International artists who visit Melbourne will still be welcome on The Conversation Hour but the show will place greater emphasis on issues of statewide significance – examining how cut-price milk in Melbourne, for example, affects the dairy farmers who produce it.
Long will co-host the show from ABC’s Shepparton studios while Hunt will broadcast from ABC’s Southbank headquarters. In addition to their Conversation Hour duties, both will file on-the-road reports for other ABC radio programs.
In a media career spanning more than two decades, Hunt has worked at 3CR, Triple R and Beat magazine. She joined ABC Melbourne as a traffic reporter in 2006, and has since been a roving reporter and a producer on most of the station’s programs. Raised in Gippsland, Hunt has also worked at ABC radio stations in regional Victoria.
Since January 2018, she has hosted ABC Melbourne’s 2pm show, but will step down on December 13 to focus on her new role. ABC Melbourne will later this week announce Hunt’s successor and a replacement for outgoing 12.30pm host Myf Warhurst. On Friday, management confirmed that comedian Sammy J will replace current breakfast hosts Sami Shah and Jacinta Parsons in January.
In 2010, Hunt told The Age’s Green Guide that she tried to sound like a “typical” reporter in her early days with ABC.
“I thought I had to be a certain way and act how Aunty listeners would want me to,” she said. “But then the [Black Saturday] bushfires happened and it was horrific on a scale you can’t imagine. You just throw yourself in and do everything you can to help. I stopped trying to be a reporter and just became myself.”
Darwin-born Long has previously presented ABC’s Victorian Country Hour program and filled in on ABC Melbourne’s morning and drive programs. His recent reports have covered alleged dirty tricks in Australia’s wool industry; big corporations buying farmland and water across the southern Murray-Darling; and a drought-battered farming community being denied federal assistance – because its agricultural employment rate was too low.