There it is: Tom Tilley is officially leaving Triple J.
The ‘Hack’ host is officially turning in his ABC pass after 12 years at the station and eight years hosting Hack, and joining Network 10’s flagship program The Project in a reporting and hosting role.
It comes just weeks after The Project’s Hamish Macdonald was named the host of ABC’s Q&A program, so this looks like an unofficial switcheroo.
In a candid interview with The Australian published overnight, Tilley said he’s been considering his next steps for some time, but has found the opportunities for him at the ABC distinctly lacking.
“There are still lots of doors open to work together on different programs in really good ways. But there hasn’t been a full-time obvious next step at the ABC,” he said, adding that a future ABC career was harder as a Triple J host.
“For people who learn their craft at ABC News there really is kind of a pathway for those guys to build their skills and go from radio, TV, a foreign correspondent, you know, there is a lot of it. I’ve been considering my options for a few years.”
However, in a statement on Monday morning, Tilley had nothing but praise for his workplace of more than a decade, saying he was proudest of his conversations on mental health.
“Hack has taken me further than my wildest dreams, from a naive Triple J listener in the paddocks of Mudgee to interviewing the country’s most powerful people,” Tilley said.
“While grilling ministers live on radio was a lot of fun and often necessary, my proudest moments are our conversations about mental health. Allowing young people around Australia to open up, realise they’re not alone in their struggle and then push our politicians to do more, is something that brings me to tears when I think about it.
“Now after twelve years at Triple J and eight years hosting Hack, it’s time to let another passionate young journo take the reins and for me to explore new exciting opportunities.”
That could potentially be any of the three Hack journalists – Avani Dias, Laura Muphy-Oates and Alice Matthews – who stepped into the Hack hosting chair for one month each, after Tilley announced a three-month break from his Hack hosting duties earlier this year.
“From the bottom of my heart thank you to all the producers, reporters, managers, mentors, friends and family who’ve helped this country boy’s dreams come true,” Tilley said.
He’ll be staying on the air until the end of the year, with a “proper send-off” apparently in the works.
It’s the latest major shakeup in the Triple J lineup, after breakfast hosts Ben Harvey and Liam Stapleton said goodbye to the station for good, with weekend hosts Sally Coleman and Erica Mallett stepping into the role.
Triple J will be announcing its 2020 presenter lineup later this week. Sounds like big changes are happening for next year.