Steve Price to depart 2GB: ‘A little surprised, not annoyed’
Broadcaster Steve Price will not return to 2GB next year, making him the latest casualty in a major shake up-at the station by new owners Nine Entertainment.
Price told The Daily Telegraph: "We just couldn't agree to what I was going to do next year."
He said it was not his decision to leave.
"Channel 9, the new owners (of Macquarie), decided to go on a different direction, which
just frees me up to do other things, like more of The Project."
Asked if he was annoyed or disappointed, Price said: "I'm not annoyed, a little surprised, but not annoyed. It is a big world out there, I have got a big profile, a big brand. The world is my oyster."
Price spoke to The Daily Telegraph from the first class lounge at Sydney International Airport drinking a glass of champagne before boarding a flight to Japan to go skiing.
"In the last 24 hours two of the best know names on 2GB, Ross Greenwood and I, have decided we are going to walk away. They will carry on."
On suggestions Deb Knight will replace him after filling in on the shift, he said: "She is very competent. She has had a hard year on the Today show so if she gets a new opportunity, that's great for her."
An email went around to 2GB staff on Friday afternoon advising them of Price's departure from the station, claiming they "could not agree on the best way forward for 2020".
"I wanted to let you know Steve Price will not be returning to the afternoons slot on 2GB and 4BC in 2020," the email said.
"Steve has been a presenter on Macquarie Radio stations for almost 10 years, firstly on MTR in Melbourne before hosting Nights across the network, and finally Afternoons from earlier this year.
"Unfortunately, Steve and I could not agree on the best way forward for 2020. I'd like to thank Steve for his terrific contribution to Macquarie Radio, and we wish him well for the future. We'll be announcing a new host for Afternoons in due course."
The email was sent by Nine Entertainment's managing director of radio assets Tom Malone.
Station insiders said former Today show host Deb Knight was emerging as a strong contender to replace Price.
Price had been filling in for Alan Jones on the breakfast radio slot and it's understood he was due to go on holidays from Saturday.
The departure of Price comes days out from the next round of radio ratings for the year being released, indicating that he may not have had a strong hold on the audience in the latest survey period. The ratings will be released on Tuesday.
Price was given his plum Afternoon slot in mid-2019 to replace Chris Smith, who left 2GB this year.
Smith's departure was part of the long-running negotiations between Jones and the station's former management, who tried to oust Jones after the Wagner defamation trial.
Ray Hadley was promised Jones' slot while Price was told he could come off nights to take Hadley's midmorning spot.
When Jones re-signed his $8 million two-year contract, managers ousted Smith to keep their promise to take Price off nights.
Since Nine Entertainment took control of Macquarie Media it has run a broom through 2GB's ranks.
Price's departure follows that of Ross Greenwood, CEO Adam Lang, program director Michael Thompson and sales director Mark Noakes.
On Thursday Mr Greenwood announced he was stepping away from radio after 10 years behind the microphone at 2GB, hinting that management changes at the No. 1 rating station formed part of his decision.
The finance guru, who has hosted the popular Money News show on the Macquarie Media Network for the past decade, told listeners on Thursday night he would not return in 2020.
"Tomorrow, I'm going to finish up on Money News," Greenwood announced.
"I've pretty much decided, I've been thinking about this for the past 18 months or so, I've actually wanted to take a year off and that's what I'm going to do."
Greenwood is also a part of the 9 News team and is regularly seen during finance segments on the Today Show and in the 6pm news, but said his future in television was also up in the air.
"(I'm taking a break) certainly from radio, most likely television as well, we'll just see what happens there".
While not disclosing the full details, the media veteran informed listeners that Macquarie management wanted to make changes to Money News and he wasn't on board.
"Here at the radio station, they were keen for it to continue in some way, shape or form but they wanted change. There's new management here.
"I didn't necessarily agree with some of the changes they wanted to put in place, so I simply said, 'this is an easy decision,' I've wanted to take the year off."
"It's all good will and that type of thing. We'll wrap it up tomorrow night."