Virginia Trioli has quit ABC Radio after four years hosting Melbourne’s morning show to front a prime-time TV arts program, the broadcaster has told her audience.
The former ABC News Breakfast TV anchor took over from Jon Faine as presenter of mornings when he retired after 23 years in 2019.
“Being asked to present mornings on this wonderful station has been a privilege and a joy,” Trioli said. “I started just as bushfire smoke filled our city, we then headed into the dreadful black summer fires and then straight into Covid, and this show and station turned up in every sense of that word for a Melbourne and Victorian community that needed companionship, information and compassion more than ever before.”
The dual Walkley award winner said two decades of very early shifts on TV and radio had taken their toll, and “life circumstances require me to work and live differently now”.
Earlier in the year Trioli took extended leave after illness hit several family members, which she characterised as “a long and complex summer of family illness”.
She is popular among audiences for her interview skills with politicians, including in 2020 when she rebuked the then arts minister, Paul Fletcher, on Q+A, ordering him to stop “chewing up time” and actually answer viewers’ questions.
On Thursday she thanked her Melbourne listeners for their support.
“I’m thrilled to return to my first love of arts coverage and to be a part of the ABC’s new cultural strategy,” she said.
The ABC’s Melbourne radio manager, Mary-Jane Fenech, said Trioli gave audiences a voice in a time of uncertainty and always held those in power to account.
The as-yet-untitled arts program will form part of an expanded ABC arts coverage, the ABC’s chief content officer, Chris Oliver-Taylor, said.
“In 2024 we will be showcasing a brand-new series on ABC TV and ABC iview, celebrating some of the luminaries of the art world in an exciting new format,” Oliver-Taylor said.
The arts shake-up is one of Oliver-Taylor’s first moves after he took on the powerful new role in the July restructure that saw the former Netflix executive take charge of all screen, audio and digital content.
The ABC managing director, David Anderson, said Trioli had a long association with the arts and her undisputed passion will give the new arts lineup a significant boost in 2024.
“No other Australian broadcaster offers the depth and breadth of arts coverage that the ABC does,” Anderson said.
A former Lateline and Q+A presenter, Trioli will host her last program on ABC Radio Melbourne on Friday 15 September. Her replacement will be announced on her show on Friday.