Veteran radio host Neil Mitchell is stepping down after 34 years as the host of his 3AW show.
The 71-year-old has been a mainstay of 3AW for nearly four decades, but now is the time to move on.
And Mitchell announced the news in an emotional statement to listeners today while broadcasting from station Southern Cross in Melbourne’s CBD.
He said: “Aside from my family, radio has been my life and love. I will miss tremendously the energy, excitement and occasional pop that audiences give me on a daily basis.
“But it’s about time, after 34 years of 4am starts it’s getting a little harder to pedal flat out.”
However, Mitchell went on to confirm that he will retain his role through December before embarking on a new venture with 3AW and Nine.
He added, “I will continue to be an analyst at 3AW, do a weekly podcast and hope to continue writing and working in television.”
“And don’t celebrate yet Daniel Andrews, I’ll be here until December. Thank you everyone for the great support over the years.”
The radio veteran has worked in a variety of time slots and programs during his time at 3AW.
His final appearance aired weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
But it all started in 1987, when he was a part-time weekend morning presenter for former broadcaster Derryn Hinch.
He got his big break that same year when he became the presenter of the Drive show.
But in 1990 he moved to Mornings, where he has lived ever since.
Mitchell is considered one of Melbourne’s most influential radio personalities and has used his platform to help those less fortunate.
The Walkley, Quill and ACRA Awardee has served a variety of causes during his time, raising more than $10 million for the organizations he loves.
And he insists his good work won’t stop just because he takes on a new role.
In a follow-up statement, he said:
“For over 36 years I have been acutely aware of this privilege of the microphone every day that I am on the air.
“It is a difficult decision to step away from the daily program. It’s the best job I’ve ever had.
“But I promise I will keep my philosophy and attitude in this new role.”
“It’s something I’ve carefully crafted, with the approval of 3AW and Nine management, because I want to continue to have an impact and continue to work for audiences as the media landscape changes.”
Nine Radio chief executive Tom Malone thanked Mitchell for his contributions to his career.
In his own statement, he wrote: “44 years of hosting Mornings on 3AW is a record unlikely to ever be beaten.
“Neil was at his best most of the time and at the top of his ratings. It’s an incredible run.”
“We would have loved it if he had stayed, but Neil is adamant it’s about time.”
His replacement will be announced in the coming days.