Popular ABC host Stephen Crittenden has resigned from the national broadcaster after a stellar 22 years to join Monica Attard’s fledgling The Global Mail. Staff say his departure represents a significant loss of intellectual capital for Aunty.

Crittenden covered the full slate of roles behind the microphone, including national arts reporter, co-presenter of national arts programExpress, the head of the Religion Department and presenter of Radio National’s Religion Report before its axing in 2008. Currently a producer and occasional fill-in presenter on Late Night Live, he told Crikey today he was leaving with “a very light heart” to grab “one of the hottest new jobs in the Australian media”.

When asked whether that meant he was joining the internet start-up Crittenden stayed mum, saying there was an embargo on his new job that would be lifted in a few weeks time. However, Crikey understands he will soon join The Global Mail alongside Propublicacorrespondent, former ABC producer and Columbia University postgrad Sharona Coutts, prominent Asia Pacific freelancer Aubrey Belford and Age higher education reporter Sarah-Jane Collins.

In 2008, Crittenden famously delivered a scathing on-air condemnation of cuts to the Religion Report and eight other Radio National programs including The Media Report. He fumed: “The decision to axe one of this network’s most distinctive and important programs … will condemn Radio National to even greater irrelevance. The ABC’s specialist units have been under attack for years, but the decapitation of the flagship program of the religion department effectively spells the death of religion at the ABC.” Crittenden, who still has a few weeks left at the ABC, declined to issue a parting salvo.

Peter Fray

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