Jason ‘Jase’ Hawkins and Lauren Phillips will go head-to-head with rivals Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O’ Henderson just months after the KIIS FM duo hosts were announced as their shock replacements.
The Melbourne-based pair were collateral damage in the monster $200 million contract offered to Sandilands and Henderson that saw the pair’s KIIS FM show expand into Melbourne for the first time, at the cost of Hawkins and Phillips’ own breakfast show.
After being unexpectedly forced off the air by KIIS-FM bosses in November last year, Hawkins and Phillips have now been announced as the hosts of rival Nova 100’s new breakfast show, Jase & Lauren, in Melbourne.
Despite being made redundant at the time, Hawkins and Phillips had been enjoying record ratings, and the pair are now keen to carry that success into 2024 with their new show and with a new station.
“I’m rapt to have a job again,” joked Hawkins. “I’m even more over the moon that we get to join Nova. My whole career, I have always wanted to be a part of this network, it’s the perfect fit for Loz and I.
“So, I’m sorry Nova, we’re never leaving. Melbourne, we’re back! So join us and come over to Nova.”
The pair was left devastated after being told just hours before going on air in November that their KIIS FM show was being axed to make room for The Kyle and Jackie O Show.
A teary Phillips broke the news to listeners at the time, saying that they “didn’t have a choice” and that it “certainly was not the way we wanted to bow out”.
Despite the unexpected time off-air, Phillips managed to make the most of the situation but she’s excited to get back to doing what she does best.
“I’ve made the most of having a few months off, but my plans of becoming a professional dog walker are now on hold,” teased the presenter. “I’m so ready to get back to work with Jase here in Melbourne.”
Brendan Taylor, group programming director for the Nova Network said “Lauren and Jase are world-class radio broadcasters and their track record speaks for itself”.
“As hosts of the second-highest rating show in Melbourne, we knew their blend of humour, honesty and chemistry would feel right at home on the Nova network,” he said.
“We had to pursue this opportunity and not let a great team disappear from the airways. The timing was right and they’re such a natural fit for us. We can’t wait to welcome them to the Nova family.”
Nova 100’s current breakfast show team, Ben, Liam & Belle, will host a new national show, Late Drive, from 6pm to 8pm weekdays.
The trio said “hosting a national show together is a dream. We’re pumped that we’ll be able to connect with even more listeners around the country.”
Sandilands and Hawkins have had a tense rivalry in recent months, which could make for quite the ratings battle.
Sandilands hit out at Hawkins on-air in October, calling him “a dog”. The controversial radio presenter’s outburst came after Hawkins had days earlier claimed the shock jock used to be a stoner.
The two men shared a house in the early 2000s after Hawkins made the move from Triple M in Brisbane to 2DayFM in Sydney, where Sandilands brought him over to the network to answer calls and be the program’s stunt guy, “Labrat”.
However, following their axe from KIIS-FM, Hawkins did confirm he had spoken privately with Sandilands.
“I said, ‘You guys are very lucky to have the people we have listening to this show’,” Hawkins said. “We have had just an absolute ball the last couple of years.”
Nova also announced that it would introduce a new live and local workday slot from 9am-2pm.
The new slot will be hosted by Mel Tracina in Melbourne, Adam Price in Sydney, Daniel Cassin in Adelaide, Maddy Rowe in Brisbane and Ross Wallman in Perth.
Meanwhile, KIIS FM was forced to play a prerecorded episode of the Kyle and Jackie O Show last week after the shock jock suffered a nasty tumble shortly before he was set to go live on-air.
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