The ABC is making major changes to its radio line-up next year, with iconic Classic FM host Margaret Throsby ending daily broadcasting and former News Corp Australia chief executive Kim Williams joining the public broadcaster as a regular presenter.
The biggest changes are at Radio National, which will cancel almost all its music programming and give more prominence to conservative voices. Up to seven staff could lose their jobs in the changes.
Throsby, who has hosted the Midday program on ABC Classic FM since 1994, will leave weekday radio to host a three-hour program on Saturday morning.
The Midday program, in which guests share their life stories and select their favourite music, will not return in 2017.
ABC head of radio Michael Mason said the decision was driven by Throsby, 75, who wanted to step down from daily broadcasting.
Former Channel Seven newsreader Chris Bath will join ABC 702 as evenings host, replacing Christine Anu.
Anu will host a new national program to air on local radio on Friday and Saturday nights.
At Radio National, conservative commentator and Fairfax Media columnist Tom Switzer will take over as host of Sunday Extra, replacing former Fairfax Media and Crikey editor Jonathan Green.
Switzer, a former opinion editor at The Australian, will continue hosting his current program Behind the Lines.
Williams - who was overlooked for the job of ABC managing director last year - will host What Keeps Me Awake? on Fridays at 1.30pm.
The program features interviews with prominent Australians on important issues they feel are being overlooked.
Williams has previously criticised the ABC's "endless capacity for self-congratulation", said it breaks little news and accused it of dumbing down its content.
"We want to ensure we are presenting a diversity of viewpoints on air," Mason said.
Daily program Life Matters will be overhauled and no longer focus on social issues. Instead, Mason said it would focus on issues such as "family health, wellbeing and parenting", with Amanda Smith replacing Ellen Fanning as host.
Radio National will also launch a new religious panel program, titled God Forbid, on Sunday nights to be hosted by James Carleton.
Music programs The Inside Sleeve, The Live Set, The Daily Planet and The Rhythm Divine will all be decommissioned.
Mason said music resources would be shifted to Double J, allowing RN to strengthen its role as "a leader of big ideas and big thinking".
"This isn't a budget decision, it is about hard strategic thinking to ensure we stay relevant with our audiences and remain vibrant," he said.
He said seven jobs could be lost because of the decommissioning of the music programs, but some staff might be redeployed.
The Nightlife program on ABC local radio will be extended from five to seven nights a week. Sunday Nights with John Cleary, which focuses on religious issues, will not return next year.
ABC Radio will also create a new Indigenous Unit to boost its coverage of Indigenous affairs.
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