Iconic Gladstone star loses job, city heartbroken
MORNINGS will sound very different in Gladstone, with an iconic radio host no longer on our airways.
Benjamin Norris had his last HitFM radio show broadcast last Thursday after 18 months as a presenter and panel operator.
He and Southern Cross Austereo have parted ways in what could come as a surprise to listeners.
"At the end of the day I felt as though throughout my whole life I've always been true to myself - from Big Brother, TV and radio," Mr Norris told The Observer.
The 2012 Big Brother winner became a Gladstone personality, known for his quirky sense of humour and passion for the community.
"It's been a pleasure to wake everyone in central Queensland up at 5am every day," he said.
"The biggest takeaway I've had from the show is that it's so important to be who you are and not give that up.
"The person I was in the show is who I am outside of work and that's rare in the industry.
"Just like you in the morning, I may burn the toast, drink too much coffee and forget facts but at least I was, and always will remain real."
Mr Norris said while his Gladstone radio career has ended sooner than he expected, he has no plans to leave the region.
Now Mr Norris will be kept busy as Holden's LGBTI ambassador for a campaign that started yesterday.
He said it was a privilege to be offered the opportunity, four and a half years after he proposed to his partner Ben Williams on the Big Brother grand finale.
But while he's positive about the future, he's going to miss his listeners.
"I would have loved to have stayed on but sometimes things don't work out the way you would like," he said.
"When people would call up that would be the best thing ... there were so many laugh out loud moments.
"I always wanted to do more phoners, to make it less about us, more about them because they're the real stars."
Hit FM and Southern Cross Austereo could not be reached for comment.
Gladstone fans expressed their disappointment on The Observer's Facebook page.
Peter Hansen said: There goes a cool radio personality. The breakfast programme has not been the same since the rebadge and programming change (yes, it was obvious!). About time Austereo learned not to stuff with things that work in the name of saving a few more dollars by more commonality of programme style. Maybe time to change to another network at breakfast time!
Abby Brumby said: No!! He was the ONLY reason why I turn my radio on in morning.
Amanda Schafer said: Funny. I had noticed his absence this week, and was wondering this morning if he had left …
Megan Castles said: Oh, how sad. Carly and Ben were an awesome team. My Favourite so far …