ABC radio host quits live on air saying he’s ‘too spicy’ for broadcaster
Radio host Josh Szeps resigned live on air during his ABC Afternoons show on Wednesday, hinting he felt constrained by what he can and can’t say while working at the broadcaster.
In an unexpected move Szeps spoke directly to his NSW listeners and admitted he felt it was becoming increasingly more difficult to have upfront discussions on his show.
“Having truly rational, bulls**t free conversations about controversial issues is risky these days,” he said. “The penalties for speaking bluntly, the penalties for trying to coax people out of their thought silos and echo chambers are very high.”
“The bottom line is, I’m a bit too spicy for this gig,” he said.
Perceived constraints encouraged ABC host to start own podcast
Szeps implied working within ABC guidelines on his radio show was what prompted him to start his own podcast Uncomfortable Conversations — which is regarded as one of the most successful Australian interview shows, attracting over three million downloads. His podcast gaining popularity and becoming “financially viable” may have influenced his decision to resign from his position at the ABC.
“Journalism needs more contrarians, not fewer. More risk takers, not fewer,” he said, calling himself a “misfit”.
But Szeps also praised the ABC and several of the individuals charged with running the broadcaster.
“The ABC is the greatest institution in Australian public life,” he said. “I believe it is the jewel in this country’s crown. I have no beef with ABC or its management.”
Szeps to focus on independent projects
Szeps will remain with the ABC until the end of 2023 and has plans to focus on independent projects moving forward, such as working on his podcast as well as starting a YouTube program early next year.
“I’ve had a blast on Afternoons and I’m looking forward to having even spicier conversations on my own turf,” he said.
The resignation will be a big loss for ABC with Szeps having a strong listener base.
“Josh has been an exemplary presenter and we’ll miss him greatly. His mixture of playfulness, intellect and fearlessness is one of a kind,” ABC Radio Sydney Manager, Steve Ahern said.
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