David Koch announces he is leaving Sunrise after 21 years

Seven Network says a replacement for the breakfast television host has been selected and will be announced on 5 June

Australia’s longest-serving breakfast television host, David “Kochie” Koch, has announced his departure from the Seven Network’s Sunrise program, after hosting the show for 21 years.

Koch announced his retirement on Monday, having clocked up a record 16,000 hours of live television during more than 5,300 shows and some 50,000 interviews.

The 67 year-old became emotional as he told Monday morning viewers he had “a bit of news”.

“I have decided to hang up the boots as co-host of Sunrise,” he announced, before paying tribute to his colleagues, co-host Natalie Barr, sports reporter Mark Beretta, producer David Walters and his boss Kerry Stokes.

In a statement, the television host said his colleagues had allowed him to be himself and thanked them for “their understanding when I’ve stuffed up – which is more often than I’d like to admit – and for their constant encouragement and respect”.

He said that “after 20 consecutive premierships in the breakfast TV ratings game, I’m frankly finding it harder to get off the ground to take those marks and I think it’s time to bring [in] the next generation.”

Koch said he would be focusing his post-Sunrise life on his family and the family business interests in Pinstripe Media and the Ausbiz business channel.

“As everyone knows, I’m a finance nerd so you’ll still see me pop up every so often on RBA board meeting days or covering other big financial news, but as a guest rather than host,” he said.

Seven said Koch’s replacement had been appointed and would be announced on 5 June.

Stokes, Seven West Media’s chairman, said Koch had “played a central part in turning around the fortunes of the network”, which has been in fierce and constant competition with Nine’s Today breakfast show, and its longtime host Karl Stefanovic.

“I wish David and his wife Libby the best after what has been a rigorous work schedule, which has also included many pro bono roles in the sports and charity arenas,” Stokes said in the statement.

The network’s director of news and public affairs, Craig McPherson, said Seven had “plucked [Koch] from relative obscurity” two decades ago.

“What started as a most unlikely presenter soon became a unique success story that others simply could not counter or mimic, as is often the way,” McPherson said.

“He excelled across all strands of the tapestry of live television, three-and-a-half hours day in, day out for a record-breaking 21 years.”

Koch’s final appearance on Sunrise will be on 9 June.


Kelly Burke

The GuardianTramp

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