Nova FM busted out the big reveal about Fitzy & Wippa’s new co-host.
The radio station accidentally confirmed that Kate Ritchie was going from ride to breakfast when a series of outdoor ads accidentally rolled out Thursday.
The announcement was supposed to be live on the air at 8am on Friday, but an apparent miscommunication between Nova and the ad agency meant Sydneysiders saw posters for the new lineup splashed across the CBD a day early.
This PR failure was compounded by the fact that the ads themselves were frankly bizarre and verging on disturbing.
The posters featured the words “Coming soon” next to the faces of Ritchie and co-hosts Ryan “Fitzy” Fitzgerald and Michael “Wippa” Wipfli, merged into a three-headed blob.
Nova FM Radio station accidentally confirmed that Kate Ritchie was going from ride to breakfast when a series of outdoor advertisements accidentally rolled out on Thursday. The announcement was scheduled to take place live on Fitzy & Wippa at 8am Friday morning
Nova confirmed in a statement Friday that Ritchie would be joining Fitzgerald and Wipfli on their Sydney breakfast show starting March 13.
“I’m so excited to join Fitzy and Wippa in the very competitive breakfast slot,” Ritchie said.
“I’m a huge fan of the show and I’ve been good friends with the guys for years. Driving has been an important part of my life for the past eight years, but I’m thrilled to take on this new challenge by returning to breakfast radio in my hometown.
“Can’t wait to wake up Sydneysiders alongside two of the industry’s beloved breakfast announcers.”
Fitzgerald and Wipfli added: ‘We’ve been annoying Kate in the office for over a decade; now we can do it every morning.
“We’re excited for our audience to hear how funny Kate thinks we are. Nova listeners have always loved Kate and now she’s featured every weekday. Please enjoy your breakfast.’
The announcement comes a day after Ricki-Lee Coulter was confirmed as Ritchie’s replacement on the Kate, Tim and Joel National Drive Show
Ritchie had been absent from the afternoon slot for months during which time she entered rehab for alcohol addiction.
Coulter, 37, said she was “so happy” to take over alongside co-hosts Tim Blackwell and Joel Creasey. Their show has now been renamed Ricki-Lee, Tim & Joel.
The announcement was due this morning, but due to an apparent miscommunication between Nova and the ad agency, Sydneysiders saw posters for the new lineup in the CBD a day early. (Pictured: Kate Ritchie)
This PR failure was compounded by the fact that the ads themselves were bizarre and disturbing. The posters featured the words “Coming soon” next to the faces of Ritchie and co-hosts Ryan “Fitzy” Fitzgerald and Michael “Wippa” Wipfli, merged into a three-headed blob
Nova confirmed in a statement on Friday that Ritchie would be joining Fitzgerald (left) and Wipfli (right) at their breakfast show in Sydney on March 13
“I love Tim and Joel like the brothers I never had but always wanted, and I’ve had so much fun with them in the studio – they’re the best in the business!” Coulter said Thursday.
“I have so much love for Kate and I’m so glad I was able to help out on the Drive show this past year. I can’t wait to become an official member of the Nova family!’
Tim and Joel added that they are equally excited to have Ricki-Lee on board, saying her “energy wakes us up every day”.
Ritchie said she wished her successor the best of luck in her new role and was “excited” to move to something new.
The announcement comes a day after Ricki-Lee Coulter (left) was confirmed as Ritchie’s replacement on the Kate, Tim and Joel National Drive Show
“I’ve had an incredible eight years as part of the Nova’s Drive team and I wish Ricki-Lee all the luck in the world,” she said.
“I’m thrilled to take on an exciting new challenge and can’t wait to share what I’m going to do next.”
Rumors surfaced last week that Ritchie was planning to switch from Nova’s national drive show to the network’s Sydney breakfast show.
She announced last year that she was taking a break from the Kate, Tim & Joel show to focus on her health, but sources at the network said she wouldn’t be returning.
It was later revealed that she was seeking treatment for alcohol addiction, after Daily Mail Australia obtained photographs of her outside rehab.
“I’ve had an incredible eight years as part of the Nova’s Drive team and I wish Ricki-Lee all the luck in the world,” Ritchie (center) said in a statement.
The ex-Home and Away actress then said in a statement that the challenges of the past year had led to an “unhealthy dependence on alcohol.”
Meanwhile, Fitzgerald and Wipfli’s longtime co-anchor Sarah McGilvray faced a “brutal” exit from the breakfast show to make way for Ritchie.
Nova FM employees spoke of their “shock” and “confusion” at her sudden departure.
Current and former employees of the radio station told Daily Mail Australia they were blindsided by the news that McGilvray was being pushed aside, some only learning about it through the press last week.
Fitzgerald and Wipfli’s longtime co-anchor Sarah McGilvray (second from right) facing a ‘brutal’ exit from the breakfast show to make way for Ritchie
One staff member said her departure was “brutal” for someone who had “given a decade of her life” to a radio show and was popular with listeners, adding that she was “thrown aside without even a proper goodbye.”
“The boys from Nova are stunned. Most people didn’t even find out until the stories got out. They had all asked, “Where’s Sarah?” and were confused,” said another.
McGilvray spent 12 years on Fitzy and Wippa, spending eight of those as a co-host alongside Fitzgerald and Wipfli. Prior to that, she was a senior producer for the Sydney breakfast program.
Her departure had not been confirmed on air since she disappeared from the show nearly four weeks ago following a blowout with management over her role at the network.
A source with knowledge of the discussion said McGilvray was “upset and angry” at her bosses for effectively taking her job away from her by bringing in Ritchie as the third host.
Nova execs apparently tried to offer her a “consolation deal” where she would take on a “leadership role” within the company, but she turned it down and walked out.
McGilvray’s departure had not been confirmed on air since she disappeared from the show nearly four weeks ago following a blowout with management over her role at the network