Music Australia News

Julia Lester leaves ABC Classic FM

Graham Strahle
| August 14, 2015

ABC Classic FM loses another of its high profile presenters when Julia Lester, host of the network’s Classic Drive program for 12 years, retires from the ABC in September.

Julia Lester Credit: ABC

Julia Lester
Credit: ABC

Lester, who joined ABC radio in 1985 as a programmer, said in announcing her decision: “I’m fortunate enough to have been able to say ‘I love my job…’ Thanks ABC, and thanks to you, listeners/viewers from around the country and now around the world.”

The Classic Drive show is broadcast from Adelaide and it is understood Lester’s position will be replaced by a yet-to-be appointed staff member based in Sydney or Melbourne. An ABC spokesperson is quoted as saying the reason is to bring the drive-time show “closer to other prime time presenters in the eastern states”.

The news is seen as a further blow to Adelaide’s ABC Collinswood Centre, where ABC Classic FM was established in 1976. Last November, ABC managing director Mark Scott announced a decision to close the Centre’s entire TV production.

Erstwhile Breakfast host Emma Ayres left the station at the end of last year and now teaches cello in Afghanistan.

Comments

  1. Mary McKenzie

    Julia, I am very sorry to hear that you are leaving Classic Drive. I have listened to your show for years and I have always been pleased when you returned after a break. Yet another part of my listening life is going away. I didn’t always agree with you about the music you played, but you were always fun and interesting. Have a good life.

  2. eric lindbloom

    By accident I heard Julia talk about her farewells. I have to add mine. Julia you clearly are a remarkable person: wise, witty and a host of other gifts. I will miss your voice and have enjoyed it for the last 17+ years since arriving here in 1997 — or is that 18 years. I will cry that many just for starters.

    All the very best and you are already missed.

    Eric Lindbloom
    Perthville in WA via the USA

  3. jonty pritchard

    wow julia over the last 5 years i have listened to the a b c ,
    my fav radio station more than enough times to know who,!!
    i liked listening to the most if only , for 3 hours monday to
    friday your’e voice ( SENDS SHIVERS UP MY SPINE )
    where did you , acquire that gorgeous sexy soooo relaxing
    tonal paradigm i’m going to miss you !! so are many more
    have a fabulous retirement ,sad to say bye bye , jonty

  4. Stefan Fechner

    So sorry to hear about your retirement. I spent many hours listening to your beautiful voice, informative, concise and elegant tops and tails to the music you presented while punting my truck from one delivery or pickup point to another or queuing up to have my freight processed. Your style reminds me of John Cargher’s excellent presentations when he hosted “Music for Pleasure” and “Singers of Renown”.

    Of course my regret is entirely selfish. No matter. I hope you’ll enjoy everything you are about to do next. Just the same I’ll miss you. Fare well.

    1. James Elkins

      Julia,
      I have been a saxophonist for over 61 years and I listened to your beautiful, soothing voice with a bottle of wine on many evenings. I regard myself as a qualified listener but where will I ever find such a mix of music again to push me back and forth through dreamland. You have an unmatched talent to present the most amazing programs of beautiful underground music. Forgive me if you don’t regard it as underground but it is impossible to find such an array of gorgeous music all in one place since you left. You are irreplaceable. You have left a space in my life.

  5. Terry Brown

    Ah Julla,

    How I will your miss your mellow, mellifluous voice, your interesting comments on artists and of course the selection of music, all perfect for driving home in an enjoyable fashion regardless of traffic or the day one has had. I’m sure I speak for thousands of others as well. I wish you well in your retirement which I’m sure will be productive and enjoyable. Good luck and fair winds.

    Terry.

  6. Chris Hamilton

    Dear Julia, it has been such a pleasure to listen to you over these many years, out in the garden or in the workshop, earphones in, and reminiscing with you over the wonderful music that you have presented. Best wishes in your future escapades. Kind regards. Chris

  7. Roo ham

    My most favourite programme has been classic drive – Julia I’m crying buckets that you are going – not impressed with the powers that be for their decision making.
    I wish you the very best
    Cheers
    Roo Ham

  8. Deborah Paszynska

    Thank you for your company over the years Julia. I have cooked many meals listening to your show.
    Enjoy your retirement. You will be missed 🙂

  9. Peter Harms

    Deep gratitude for the joy and restoration at the later part of our day ,you and your music have given to my wife and I over the years dear Julia.
    May you enjoy an enriching retirement.

    Oh I will miss your magical voice!

    With kindest regards
    Peter

  10. Yvonne Van Ede

    I, amongst many, many others, am going to miss your delightful presentation on ‘Drive’ each weekday afternoon. Enjoy your ‘retirement’ , but return if opportunity avails.

  11. Denyse Doughton

    Dear Julia,
    Thank you so much for all the years at Claaic Drive, my favorite program. I will miss hearing you and the beautiful music you so aptly presented. My best wishes for a very happy future.
    ♥♥

  12. Sue

    Dear Julia,
    I’m so sorry I will not be hearing your lovely voice, comments and music any more. My husband and I have been listening for years, while sailing up and down the coast and in the various homes we’ve lived in.
    Thank you and all the very best,
    Sue.

  13. Richard Ettenson

    DEAREST JULIA (MY KEYBOARD IS STUCK IN CAPS) ;-))

    I LIVED DOWN UNDER FOR 5 YEARS AND RETURNED TO THE US FOR THE LAST DOZEN OR SO. I NEVER MISSED A DAY OF CLASSIC DRIVE (WELL, ALMOST NEVER) EVEN WITH THE 17 HOUR TIME DIFFERENCE ONCE STATE-SIDE. IT ALLOWED ME TO PRETEND I WAS LIVING IN YOUR MAGICAL COUNTRY LISTENING TO YOUR MELLIFLUOUS VOICE AS IF IT WERE LATE AFTERNOON IN QLD….YOU SHALL BE MISSED. AND THANK YOU.
    RICHARD FROM ARIZONA

    1. Andy Sarkozy

      Hi Alfie, What a kind gesture! We didn’t receive the coin purse here at Music Australia – did you send it to Julia Lester or Music Australia? If you sent it to Julie, it would be best to get in touch with her.

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