Radio host Jase Hawkins has opened up about his father’s health battle on air.
The KIIS 101.1 Melbourne breakfast host recently discussed how his father is battling cancer as a result of exposure to asbestos from his years working as a tradesman.
‘He’s done three rounds of chemo, and only last week we found out that it hasn’t been working, and he’s now going into palliative care,’ he said on Jase & PJ.
Tough times: Jase Hawkins (pictured) has opened up about his father’s health battle on-air. The KIIS FM’s 101.1 Melbourne breakfast show host recently discussed how his father is battling cancer
‘My dad isn’t doing well,’ the father of two admitted. ‘He got cancer through asbestos because he was a tradie back in the day.’
He also thanked his co-host, Polly ‘PJ’ Harding, for her support.
‘You’ve been great, by the way, you’ve been amazing,’ he told her.
Hawkins’ family situation means Harding, who was set to leave the show in June, may have to delay her return to New Zealand.
Father and son: ‘My dad isn’t doing well,’ he admitted. ‘He got cancer through asbestos ’cause he was a tradie back in the day.’ Hawkins is pictured with his father in January
An ARN spokesperson told Radio Today the network had been forced to delay its long-awaited unveiling of Harding’s replacement.
‘The announcement of the new co-host joining Jase Hawkins in Melbourne has been delayed while Jase and his family spend time with his family in Queensland,’ they said.
Weekend Today host Lauren Phillips is said to be the hot favourite to replace Harding.
According to the Herald Sun last month, Phillips was ‘expected to join Jase Hawkins as co-host next month’ – although that now seems unlikely.
Phillips has had experience on the airwaves, having presented Jase & PJ’s summer fill-in show with Ryan Jon.
Set to join? Weekend Today host Lauren Phillips (pictured) ‘is tipped to replace’ Polly ‘PJ’ Harding on KIIS FM Melbourne’s breakfast show Jase & PJ
An ARN spokesperson said in May: ‘We look forward to making an announcement soon as to who will be joining Jase Hawkins on the KIIS 101.1 Breakfast show, but at this stage PJ “Polly” Harding’s replacement is yet to be signed.’
In March, a well-placed source told Daily Mail Australia that Phillips had been offered the radio gig.
KIIS FM executives had a wish list of candidates to replace Harding, all of whom were known radio talents.
Delays: According to the Herald Sun in May, Lauren was ‘expected to join Jase Hawkins as co-host next month’. Pictured: Polly ‘PJ’ Harding
They considered Kate Langbroek, who hosts the 3pm Pick-Up, and Yvie Jones, who hosted a Hit Network summer show with Grant Denyer in 2019.
Should Phillips take on the role, it’s understood she would juggle her commitments between KIIS FM and as a weather presenter on Weekend Today.
In March, Harding broke down in tears on air as she told listeners that resigning was ‘one of the hardest decisions’ she’d ever made.
Top of the list: In March, a well-placed source told Daily Mail Australia that Phillips (pictured) had been offered the radio gig
She is returning to her native New Zealand after a ‘challenging’ year which saw her ‘priorities change’ after getting engaged.
Harding will be finishing up in the coming weeks. Hawkins is not leaving the program.
She explained that being separated from her family and fiancé in New Zealand during the Covid-19 pandemic last year had taken a toll.
Announcement: In March, Harding broke down in tears on air as she told listeners that resigning was ‘one of the hardest decisions’ she’d ever made
Harding got engaged in December to her long-term partner, known only as ‘Beej’, but hasn’t been living with him because she works in Melbourne.
In addition to the pressure of a long-distance relationship, she lost her father in 2019.
‘It’s not been an easy decision to make but I know for me it’s the right one and will kickstart a brand new chapter,’ she said.
‘I will miss Jase and the whole team so much, but rest assured we will definitely stay in contact as Jase is adamant to be my head bridesmaid.’
Challenges: She explained that being separated from her family and fiancé in New Zealand during the Covid-19 pandemic last year had taken a toll
Staying: Hawkins, PJ’s co-host for the past six years, is not leaving the show
Hawkins revealed it had been distressing watching his co-host struggle behind the scenes over the last 12 months, saying she would often be in tears during ad breaks.
‘There were mornings where we’d be in an ad break and you’re in tears and you looked at me like, “I’m only staying here at the moment for you,”‘ he said.
Harding agreed she was reluctant to resign because she felt like she’d be letting Hawkins down, but ultimately she had to focus on her own happiness.
Teamwork: The Jase and PJ partnership began six-and-a-half years ago when they joined forces to host a drive show in New Zealand