Neil Mitchell announces decision to quit 3AW live on morning show, reveals new role

Neil Mitchell

After 53 years of daily journalism Mitchell to depart, firm favourite as replacement is Tom Elliott

3AW morning announcer Neil Mitchell has been the subject of much conjecture about his future at the market-leading Melbourne radio station. He had been running promos before his Friday show alerting listeners that he would reveal his decision regarding that decision.

“You know I don’t like talking about myself and I don’t like self-indulgence,” he started his 3AW announcement. “And here it is, no mucking around…

“I am stepping down from the morning program on 3AW and I will stand aside in three months.” He later revealed his final day on air would be Friday December 1.

“I will go on to other roles with the Nine Network.

“I have chosen today to make the announcement. I can’t think of a better time or a better place. We are broadcasting on the streets of Melbourne. We are out with the real people. This is what 3AW does. We are raising money for a great charity, the Alfred. That is also what 3AW does.”

Mitchell noted he really will go and he won’t pop up another radio station next year.

“Contrary to a lot of reports this is all my own decision. The management has attempted to convince me to stay for which I am very grateful.

“This wasn’t an easy decision. I love this job. Apart from my family, journalism has been my life. I have had 36 years on radio and a significant lack of success on television. I had a reasonable newspaper career.

“Radio and 3AW are my home. After 54 years of journalism and daily deadlines the legs are getting a little bit tired of peddling.

“I can only work one way and that is flat out. I drive myself and my staff hard. I would hate to work for me.

“Some suggested I wind back a little and take the program at a slower pace. It is tempting, because it would still be good fun. But to do anything else just wouldn’t be me and would frustrate me.”

Neil Mitchell reveals 2024 role

The departing morning presenter revealed he would be launching a weekly podcast next year with Nine. He will also have a radio spot and regular news commentary across 3AW and the national Nine Radio network. “Other roles are under discussion,” he added.

3AW programs were doing outside broadcasts across the road from their Melbourne studios today.

As soon as Mitchell finished the announcement, Nine Entertainment group released the following:

One of Australia’s most respected journalists, and Melbourne radio legend, Neil Mitchell, today announced he is stepping down from hosting his 3AW Mornings program after 34 years. He will stay on with 3AW and Nine in a new role, including hosting his successful new podcast, Neil Mitchell Asks Why.

Mitchell has been a mainstay of 3AW for more than three decades, across a variety of time slots, and has had 219 Survey wins in his number one Morning program.

The Walkley, Quill and ACRA award-winning broadcaster began working at 3AW in March 1987, initially part-time on weekends and as a morning fill-in host for former broadcaster Derryn Hinch. He became the host of the Drive program in October 1987, and in 1990, moved to Mornings where he has been one of the city’s most influential figures ever since.

His sharp ear for the mood of his audience has seen Mitchell champion a number of causes – raising over $10M over his on-air career – as well as campaigning to help those without a voice, and holding politicians and decision makers to account.

Neil Mitchell said: “Apart from my family, this has been my life and it has been a huge privilege.

When a radio audience allows you into their lives you can’t help but feel the responsibility and the honour. As a broadcaster you cry with them, laugh with them, get angry as they do, and always fight for their interests.

“I have been acutely conscious of that privilege of the microphone every day I have been on air for over 36 years. It is a tough decision to step away from the daily program. It is the best job I have ever had. But I promise I will continue my philosophy and attitude through this new role. It is one I have crafted carefully with the approval of 3AW and Nine management because I want to continue to have an impact and continue to work for the audience as the media landscape changes.”

3AW Station Manager, Stephen Beers, said: “Neil has been an enormous part of 3AW for decades, he reinvented talkback radio in Melbourne and the power of the audience in shaping our lives. No one story or campaign can sum him up, we can only thank Neil for his ongoing desire to deliver the best radio every day. I am excited for our next chapter with Neil across many of the Nine platforms. Neil has shaped the entire radio station, he is and always will be 3AW.”

Mitchell’s career spans radio, television and newspapers and includes some of the most respected awards in Australian journalism. He is the only person to be inducted into both the Melbourne Press Club Hall of Fame and the Australian Commercial Radio Hall of Fame.

He has won eight Melbourne Press Club Quill Awards for Best Radio Current Affairs Report and another for Best Columnist. In 2011, Mitchell won the Melbourne Press Club Graham Perkin Australian Journalist of the Year Award for excellence in radio journalism over a quarter of a century – the first radio journalist to win the coveted award. Two years later he also won a Walkley Award in the radio/audio news and current affairs category, for his report that the Ford Motor Company would stop manufacturing vehicles in Australia after 2016.

Mitchell has won multiple Australian Commercial Radio Awards (ACRAs), including seven Best Talk Presenter awards, and eleven Best Current Affairs Presenter awards – winning two of the awards just last year – and has been nominated again this year for the coveted Best Talk Presenter award. He is also a four-time recipient of the Brian White Award and was inducted into the Australian Commercial Radio Hall of Fame in 2007.

In the 2007 Queen’s Birthday Honours List, Mitchell was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for services to the print, radio and television media, and to the community through his contributions to a range of charitable institutions.

Tom Malone, Managing Director of Nine Radio, said: “Thirty-four years hosting Mornings on 3AW is a record that’s likely never to be beaten. Neil has been at the top of his game and the top of ratings for nearly all of that time. It’s an incredible run. We’d have loved him to stay on, but Neil is adamant it’s time.

“We are delighted that he will stay with 3AW, recording his weekly podcast Neil Mitchell Asks Why and appearing across our shows. Neil will also feature more widely across Nine’s other platforms, producing compelling content for our listeners, viewers and readers.”

Neil’s replacement will be announced in the coming days.

See also: Melbourne Radio Ratings 2023 Survey 5: 3AW breakfast flies, smoothfm topples Gold , Fifi Fev & Nick #1 brekky

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