Host dropping mic after decades on Melbourne airwaves

Melbourne radio stalwart Neil Mitchell is leaving 3AW’s Mornings program in December for a new role at the Nine Network.

"Contrary to a lot of reports, it's entirely my decision. In fact, the management has attempted to convince me to stay, for which I'm very grateful," Mitchell told listeners on Friday. 

"It's not an easy decision. I love this job. Apart from my family, journalism has been my life."

Mitchell has hosted the program since 1990, dominating the ratings. He was previously an executive at The Age newspaper and editor of The Herald.

The 71-year-old said he would leave the position to host a weekly podcast, present regular radio slots and provide commentary.

"It's time to go. It's time to do something else," Mitchell said.

"It'll hurt when I finally turn off the daily microphone on Friday, December 1.

"It'll hurt, but it's unquestionably the right thing and I'm really looking forward to a different role next year."

Mr Mitchell has often critiqued Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and warned any "champagne corks popping" at Spring Street, where Victoria's parliament is located, would be premature.

Mr Andrews was asked about Mr Mitchell's departure at a media conference and said it was a significant milestone.

"It's a big day, a really significant day. I'd simply say to Neil and his family, I wish you all the best," Mr Andrews said.

The announcement comes a day after Melbourne rival Virginia Trioli announced she would be leaving ABC Radio's Mornings program due to family illness and to work on a TV arts program.

On Friday, it was revealed Drive host Rafael Epstein would take over the program from mid September and Ali Moore was announced as his replacement.

Victorian opposition leader John Pesutto said the departures of Mr Mitchell and Ms Trioli are a big loss for media and politics in Victoria.

"What happens on 3AW and ABC Melbourne shape debate in many ways and Neil Mitchell and Virginia Trioli have been a part of that, I have enormous fondness for both and respect for both," he said.

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