ABC Radio Melbourne Breakfast presenter Red Symons has signed off for the final time after 15 years in the job, saying he was “fine” about leaving and telling fans “not to worry”.
Symons announced his decision to leave last week, after being offered “other things” at the station in place of continuing to host the program.
He told listeners he was not told why he was dropped from the program and he did not ask, prompting an outcry from listeners who wanted him to stay.
“They still haven’t told me and I still haven’t asked,” he said on his final program on Friday.
“Whatever. They’re doing what they’re doing. The world changes and we adapt, up to a point.
“We might want it to be the way it was, but good luck with that.”
— ABC Melbourne (@abcmelbourne) December 7, 2017
Symons said he had been through a change of jobs before and, while he wondered how listeners and colleagues would react, what mattered most was how he felt about it.
“In some ways, the most fascinating part of it … is the concept of self image. How do I feel about me?
“I’m not going to bore you with it.
“I’m fine. Don’t worry. I shall continue in whatever way.”
The farewell of Red Symons on ABC Radio Melbourne is beautiful… Love the talk about how 'Crap On,' is written on the rundown for 530am. My favourite part of his show.
— Warwick Long (@Warwick_Long) December 7, 2017
I’m sorry ABC Melbourne but I think you have made a big mistake ending Red Symons and replacing him with some formulaic duo. If Red is going somewhere else, so am I.
— Lex Lasry (@Lasry08) December 6, 2017
The farewell capped off an eventful year for Symons, who was off air for two months to recover from a head injury after losing consciousness while walking home from a supermarket.
“I’ve been through a lot of things far more cataclysmic than simply changing jobs,” he said.
“I had my moderately-noticed near-death experience from which I recovered, remarkably, thanks for asking.
“I’m better than I was five years ago, 10 years ago. I’m in much better health, [I’m] conscious about it and therefore better off for it.”
Symons’s tangential interviews and dry wit have seen his show consistently rate among Melbourne’s top three most-listened-to breakfast programs, including at least one period as the city’s top-rating show.
In June, he apologised for an interview with ABC RN host Beverley Wang, saying it unintentionally came across as racist, which he said was “not who I am”.
The former Skyhooks guitarist and Hey Hey It’s Saturday star first presented the breakfast shift as a fill-in host in 2002, and came on full time in 2003.
After being farewelled by guests from the show, his production team and on-air colleague Jon Faine, who confessed he loved Symons, he signed off in his typical manner.
“I’ve been Red Symons. I shall continue to be Red Symons. Thanks for listening,” he said.