Don’t miss weekend broadcast as ABC farewells sport presenter Karen Tighe

Karen Tighe

‘Karen Tighe is the undisputed Queen of Australian sports radio’

The award-winning sports broadcaster Karen Tighe has announced she will leave the ABC to focus on her health.

Tighe will farewell listeners on the Summer Grandstand this weekend. It promises to be an emotional broadcast for her many fans.

Tighe joined the ABC in 1989 as part of the TV sports team where she spent eight years as a sports researcher, broadcaster and presenter, anchoring golf, tennis, netball, cycling and more.

In 1997 she made the move from TV to radio. She became a crucial part of ABC’s sport coverage as presenter of the national weekend sports program Grandstand, a role she has held ever since.

See also: ABC’s Karen Tighe receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Olympics, World Championships…even TV with Andrew Denton

Tighe covered many Olympics working on the Sydney, Athens, Beijing and Rio Games. Also six Paralympic Games for ABC TV in Barcelona, Lillehammer, Atlanta, Sydney, Beijing and London.

She has covered many World Championship events including swimming, basketball and netball. She hosted ABC TV’s coverage of the Hopman Cup Perth tennis tournament from 1994 to 2010.

Between 1991 and 1994, Tighe was part of the ABC TV sport comedy program Live and Sweaty hosted by Andrew Denton and later Libbi Gorr as Elle McFeast. After relocating to Perth in 2001, Tighe was also the sports presenter on ABC TV Perth’s weeknight news for six years.

The relocation to Perth came after she married another sports broadcaster, Glenn Mitchell, in 2003. Mitchell can still be heard on the Perth airwaves, these days presenting a breakfast show on Curtin FM.

Karen Tighe (Photo: Anthea Auld)

Karen Tighe: ‘A difficult decision’

Tighe said: “ABC TV and then Radio Sport have been my working home since March 1989 after the combination of a letter and little piece to camera on a VHS I had posted to then Head of ABC TV Sport David Salter asking for a job. That resulted in being asked to come in for a chat and then the next week offered to join the TV Sport team at Gore Hill.

“Leaving the ABC has been a very difficult decision. I depart celebrating the increasing opportunities for talented women in sports media and commentary and similarly on the field with teams like the Matildas in football and the Australian women’s cricketers. As for the Olympics and Paralympics I will always be following! It has been a privilege to be part of the ABC Grandstand family.”

Tighe was the first person to win a Sport Australia Media Award twice, first in 2000 and again in 2001. In February 2020, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Sports Australia Media Awards in Sydney.

In 2020, Tighe was hospitalised with Herpes Simplex (HSV-1) Encephalitis. During her recovery, she became an advocate for encephalitis awareness in Australia by publicly sharing her experiences. World Encephalitis Day is February 22. This will remain a passion for her.

Quentin Hull tribute

Fellow ABC SPORT broadcaster Quentin Hull paid this tribute to his colleague: “Karen Tighe is the undisputed Queen of Australian sports radio.

“From her early days as a television anchor, right through to her final summer as host of Grandstand, Karen has been the ultimate professional and a pioneer for women in the Australian sports media.

“Karen’s unabashed love for sport and its people is evident in every broadcast. She is as authentic as she is thorough, and her name will rightfully sit alongside the likes of Alan McGilvray, Norman May and Jim Maxwell, as sports broadcasting icons for the ABC.

“In recent years, Karen’s return to the airwaves after illness has not only been an inspiration, but the ultimate reflection of her work ethic and passion.

“Away from the microphone, Kaz is the most wonderful colleague you could hope for. All of us at ABC Sport have been blessed to work with her and we wish her all the best.”

Top photo: Karen Tighe with Glenn Mitchell and son James (Source: ABC)

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