Karen Tighe to depart ABC

Karen Tighe wraps a 35 year career across ABC TV and Radio, as a trailblazer for women's sport.

Award winning sports broadcaster and ABC Sport presenter, Karen Tighe has announced she will leave the ABC to focus on her health.

Tighe joined the ABC in 1989 as part of the TV sports team where she spent eight years as a sports researcher, broadcaster and presenter, anchoring golf, tennis, netball, cycling and more.

In 1997 she made the move from TV to radio and became synonymous with the ABC’s sport coverage as presenter of the national weekend sports program Grandstand, a role she has held ever since.

She covered Olympics in Sydney, Athens, Beijing and Rio Games along with six Paralympic Games for ABC TV in Barcelona, Lillehammer, Atlanta, Sydney, Beijing and London.

She has covered numerous World Championships including swimming, basketball and netball and was the regular host of ABC TV’s coverage of the Hopman Cup tennis tournament from 1994 to 2010.

Between 1991 and 1994 Tighe was part of Live and Sweaty hosted by Andrew Denton and later Libbi Gorr as Elle McFeast. After relocating to Perth in 2001, Tighe was the sports presenter on ABC TV Perth’s weeknight news for six years.

“ABC TV and then Radio Sport have been my working home since March 1989 after the combination of a letter and little piece to camera on a VHS I had posted to then Head of ABC TV Sport David Salter asking for a job, resulted in being asked to come in for a chat and then the next week offered to join the TV Sport team at Gore Hill,” she said.

“Leaving the ABC has been a very difficult decision, but I depart celebrating the increasing opportunities for talented women in sports media and commentary and similarly on the field with teams like the Matildas in football and the Australian women’s cricketers. As for the Olympics and Paralympics I will always be following! It has been a privilege to be part of the ABC Grandstand family.”

A trailblazer for female sports broadcasters, Tighe is the first person to win a Sport Australia Media Award twice, first in 2000 and again in 2001. In February 2020, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Sports Australia Media Awards in Sydney.

In 2020 Tighe was hospitalised with Herpes Simplex (HSV-1) Encephalitis. During her recovery, she became an advocate for encephalitis awareness in Australia by publicly sharing her experiences for World Encephalitis Day which is tomorrow, February 22. This will remain a passion for her.

Fellow ABC Sport Broadcaster Quentin Hull said, “Karen Tighe is the undisputed Queen of Australian sports radio.

“From her early days as a television anchor, right through to her final summer as host of Grandstand, Karen has been the ultimate professional and a pioneer for women in the Australian sports media.

“Karen’s unabashed love for sport and its people has been evident in every broadcast she made. She is as authentic as she is thorough, and her name will rightfully sit alongside the likes of Alan McGilvray, Norman May and Jim Maxwell, as sports broadcasting icons for the ABC.

“In recent years, Karen’s return to the airwaves after illness has not only been an inspiration, but the ultimate reflection of her work ethic and passion.

“Away from the microphone, Kaz is the most wonderful colleague you could hope for. All of us at ABC Sport have been blessed to work with her and we wish her all the best.”

She will farewell listeners on ABC Radio’s Summer Grandstand this weekend.

3 Responses

  1. Will miss her calm soothing friendly voice on grandstand.

    Sad she’s leaving but understand her health comes first.

    An outstanding tv broadcaster and radio presenter.

    I doubt you’ll hear someone say a bad word about her.

    All the best Karen

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