Fran Kelly to depart ABC RN Breakfast
ABC Radio National’s long-serving Breakfast host Fran Kelly is set to leave the program.
The ABC said Kelly is believed to be the longest-serving national Breakfast radio host currently on air.
She will finish up on the program on December 2, and her replacement will be announced in the coming months.
The host made the announcement this morning, saying after 17 years, it was time for change.
“It’s probably the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make in my life,” she said.
“I absolutely love the job, I’ve never not loved it, and I give it up reluctantly.
“But Breakfast radio is very demanding, it’s a hard taskmaster, getting up around 3:30am for 17 years, and I never want to be in a position where I can’t give it everything, because every day it takes pretty much everything, so I feel like my body and my brain this year was saying ‘it’s time’.”
She said she’s proud of the program’s role in engaging Australians in conversations about big national issues.
“When I started this journey with Breakfast 17 years ago, I really wanted one of our missions to be a part of the nation coming to grips with the big issues that are confronting us and, most recently that’s been the pandemic.
“I’m very proud of the job Breakfast has done in our coverage of the pandemic because early on our mantra was facts not fear, people were terrified and our mission was to keep people up to date with the facts as much as the experts could give them to us and not engage too much in the fear.
“And when I arrived [in 2005] I said to the team, climate change is going to be a massive issue for the nation and for the world and why don’t we set ourselves the job of trying to get the most informed voices from around the world, to bring the latest science, the latest information to the Australian audience? We have really covered every sort of twist and turn in that story up to today and I’m really proud of the job we’ve done.”
Kelly will remain with the ABC, continuing as co-host of political podcast The Party Room, participating in Federal election coverage, and working on other projects which will be announced next year.
She thanked listeners for their support and said it had been “a privilege and an absolute joy” to lead the program. She also thanked the RN Breakfast team for their tireless work behind the scenes.
“Signing off with the team was quite emotional because many of us have been working together for upwards of 10 years, some of the team members for 15 of my 17 years on the show, so this is a major wrench for me and for some members of the team.
“I’ve been really, really lucky to work with some fantastic journalists and I couldn’t have done the job I do every day without those journalists behind me.”
The ABC’s managing director David Anderson paid tribute to Kelly and her contribution to the ABC and public broadcasting.
“I admire Fran’s ability to engage Australians in important conversations across a wide brief, from breaking news and national crises through to sport, music and the arts,” he said.
“She’s fearless when it comes to the tough political issues but also incredibly empathetic when talking to people about their lives.
“Fran is duly respected and admired by so many and has played a pivotal role in supporting future generations of journalists and presenters, within and beyond the ABC.”