After 500 shows and more than 2,000 hours of programming, Felicity Urquhart has announced she is signing off as host of Saturday Night Country.

Since 2010, the award-winning country music artist has been the voice of Australia’s home of country music on ABC radio.

For four hours each week, Urquhart has brought listeners the best of contemporary and classic country music, interviewing legends in the business and discovering emerging talents.

“I will be stepping aside and leaving the microphone,” Urquhart announced on air overnight.

“It’s all about family, health and getting the creativity back.”

A 14-time Golden Guitar winner, Urquhart took a brief hiatus when her husband Glen Hannah died in early 2019.

“The last 18 months have been the most unusual in my personal life and it seemed very clear, especially after what we’ve all been through this year, that family is so important,” Urquhart said.

“I really want to spend quality time with my young girls, be present and pass on that creative spirit.

“I need to look after my health — it probably has waned a little bit — and I’ve worked out that I’m not superwoman.”

Two men and a woman stand smiling holding an award.
In 2011 Felicity won the Country Music Association (CMA) International Country Broadcaster Award.  Pictured with the late Robb Potts (left) and Dierks Bentley (right).(Supplied: Greg Sylvia)

Born and raised in the country capital of Tamworth, Urquhart seemed destined for stardom at a young age.

She grew up in a house filled with country music and listened to local radio country show Hoedown each night before bedtime.

The young Felicity used to pretend to be a radio announcer and record shows in her bedroom.

For the past decade, Urquhart has taken her dulcet tones and radio program to new audiences with live shows from festivals at Port Fairy, Mildura, the Gulf Country in Queensland, Tamworth, Gympie and the Gold Coast.

Saturday Night Country has even broadcast from a cruise ship near Vanuatu.

True blue praise from the top

Country music great John Williamson said he had appreciated every moment Urquhart had been on the radio.

“Felicity knows the industry and her bubbly presence and enthusiasm has been very good for our industry.”

A blonde-haired woman strums a guitar on stage.
Felicity performs at 2019 Groundwater Country Music Festival on the Gold Coast.(ABC Wide Bay: Scott Lamond)

Country Music Association of Australia (CMAA) president Dobe Newton said he was “gutted”.

“It is great for Fliss and it will give her time to relax but she has made an amazing contribution in terms of promoting our artists and our music following on in the wonderful tradition of the legendary [predecessor and program founder] John Nutting,” he said.

Mr Newton said Urquhart’s interviews had been informed by her own experiences of life on the road and her creative journey as a singer-songwriter.

“She asks the good questions and from a fan’s point of view they lead to getting to know the artists in a way you wouldn’t otherwise,” he said.

“Felicity is such a positive person and that comes through on the airwaves and it makes everybody who interacts with her smile.”

A woman and man stand on white sand with crystal clear water in the background recording the sounds of water splashing.
Felicity and Scott Lamond record sounds of Vanuatu for a live broadcast from the Pacific.(Supplied: Glen Hannah)

Thank you for listening

Announcing her decision on Saturday night, Urquhart thanked listeners for tuning in from all over Australia and the world.

ABC Country content manager Meagan Loader said Urquhart had always got to the heart and soul of each album and song for the audience.

“We will miss her energy, empathy and open-minded approach to supporting artists from across the country music community,” Ms Loader said.

Urquhart’s final Saturday Night Country will air on December 26.

It may be a farewell of sorts, but with plans to record and tour Australia performing her own music, Urquhart won’t be fading into the shadows.

“I’m not disappearing. I will still be very present in country music,” she said.

A new host of Saturday Night Country will be named at the end of January.


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