Jase & PJ: Lauren Phillips will replace Polly ‘PJ’ Harding on KIIS FM Melbourne

Polly ‘PJ’ Harding’s replacement on KIIS 101.1 Melbourne breakfast show Jase & PJ has been revealed.

Weekend Today presenter Lauren Phillips was offered the job this week, a well-placed source told Daily Mail Australia.

Lauren, 34, already has experience on the airwaves as she presents Jase & PJ’s summer fill-in show with Ryan Jon.

Moving on: Polly 'PJ' Harding's replacement on KIIS 101.1 Melbourne breakfast show Jase & PJ has been revealed

Moving on: Polly 'PJ' Harding's replacement on KIIS 101.1 Melbourne breakfast show Jase & PJ has been revealed

Moving on: Polly ‘PJ’ Harding’s replacement on KIIS 101.1 Melbourne breakfast show Jase & PJ has been revealed

KIIS FM executives had a wish list of candidates to replace PJ, all of whom are known radio talents.

They considered Kate Langbroek, who hosts the 3pm Pick-Up, and Yvie Jones, who hosted a Hit Network summer show with Grant Denyer in 2019.

The radio network is yet to announce Lauren’s new role, which likely won’t affect her commitments at Channel Nine.

Stepping in: Weekend Today presenter Lauren Phillips was offered the job this week, a well-placed source told Daily Mail Australia

Stepping in: Weekend Today presenter Lauren Phillips was offered the job this week, a well-placed source told Daily Mail Australia

Stepping in: Weekend Today presenter Lauren Phillips was offered the job this week, a well-placed source told Daily Mail Australia

Industry website Radio Today reported on Wednesday that ‘two familiar voices were in the mix’ to replace PJ, naming Kate and Lauren specifically.

The job offer was apparently made to Lauren on Wednesday.

PJ’s co-host, Jason ‘Jase’ Hawkins, is believed to have already done test recordings with Lauren in recent weeks. 

It comes after PJ broke down in tears on air on Wednesday as she told listeners that resigning was ‘one of the hardest decisions’ she’d ever made.

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

Resigning: It comes after PJ broke down in tears on air on Wednesday as she told listeners that resigning was 'one of the hardest decisions' she'd ever made

Resigning: It comes after PJ broke down in tears on air on Wednesday as she told listeners that resigning was 'one of the hardest decisions' she'd ever made

Resigning: It comes after PJ broke down in tears on air on Wednesday as she told listeners that resigning was ‘one of the hardest decisions’ she’d ever made

She will be finishing up in June. Her co-host for the past six years, Jason Hawkins, is not leaving the program.

Staying: PJ's co-host for the past six years, Jason Hawkins (pictured), is not leaving the show

Staying: PJ's co-host for the past six years, Jason Hawkins (pictured), is not leaving the show

Staying: PJ’s co-host for the past six years, Jason Hawkins (pictured), is not leaving the show

Stepping in? KIIS has yet to announce PJ's replacement, but it's rumoured the network may hire former AFL star Dane Swan (pictured), who is already a regular contributor to the show

Stepping in? KIIS has yet to announce PJ's replacement, but it's rumoured the network may hire former AFL star Dane Swan (pictured), who is already a regular contributor to the show

Stepping in? KIIS has yet to announce PJ’s replacement, but it’s rumoured the network may hire former AFL star Dane Swan (pictured), who is already a regular contributor to the 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. 

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.

‘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.’ 

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

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

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. 

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 comes after a string of staff departures at the Jase & PJ show. 

Kiwi imports: They moved to Australia in late 2017 to host KIIS 101.1's breakfast slot, replacing axed duo Matt Tilley and Meshel Laurie

Kiwi imports: They moved to Australia in late 2017 to host KIIS 101.1's breakfast slot, replacing axed duo Matt Tilley and Meshel Laurie

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

Imaging producers Toni Lodge and Jaxson McLennan quit this month, 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

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.’

Jase & PJ’s best result came in survey five last year, when it jumped to a 7.2 per cent audience share. However, this fell to 4.4 per cent by the end of 2020.

Link hienalouca.com

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