Beloved radio host to leave the air after 30 years

By admin
10 November 2016

"I will miss him and his bad jokes!" –Redi Thlabi

After more than 30 years with 702, John Robbie has announced he will be retiring from the talk station at the end of 2016.

PHOTO: Supplied PHOTO: Supplied

John, who turns 61 later this month, has been steering the 702 breakfast show for nearly 15 years during which time the station has evolved into one of South Africa’s most respected media platforms.

“Just as I ended my rugby career, I knew when it was time to go and informed my bosses," John says.

"Thirty years at 702 has been a blast. I am proud of my contribution and proud of the station. It is one of the most transformed businesses in SA and has a massive role to play going forward.

"In thirty years, many on the morning show, I was never late once. Good luck to my dear colleagues and friends who are listeners and advertisers and to my family who have shared the journey. It has been a privilege to serve. "

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John has won numerous awards and interviewed significant newsmakers on almost every major news story to affect South Africa, often setting the Gauteng and national news agenda for the day.

“John has been a part of the fabric of the station since 1986 and has guided audiences through some of the most tumultuous stories and changes in our recent history,” said Primedia Broadcasting CEO, Terry Volkwyn.

“He’s gathered legions of fans, gotten into plenty of trouble and done an extensive amount of good for listeners and communities around Gauteng. He has become a part of hundreds of thousands of Gautengers daily lives and we are all going to miss him.”

John’s retirement has created an opportunity to restructure the 702 line-up, and from the 9th January 2017, current afternoon drive host, Xolani Gwala will be taking over the breakfast slot from 6 am to 9 am.

Redi Tlhabi, who has been with 702 in the mid-morning slot for 10 years, will take over afternoon drive from 3 pm to 6pm.

Her current show, 9 am to 12 pm will be permanently hosted by Eusebius McKaiser who has been filling in for Redi for the past three months while she has been on maternity leave.

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“When John first discussed his plans to retire, earlier this year, we were saddened by his loss to the line up but are in an exceedingly fortunate position to have the depth of talent on our station that we do,” said 702 station manager, Thabisile Mbete. “This new line up strongly reflects South Africa. It is balanced and will take the station into the future”.

“Xolani has extensive experience on a breakfast show from before he re-joined 702, some four years ago. He’s an excellent broadcaster who we are proud to have on our station and as our new breakfast host,” she said.

Xolani is looking forward to this new challenge. “I have an immense respect for John and what he has done for 702 and South African radio in general. I know that taking over from him will be a great challenge, but I’m humbled by it and looking forward to it.”

Redi will take her tough but fair approach to afternoon drive and is thrilled to be taking over a new show: “The afternoon drive is perfectly placed to reflect the news of the day, capture breaking news as it unfolds and provide a platform for debate and reflection. I am looking forward to the show’s fast pace and unpredictability.

"I feel like I am going back to my newsroom roots with the added advantage of interacting with listeners.”

She also wanted to pay tribute to John: “John Robbie has been a prolific broadcaster, always the consummate professional, ready to praise and teach others. I will miss him and his bad jokes!”

The changes to breakfast and afternoon drive as well as 9 am to midday will take effect in the new year, from 9 January 2017.

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