James Valentine set to replace Robbie and Wendy on ABC Sydney Breakfast

ABC Radio Sydney has revealed its presenter line up for 2022, a week after Breakfast team Wendy Harmer and Robbie Buck announced they would be standing down at the close of 2021.

Long-time afternoon presenter James Valentine will be taking over the breakfast time slot as of Monday 13 December, the week following Buck and Harmer’s last show.

In other changes to the ABC lineup, Focus presenter Cassiue McCullagh has had her show extended by one hour and regular fill-in presented Josh Szeps has been given a permanent show, moving into Valentine’s afternoon spot.

New breakfast presenter, James Valentine is ‘beyond excited”

On being the news ABC breakfast host, Valentine said he is “beyond excited” when announced on air with Buck and Harmer this morning.

“When I first worked at the station in the mid-90s, it was Clive Robertson, then Phil Clarke, with Andrew Olle on afterwards. Angela Catterns, Adam Spencer, Wendy and Robbie – that’s a legacy to build on and I’m excited and grateful for the opportunity.”

“I’ve loved presenting Afternoons over the past 20 plus years and I know I’m going to love doing Breakfast. It’s a completely different time of the day, so it will be completely different radio. I can’t wait to have a shot at talking with Sydney at the start of each day.”

Valentine’s afternoon show won his slot with a 12.7% share in yesterday’s sixth radio ratings survey of the year. Buck and Harmer’s show also delivered a respectable 15.7% share at breakfast, an increase of 1.7 percentage points, only trailing 2GB’s Ben Fordham.

Focus’ Cassie McCullagh

Focus’ Cassie McCullagh, host of the show since 2018, which follows the breakfast show, said what she loves more is hearing from listeners, and she’s excited to continue that into 2022.

“It’ll be all about having conversations that make you stop and think, as well as giving information you can use in your own life every day. That, and a lot of laughs.”

Szeps said: “I’m deliriously excited to be handed the keys to my very own show. I’ve been a fan of James Valentine’s since I was a kid and the Afternoon shift has huge potential for innovation — I see it as a playground to continue creating radio that’s fresh, exciting, unusual, smart and provocative. It’ll also be nice not getting up at 4am to impersonate Wendy Harmer and Robbie Buck. I’ll still do that, naturally, but from the comfort of my boudoir with my cat.”

Station manager Melanie Withnall said the station has a very strong line up of presenters with a “great depth of experience”, which meant replacements were always going to be recruited internally.

“Our presenters for next year are well-known and well-loved and are all capable of delivering entertaining, informing and at times, surprising content.”

Other presenter spots will remain unchanged in 2022 with Richard Glover in Drive; Sarah Macdonald in Evenings; Indira Naidoo and Philip Clark presenting Night Life; and Simon Marnie presenting Weekends.


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