Kip Wightman leaves Nova 106.9 Breakfast show
Nova 106.9 in Brisbane is losing one of its Breakfast co-hosts, Radio Today can reveal.
Kip Wightman has been with the program for 15 years, but said now is the time for him to look for new opportunities.
He would not confirm to Radio Today where those opportunities might be.
In an official statement to Radio Today, he said it had been a privilege to hang out with the people of Brisbane over Breakfast for the past 15 years.
“Living in these strange times have made many of us reassess things, and while I’ve got a lot of love for radio and broadcasting, my priorities have shifted,” he said. “I’ve had a lot going on, some of which hasn’t been easy, and Breakfast radio hours aren’t the best for a single dad of a young son, so it feels right to call time on being part of this dream team.
“I won’t miss the early starts, but I will miss everyone involved with the show, and everyone across the network who has made my years at Nova a great experience. I thank everyone for their support and apologise to my neighbours for being around far more than they are used to.”
The ‘dream team’ to which Wightman refers includes his co-hosts Ash Bradnam, David ‘Luttsy’ Lutteral and Susie O’Neill.
They said it would be weird not to have Kip driving the desk after all these years.
“We selfishly thought we would be broadcasting together forever, so breaking up the band was never going to be easy,” they said.
“We know that all good things must come to an end, but we look forward to calling Kip in the early hours to remind him of what he is missing.”
NOVA Entertainment’s group program operations director, Brendan Taylor, reflected on Kip’s contribution and career, which has included ‘countless special moments’ including the midlife crisis musical Ash Bradnam: The Musical, listener trips to Hawaii, NZ, Melbourne and Sydney, and sending Bobbleheads 31 kilometres into space.
“It’s hard to put into words the impact Kip has had on our loyal listeners and the entire team,” he said. “He’s been an important and influential part of Nova Brisbane from the very beginning. From all of us at Nova, I would like to thank Kip and wish him all the very best for the future,” he said.
The Brisbane Breakfast market has been tight in recent surveys, with various programs including B105’s Stav, Abby & Matt, and Nova’s Ash, Kip, Luttsy & Susie O’Neill taking the #1 position at various points.
When Nova regained the Breakfast lead in Survey 3, Radio Today flagged with NOVA Entertainment’s chief programming & marketing officer, Paul Jackson, that there aren’t many Breakfast shows with four named participants.
“Can you continue along with four big names when other stations would likely have lower talent fees?,” he was asked.
His response was “absolutely” and “that’s not what it’s about”.
“In any Breakfast show, some have one person leading the show, their name above the door. Sometimes it is four or more. It’s whatever works, I guess. You’re looking to bring chemistry and different dynamics together. It’s just the way it’s evolved over the years… Everyone in that show… has well-defined characters. They all bring something different to the table. It works.
“So I guess from the outside looking in, you might think ‘Gosh, that many voices, don’t they all get on top of each other and talk over each other or whatever?’ But it’s an easy show to listen to. Obviously very local, fun and engaging, and the audience love it.
“Certainly when you’re as successful as we are lucky enough to be in Brisbane at the moment, we wouldn’t be looking to change anything.”
Jackson noted it’s nice to be at #1, but conceded there are good stations around the city giving Nova a run for its money, so there would be many factors at play to retain the top spot – including good music, marketing, the Breakfast’s shows performance and having everything in alignment.
In the most recent radio ratings, Survey 6, Nova had a leading 13.1% share in Breakfast, ahead of ARN’s 4KQ on 12.0% and its stablemate 97.3FM’s 9.5%. SCA’s B105, the leader in Survey #2, slipped to 9.0% and fellow SCA station Triple M was down to 7.9%.
Nova said Ash, Lutty & Susie O’Neill will continue to entertain and engage listeners on Nova 106.9.
ARN’s 97.3FM was approached for comment on the off chance Wightman might now be employed there, however they did not respond in time for publication.