sarah has gone from WS FM, as she is so professional and has a beautiful voice.
Good luck to her at new job at Smooth.
Really sad to see newsrooms being downsized and losing many valuable experienced people over the past few years.
Unfortunately, this will only get worse.

Rebecca
25 Mar 2017 - 11:36 am

All the best to Sarah – an excellent, much respected newsreader. Not sure of the link between her departure and the “dwindling newsrooms” though. Her role on WSFM has been filled by Keegan Buzza. He’s freshened up the sound of news on WS, I’m liking it.

Kate
25 Mar 2017 - 12:09 pm

This story is misleading. Radio newsrooms are not downsizing. From my understanding, Sarah simply decided it was her time to go at WSFM and she has left with a replacement appointed. NE gain! There has been no redundancies since SCA networked drive news nationally.

Geoff Field
25 Mar 2017 - 1:45 pm

I worked with Sarah and have the greatest respect for her.
I’m sure she will be an asset to Smooth and wish her all the best in the future.
On another note I find it disturbing that there has been so much downsizing of newsrooms.
As someone now teaching journalism students, you have to stay optimistic, but it’s sad to see some newsrooms cutting out the experienced people and replacing them with newbies.
There has to be a mix of youth/and experience in newsrooms, so the inexperienced ones can be mentored and taught proper grammar, pronunciations, and given background to news events that may have happened before they were born.
We certainly live in changing times!

AT
25 Mar 2017 - 4:56 pm

Times are changing more people get their news online and on their mobiles so only natural for radio networks to be reducing news.

Steven
25 Mar 2017 - 6:43 pm

Cheque book duncs back again.

Mandy
25 Mar 2017 - 7:58 pm

“Radio Today has further learned that one of the radio networks is currently undergoing a major restructure of its news service that is expected to result in multiple redundancies.”

This paragraph worries me somewhat….which network??

Anon
26 Mar 2017 - 9:15 am

I thought Sarah is moving to the Central Coast where she will read weekend Sydney Smooth bulletins from Star Fm’s regional newsroom? Keegan Buzza is on air on WS and was Sarah’s fill in. From what I’ve been told it’s not downsizing I don’t think.

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