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Dean Clairs reverses retirement to host Perth 96 FM breakfast, Fred Botica calls it a day again

Perth radio stalwart Dean ‘Clairsy’ Clairs has ended his brief retirement from radio and will join Australian Radio Network’s 96 FM for a new-look breakfast show.

Fred Botica will, in turn, head back into retirement. He had returned to breakfast radio in 2019 alongside Lisa Shaw when 96 FM MD Gary Roberts revived their partnership to great effect, as the station became competitive in the Perth radio ratings once again, topping the ratings for the first time since 2013.

96FM The Bunch, with Clairsy & Lisa

Clairs hosted breakfast on rival show Mix 94.5 from 2001 until late last year when he announced he’d be retiring to spend more time with family.

But the decision has been short-lived, with Clairs admitting that during his time off he couldn’t resist getting back to radio.

“At the end of 2020, after 38 years on radio, I decided to take a break and tick off some long overdue things on my list, like sleep in until 8.00am, play my drum kit poorly and windsurf incessantly.

“I’ve had a fantastic few months doing all of that and more, it’s been terrific, but when I got the call offering me the chance to join 96 FM, I couldn’t resist. It’s a station I’ve actually wanted to work for since August 1980,” he said.

“I’m a huge admirer of Fred and can vividly recall hearing his voice for the first time back in 1986 when I was driving from Bunbury to Perth. I was spellbound. To follow in his footsteps is such an honour, and I can’t wait to join Lisa on air.”

As for Botica, his final show, and 96 FM’s final breakfast show with ‘Botica’s Bunch’, will take place on Friday, 12 March. Next week, the show will re-launch as The Bunch with Clairsy & Lisa.

Fred Botica departs radio once again

Botica said: “I’m turning 74 in about a week and after 50 years in radio I’ve decided to retire and do some of the other things I’ve wanted to do for a while.

“I’ve known 96FM’s managing director Gary Roberts since 1978 and he’s been a huge part of my career. He was instrumental in luring me over to Perth with a tempting job on 96FM in 1986.

“There’s nothing else behind this decision, I’m just ready to call time. I’ve been doing breakfast radio since 1971 and I’m just really looking forward to a sleep in.”

96 FM content director, Daniel Underhill said being able to replace Botica with Clairsy was a “rare opportunity”.

“Having the legendary Fred Botica return to 96 FM, being here for our 40th anniversary, and leading the station to number one is the kind of reunion you can only dream of in radio.

“After five decades in broadcasting, and all those early starts waking up Perth, Fred’s more than earned having his time become his own again. We can’t thank him enough.

“As we move to our next chapter with Clairsy joining Lisa we have the rare opportunity for another legend of Perth radio to takeover from Fred. The new show officially starts Monday, but Clairsy will join Fred & Lisa tomorrow from 5.30am to say hello again to Perth.”

The final radio ratings for Botica’s Bunch will be released today.

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