Radio host Jackie ‘O’ Henderson announced Monday that she is quitting her top-rated KIIS FM breakfast show for health reasons.
Henderson, 47, who has been coughing and sounding unwell for weeks, explained that she had been in ill health since contracting Covid-19 a few months ago and needed plenty of rest to recover from the virus.
She told listeners she would be off air for the next “few weeks” and did not specify a return date. However, with the end of the viewing year not far off, there’s a real possibility she won’t be back on the air until early next year.
Executive producer Sonia ‘Palestine’ Jahshan, who will leave KIIS FM late next year after being poached by Channel Seven’s Sunrise, will act as co-anchor while Henderson recovers.
Radio host Jackie ‘O’ Henderson (pictured) announced Monday that she is quitting her top-rated KIIS FM breakfast show for health reasons
While Henderson has been broadcasting from home for the past few weeks, she still struggled with the early start and doctors advised her to take extended leave.
“Since I caught that virus, I’ve been to the doctor several times and he said because I was pushing myself every day, after the show I just slept and I’m not getting better,” she explained.
“I feel like it’s gotten worse. I can hear it,” her co-host Kyle Sandilands replied, noting that Henderson couldn’t even laugh without breaking into a coughing fit.
Henderson (right, with co-host Kyle Sandilands) explained that she had been in poor health since contracting Covid-19 and needed plenty of rest to recover from the virus
“I just need to take some time off,” Henderson added. “I’m ending the show today. Like now.’
She continued, “You know how much this show means to me. You know how much I push through everything, and I wouldn’t do this unless I absolutely had to.
“Without going into details, I’m fine. I…’ she said, before Sandilands asked her gravely, ‘Are you going to die? Do you have cancer?’
She replied that she wasn’t dying or had cancer, but just needed “good, serious rest” with a doctor’s prescription.
“He basically said, ‘If you keep doing this, this will get a lot worse,’ and I took his advice,” she said.
“I rarely take doctors’ advice, I’m usually like, ‘No, it’ll be fine.’ [But] in any case, I will be all right and be back with you soon.’
“I feel like it’s gotten worse. I can hear it,” said her co-host Kyle Sandilands (pictured), noting that Henderson couldn’t even laugh without having a coughing fit.
When Sandilands asked for a timetable for her return, Henderson said, “It’s only for a few weeks, guys.”
He then joked that it was all just a ruse because the twice-divorced Henderson had secretly “taken a lover” – which she denied.
“It’s just the rest, early Mark, that’s about it,” she said.
“I just need to take some time off,” Henderson said. “I’m ending the show today.” (Henderson and Sandilands were pictured at the Australian Commercial Radio Awards in Sydney last month)
Later in the segment, Henderson started laughing, but immediately fell into a coughing fit, prompting newscaster Brooklyn Ross to take a swipe at their less funny rivals in commercial radio.
“Why don’t you trade with one of the other radio shows so at least you don’t have to laugh?” said Rose.
Henderson then wrote off the show and told her colleagues, “I’ll miss you. I love you. I’ll get better, thanks.’
Sandilands replied, “Listen, we love you. Come home as soon as you feel rested. And I’ll pretty much fly this plane when it falls from the sky.”
After Henderson opted out of her WFH lineup, Sandilands admitted, “I feel like I broke up with me.”
When Sandilands asked for a timetable for her return, Henderson said, “It’s only for a few weeks, guys.” The Sydney radio duo (pictured) recently registered their largest audience ever in the latest ratings
Henderson’s shocking departure comes just weeks after The Kyle and Jackie O Show recorded the largest audience for any Aussie radio show in history.
The pair, who told Daily Mail Australia last week that they were “speechless” by the results, attracted 818,000 listeners in the latest survey, with their podcast being downloaded 1.7 million times in October alone.
More to come.