John Robbie to retire from 702, new line up announced

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.

He has won numerous awards and interviewed significant news makers 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.

Terry Volkwyn, Primedia Broadcasting CEO

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.

Terry Volkwyn, Primedia Broadcasting CEO

Reflecting on his time at 702, and his decision to leave, John had this to say...

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

John Robbie

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 06h00 to 09h00.

Redi Tlhabi, who has been with 702 in the mid-morning slot for 10 years, will take over afternoon drive from 15h00 to 18h00.

Her current show, 09h00 to 12h00 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.

“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.

Thabisile Mbete, 702 Station Manager

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.

Thabisile Mbete, 702 Station Manager

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.

Xolani Gwala

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.

Redi Tlhabi

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!

Redi Tlhabi

Eusebius said he is ecstatic to be hosting his own show:

Our country and world cry out for debate, creating meaning, being silly, laughing together, disagreeing deeply, emoting openly, and all the while building community. It's an enviable joy to have the privilege of being in conversation with our listeners daily in my favourite slot on the radio clock.

Eusebius McKaiser

He too wanted to express his respect for John:

John Robbie has been one of the most hardworking broadcasters in the country with an incredible energy and passion that put our 702 community of listeners at the centre of his daily offering of breakfast radio. He never took the airwaves for granted, and approached everyday as if his career depended on it. His openness to self-examine his worldview is a characteristic many of us struggle to emulate.

Eusebius McKaiser

Mbete added that each of the new shows will create their own identity, while retaining all of the elements that audiences have become accustomed to.

One other change was announced: Veteran journalist Karima Brown will be hosting Talk @ Nine on Sundays. Karima was the Friday Stand-In for Redi Tlhabi earlier this year, and took to the radio medium with positive response from the audiences. She will be hosting a current affairs show that discusses and analyses the stories and issues that come out of the Sunday newspapers.

Karima’s appointment and the new show format will come into effect from 20 November 2016.

We see ourselves as a platform for spirited conversations and we feel that all of these changes to the line-up will strengthen this positioning and help to take the big discussions in South Africa forward.

Thabisile Mbete, 702 Station Manager

The changes to breakfast and afternoon drive as well as 09h00 to midday will take effect in the new year, from 9 January 2017.

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