Radio personality Merrick Watts has announced he will be leaving Triple M when the year is out.
The comedian, who hosts the network’s drive program in Sydney, will not attempt to renew his three-year contract when it expires at the end of 2017.
Watts’ departure will be the second big loss for Southern Cross Austereo, with Hamish and Andy also set to hang up their headphones at the end of the year.
Speaking on Justin Hamilton’s podcast Can You Take This Photo Please, Watts said after 20 years of radio it’s time to step back and let someone else sit in front of the microphone.
“I’m a comedian first, broadcaster second,” he said. “I think I’ll take a year out of radio next year. At least, on a full-time basis.”
Watts said he would like to go back into radio one day, and may do fill-in shifts, but he needs to take a “break” from churning out opinions and jokes every single day.
Speaking to Fairfax Media, Watts stressed the decision to leave wasn’t a snap one. His relationship with Triple M, meanwhile, has never been better.
“It just feels like the right time,” he said. “At the start of this year I started my solo standup show, and I was in Adelaide and thought, right, this will be my last year [of radio]. It just evolved that way. You’ve always got to take the time [to decide].
“You can’t work in radio forever. Otherwise, you’re John Laws and that’s ridiculous.”
Watts also said it’s “no secret” he wants to get into acting, and has already been to a couple of auditions.
“I love radio, I just need to do other stuff,” he said. “I just need to do different things and be in a different creative space. If I come back into radio, it’ll be a different evolution and I’ll have learnt other things from elsewhere.”
Watts began his career as a stand-up comedian in the 1990s, before making the leap to radio with fellow comedian Tim Ross. After a stint with Triple J, he moved to commercial network Nova before joining Triple M.
After a brief stint on 2DayFM, Watts returned to Triple M in 2015 to host his own drive show.
Merrickville airs on Triple M in Sydney, Monday to Friday from 4pm to 6pm.