‘I regret nothing’, says Em Rusciano as she exits 2Day FM breakfast

2Day FM’s longest-standing Sydney breakfast host since Kyle & Jackie O, Em Rusciano, has told listeners she tried her best, and she regrets nothing.

Throughout her teary goodbye this morning, Rusciano also conceded she had believed ratings success would come more easily, and she would be top of the FM ratings ladder within 12 months of starting.

The most recent iteration of 2Day FM’s breakfast team

“I was pretty arrogant and I thought I would totally blitz it and we’d go number one in like a year,” she said on her final program this morning. “And then I quickly realised that it was going to kick my arse.”

Rusciano said she was surprised by the scrutiny and criticism which comes with the role.

“I didn’t expect to be hammered by the press quite so often, and I didn’t expect to question who I am and all that I hold dear on a weekly basis,” she said.

Rusciano paid tribute to her team – including co-hosts Grant Denyer and Ed Kavalee – but joked her promised return when Denyer was unavailable to broadcast due to racing commitments, was unlikely to actually happen.

“To my team, thank you for your loyalty and support and love. Thank you to Jase Allen, Gemma Fordham… and finally Ed [Kavalee] and Grant [Denyer] – thank you for coming on board. You didn’t know what the hell you were getting into. And we’ve been okay,” she said.

“And Sydney, I can honestly say, I gave it a crack, and I regret nothing.”

She also thanked Southern Cross Austereo for giving her the opportunity to be a powerful female voice and take a stand on LGBTQI issues.

“This job has allowed me probably one of the best moments in my professional career, in which I got to talk to the Prime Minister [Malcolm Turnbull] about his stance on marriage equality, and then I had the privilege of being a broadcaster the day that the law passed, and I cannot remember a better time in my professional life.

“So as I leave, I want to promise everyone listening that I will continue to be an advocate and a strong voice for women and girls and a staunch ally to the LGBTQI community.”

Rusciano is the latest to leave the struggling 2Day FM Sydney breakfast slot.

She came on board with comedian Harley Breen at the beginning of the 2017 radio ratings year, replacing Rove McManus and Sam Frost, who fronted the show during 2016 and the tail end of 2015.

McManus and Frost had replaced Dan Debuf and Maz Compton, who themselves had filled the void left by Merrick Watts, Jule Lund, Sophie Monk and Mel B.

Watts, Lund and Monk had replaced Kyle Sandilands and Jackie ‘O’ Henderson, who finished on the Southern Cross Austereo-owned network at the end of 2013, before defecting to rival Kiis.

When she came on board, Rusciano said listeners in Sydney “don’t give a shit” that she would be broadcasting from Melbourne and said she was unwilling to move her life and family when it was uncertain how long the show would be on air.

At her standup show at the Sydney Opera House this year, Rusciano also joked she wouldn’t last much longer, saying she’s “not the normal female on radio” and listeners should enjoy her stint on air while they could.

“You guys, enjoy me while you can, because they’ll replace me with 2Day FM Breakfast with Schapelle Corby by the end of the year,” she joked.

Amid screams of “We love you” and “You’re so skinny” from the crowd – who insisted she would never be fired – Rusciano lamented: “They’re going to have to fucking fire me, you know that… I’m my own worst enemy. I’m going to get myself sacked. You fucking know that.”

Then in May, she spoke candidly to Wil Anderson on his podcast Wilosophy, where she conceded Breen leaving the program, and the introduction of Kavalee and Denyer had been humiliating. She flagged she could be six months from imploding.

“Harley leaving hit me really hard. And then, like Ed and Grant were, like, they were put in the show. That was it. And I all of a sudden got two co-hosts that I’d never really met or spoken to, and then I’m expected to have this instant chemistry with. And it was just hectic. And it was The Em Rusciano Radio Show. It was my show, and all of a sudden Ed’s anchoring, the show’s called the 2Day FM Breakfast Show, like I took all these big ego hits,” she told Anderson.

“They deemed me a failure and we need to inject two people.”

On Anderson’s podcast, she insisted she was not a failure, and urged 2Day FM to give her another year on air.

Rusciano and Breen inherited a 3.8% audience share from McManus and Frost, and delivered modest audience growth in their first survey, taking the show to 4.0%. At the time, Henderson and Sandilands were on 10.5%.

The Em Rusciano Radio Show with Harley Breen finished 2017 with a 2.8% audience share.

The revamped 2Day FM Breakfast with Em, Grant and Ed show kicked off 2018 with a boosted 3.4% share.

After climbing up as high as 4.9% in the survey released in June, the most recent survey saw the show fall to a 3.3% audience share.

Rusciano announced her departure this week saying it was entirely her decision.

She is pregnant and said she wants to focus on her family, particularly after her miscarriage last year, she said.

Rusciano will be replaced by Ash London until the 2019 lineup is announced.


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