Darren ‘Whackhead’ Simpson dropped a bombshell on 947’s Breakfast Xpress show this morning. The bad news is that 947 listeners will no longer be hearing him on their drive into work in the mornings, as the popular presenter has resigned from the morning drive time show. The good news is that Whackhead has not quit 947 entirely, and that Anele is taking the wheel in the morning drive time slot while Darren will steer the afternoon show.
Whackhead explained that the whole Breakfast Xpress team is moving to the afternoon drive time slot, effective 2 April. The primary reason for the move is so that the team can spend more time with their families, particularly Simpson, who explained that he is missing proper time with family. “I come into work at four in the morning and oftentimes leave at nine at night. I see my kids asleep.”
The powers that be at Primedia Broadcasting have made a straight swap: Darren moves to the afternoon show, and Anele will take over the morning drive time show.
In a statement, Anele said, “After five years on 947’s (afternoon) drive show, I am honoured to take on the challenge of the breakfast show. My first big radio break was at 947 and I am thankful to management for believing in me and giving me this opportunity. The station, and the breakfast show in particular, is home to radio royalty.”
Simpson describes the afternoon drive time slot as the perfect time for presenters who have family as they can live a more normal live with more regular working hours. ”
“Breakfast radio is physically and emotionally exhausting. I don’t think people realise all the demands that are placed on a breakfast show – the extensive preparation that goes into it and all that is required for the station and for clients. As the host, I am often here until 9pm at night.
“I have a young family and last year I hit a point where, despite being in Johannesburg, I hadn’t seen my kids awake for three straight days. It set off alarms for me, and I realised that something had to change,” he said in a statement.
Simpson prefaced the announcement by explaining that he is a goal-driven person and he has achieved everything that he has wanted to with the Breakfast Xpress team. This included increasing listener numbers, making a difference in people’s lives, and making a lot of money for the station as it is a commercial station.
As station manager Ravi Naidoo said, 947 was open to the opportunity to freshen the two drive time shows. Drive time radio is “critical” in Joburg, where traffic dictates the routines of significant numbers of commuters. Recent research from the new Broadcast Research Council (BRC) survey shows that 947 has particularly high incidence of in-car listening in both mornings and afternoons.
“We’ve been following this traffic and listening trend for some time, and feel confident that it’s the right time to bring some new flavour into these shows, while retaining the personalities who our audiences love and relate to,” he said.
Simpson also assured listeners “nothing is going to change. We are not moving house, we are still in the same house just in a different room”.
Another reason for the move is so that Simpson can pursue his studies, as he has ambitions to study law and will have more time to do this with the afternoon show.
And, of course, Anele certainly has no problem with talking. ““Anele’s flair for talk and interviews will suit the breakfast slot which offers more time for extended conversations, in between the music mix. She’s certainly got the gravitas to host the breakfast show, and we love that she’s come full circle to this point, on 947,” said Naidoo.
The announcement was met with callers reminiscing about their journey with Simpson and the rest of the team over the years, including discussing their favourite pranks, expressing their admiration for Simpson and the rest of the team, and, once caller, even saying how skeptical he was when Simpson started, but he is now convinced.
Follow Michael Bratt on Twitter @MichaelBratt8