KIIS FM Melbourne announces the new co-host of the Jase & PJ show


KIIS 101.1 Melbourne will reveal the new co-host of its breakfast program tomorrow.

Polly ‘PJ’ Harding announced her resignation in March and should have left the show in June, but her tenure was extended while her co-anchor Jason ‘Jase’ Hawkins visited his dying father intestate.

PJ’s replacement, widely rumoured to be Channel Nine presenter Lauren Phillips, will be confirmed during Friday’s broadcast of Jase & PJ.

New line-up: KIIS FM Melbourne will announce the new co-host of the Jase & PJ breakfast show tomorrow, after the departure of Polly ‘PJ’ Harding (left, with Jason ‘Jase’ Hawkins)

‘We’re going on co-host Tinder, and we’re going to try and find me a new work wife,’ Jase said on Thursday. 

PJ broke down in tears as she announced her departure live on air on March 24.

She is returning to her native New Zealand after a ‘challenging’ year which saw her ‘priorities change’ after getting engaged. 

Resigning: PJ broke down in tears as she announced her departure live on air on March 24

Resigning: PJ broke down in tears as she announced her departure live on air on March 24

Jase, her co-host for the past six years, is not leaving the program.

KIIS 101.1 is yet to announce PJ’s replacement, but reliable sources tell Daily Mail Australia they are hiring Lauren, who presents Jase & PJ’s summer fill-in show.

PJ explained that being separated from her family and fiancé in New Zealand during the Covid-19 pandemic last year had taken a toll. 

Staying: PJ's co-host for the past six years, Jason Hawkins (pictured), will remain as co-host

Staying: PJ’s co-host for the past six years, Jason Hawkins (pictured), will remain as co-host

She got engaged in December to her long-term partner, known only as ‘Beej’, but hasn’t been living with him because she works in Melbourne.

In addition to the pressure of a long-distance relationship, she lost her father in 2019.

‘It’s not been an easy decision to make but I know for me it’s the right one and will kickstart a brand new chapter,’ she said. 

Successor: PJ's replacement, widely rumoured to be Channel Nine presenter Lauren Phillips (pictured), will be confirmed during Friday's broadcast of Jase & PJ

Successor: PJ’s replacement, widely rumoured to be Channel Nine presenter Lauren Phillips (pictured), will be confirmed during Friday’s broadcast of Jase & PJ

‘I will miss Jase and the whole team so much, but rest assured we will definitely stay in contact as Jase is adamant to be my head bridesmaid.’

Jason revealed it had been distressing watching PJ struggle behind the scenes over the last 12 months, saying she would often be in tears during ad breaks.

‘There were mornings where we’d be in an ad break and you’re in tears and you looked at me like, “I’m only staying here at the moment for you,'” he said. 

Teamwork: The Jase and PJ partnership began six-and-a-half years ago when they joined forces to host a drive show in New Zealand

Teamwork: The Jase and PJ partnership began six-and-a-half years ago when they joined forces to host a drive show in New Zealand

PJ agreed she was reluctant to resign because she felt like she’d be letting Jason down, but ultimately she had to focus on her own happiness. 

Her exit came after a string of staff departures at the Jase & PJ show. 

Imaging producers Toni Lodge and Jaxson McLennan quit earlier in March, senior content producer Rami Mustafa left last year, and former executive producer Alex Perigo moved back to New Zealand in February.

The Jase and PJ partnership began six-and-a-half years ago when they joined forces to host a drive show in New Zealand.

They moved to Australia in late 2017 to host KIIS 101.1’s breakfast slot, replacing axed duo Matt Tilley and Meshel Laurie. 

Engagement: PJ explained that being separated from her family and fiancé (left) in New Zealand during the Covid-19 pandemic last year had taken a toll

Engagement: PJ explained that being separated from her family and fiancé (left) in New Zealand during the Covid-19 pandemic last year had taken a toll 

Despite being a strong program, Jase & PJ has been unable to fully break into the competitive Melbourne breakfast market.

Duncan Campbell, the content boss of Australian Radio Network, said in November he was frustrated with the show’s ratings.

‘Very few people criticise Jase & PJ and the content they do. And yet it just can’t seem to get the traction we want,’ Mr Campbell told Radio Today.

‘And every time we think we’re getting signs that “Yes, we’re going to get some traction here and some momentum”, then it doesn’t deliver.’ 



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