Angry Bridget Hustwaite Unloads On Richard Kingsmill's triple j Departure

14 December 2023 | 9:19 pm | Staff Writer

"Do you know who the first person was to play Ed Sheeran in Australia? It was Richard F**king Kingsmill, so don’t even pull out that line."

Bridget Hustwaite

Bridget Hustwaite (Supplied)

Triple J shocked the Australian music industry earlier this week announcing the departure of their head of music Richard Kingsmill after over three decades guiding the music at the station, but while current employees have been understandably muted, ex-Good Nights host Bridget Hustwaite is having none of the PR spin.

Unloading on Instagram today, Hustwaite voiced the feelings that we’ve heard across the industry and from current and former triple j staff.

“So fortunate I don’t work at the ABC anymore. I can speak on this because I don’t need to be afraid of losing my job, which is pretty f**ked, but I’ve got nothing to lose here and I will gladly speak on it because it is disgraceful,” she said.

“Richard wouldn’t have wanted a sendoff because he doesn’t want to make it about him. It is about the music. Always was. Always will be about the music for Richard. But I just think it is criminal that we didn’t know that he would have his final shows… 2023 and The Funhouse. HE knew they would be his final shows. How can you treat someone like that who has given over three decades of service. Not only that, but what he’s done for Australian music and keeping it afloat. You have NO idea.”

Holding nothing back at new ABC radio head and ex-Nova staffer Ben Latimer, Hustwaite blasted the decision and what it may mean for the network moving forward.

“You know what’s funny in this [press release] where it’s like ‘Kingsmill’s role will be replaced with something more familiar to the commercial radio industry’. Do you know who the first person was to play Ed Sheeran in Australia? It was Richard F**king Kingsmill, so don’t even pull out that line.

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“Kingsmill could do that [commercial radio] job. What really annoys me is that he was always the first to cop flack from anyone about anything at triple j. ‘He’s a gatekeeper, He’s too old to be on the youth station’. You don’t know the sheer volume of music that comes through. You can’t play everything. That’s why they put on Double J and Unearthed. Are you serious? And ‘He’s too old?’ You need someone with experience and knowledge. And his work ethic? Unmatched. Good luck filling that void. I think it is truly disgusting. The lack of acknowledgement, no sendoff. He wouldn’t have wanted a sendoff anyway, but for a man who’s been there for over three decades?”

The Music has confirmed that Kingsmill’s departure was a shock to staff, with some finding out prior to the official staff ‘all hands’ meeting and there is anger around both the decision and the way it was handled.

Hustwaite clarified that her opinions were her own, although also echoed that her anger was shared by current staff. "For the record, Richard would be so pissed off that I’m doing this. He’d be like “just shut the fuck up” because he wouldn’t want to make a fuss of it, but I don’t work at the ABC. I don’t have to worry about losing my job so I can be as unhinged and pissed off as I like and I know this is a shared feeling. It’s just so cooked.”

The surprise announcement on Monday left the music industry in a state of shock, with social media in a buzz between industry lamenting the loss of a giant.

In a formal statement, Kingsmill said of his ABC origins: “I started with a lot of passion, but pretty modest skills to be honest. I’m incredibly grateful in how the ABC kept encouraging me to grow and gave me time to develop. I’ve worked with so many amazing and talented people, you can’t help but learn and be inspired every single day. I started with two main loves – music and radio. Those have been constants for me across all these years.”

When pressed on his fondest memories, Kingsmill expectedly reflected on the team he fostered at triple j: “When the triple j team works together, at Splendour In The Grass or on a Hottest 100, it’s the greatest feeling ever. We drive each other, we all pull our weight, and we think about the audience, and what they expect and want from us. The dedication to what we do is something I’ll never forget. It’s such an important thing for all of us because we know the difference we make.”

He said of his decision to step away from the ABC now, “I’ve given my heart and soul to everything I’ve done here. The best feeling now, at the end of all that, is knowing how much I’ve still got left in the tank in continuing to contribute to the Australian music industry.”