Radio 2021 – a rocky year: Latest departure tests programmers ahead of a new year

radio 2021

Mark Soderstrom out at Mix Adelaide breakfast, ARN has to fill another breakfast slot

Australian radio 2021 – both commercial stations and the ABC – has seen a number of high-profile departures during the year.

The latest came on Christmas Eve when ARN revealed that its Mix 102.3 breakfast show in Adelaide would be continuing without its star attraction – Mark “Soda” Soderstrom. He has been part of breakfast at the station since 2014.

When Triple M Sydney dropped Moonman from its breakfast show recently, the company quickly removed all digital evidence of his presence at the station and the brand promptly.

Given the timing of Soda’s departure, ARN has not yet been able to strip his name from the company websites.

Soderstrom and his Mix co-host Erin Phillips (pictured above) only started working together on air this year. While they are believed to have been a successful pairing, there was friction between some members of the ARN team. So much so that the pair walked away from the breakfast show earlier in the year until ARN was able to hose down the situation and get them to return.

When ARN does get around to revealing the new breakfast duo, it will be able to keep the current tagline still in use – “Adelaide’s New Way to Wake Up”.

Speculation in Adelaide is that maybe departing ABC Adelaide breakfast host Ali Clarke might be making a triumphant return to the station where she became an Adelaide radio star. As part of Kym, Ali and Dzelde (with Kym Dillon and Chris Dzelde), the trio ruled Adelaide FM airways for several years from 2003 before they walked out on the station in 2007 after being poached by Austereo for Triple M. The trio had to serve a non-compete period and finally rained at Triple M the following year.

radio 2021

Former ABC Adelaide host Ali Clarke

Kym, Ali and Dzelde never recreated the commercial success at their new home and they disbanded in 2010. Clarke was later part of another Triple M breakfast team before being dropped before her contract ended several years later.

Clarke later signed with ABC Adelaide and hosted its market-leading breakfast radio show. She announced her departure earlier this month.

Earlier this year Mediaweek spoke with Phillips and Soderstrom in a Mediaweek podcast. During the interviews, Soderstrom talked about early morning meditation sessions he had before arriving at the studio. It was perhaps in a moment of clarity during one of those he made a decision late in the year about his future.

Of his choice to depart, Mark Soderstrom said last week: “I’ve made the tough decision to finish up at Mix after eight great years.

“It has been an enormous privilege to be invited into the cars, homes and workplaces of the station’s fantastic listeners and friends who I will miss dearly.

“I have been fortunate to have met some brilliant and inspiring people along the way and it is these relationships that I will cherish most about my time at Mix.”

Erin and Soda

Erin and Soda working together for Seven covering the AFL in Adelaide

Soderstrom has plenty of other media duties to keep him busy. He presents the sport on Seven’s ratings winning Seven News Adelaide and he also covers the AFL for Seven during Adelaide Crowes and Port Adelaide home games in the South Australian capital.

Faced with having to build another breakfast team, ARN’s chief content officer Duncan Campbell said, “Soda has made an incredible contribution to Mix 102.3. I’d like to thank him for valuable input that has seen Mix 102.3 enjoy great rating success in the competitive Adelaide market. He leaves with our best wishes.”

ARN noted Soda’s co-host Erin Phillips will remain part of Mix 102.3’s breakfast team and ARN will make an announcement on the new breakfast show for 2022 “soon”.

The first radio ratings survey for 2022 begins in less than three weeks.

Read about radio’s 2021 changes: 

Breakfast radio break-up: PJ leaving Jase at KIIS 101.1 after three years

Robbie Buck and Wendy Harmer to leave ABC Radio Sydney Breakfast

Kip Wightman to leave the Nova Brisbane breakfast team

Fran Kelly to leave RN Breakfast after 17 years behind the mic

Much loved ABC broadcaster Russell Woolf passes away aged 57

Lawrence Mooney hires legal muscle to challenge SCA ending radio star’s contract

After 11 years Mike E & Emma to leave The Edge’s breakfast program

Tributes for smoothfm breakfast host Glenn Daniel who has passed away

Lawrence mooney

Lawrence Mooney

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