Why David Koch was almost fired from Sunrise when he first started.

Fifteen years ago, breakfast television show Sunrise looked nothing like it does today. Not only was it without our favourite faces that we’ve befriended over the years, like Samantha Armytage or Melissa Doyle, but any trace of overt opinion uttered on air was struck down by the overarching television executives. It was for this very reason 15 years ago, that “Kochie” was almost fired from Sunrise.

In a recent interview with New Idea, Kochie opened up about nearly losing the job he’s now held for more than a decade. He was called “too opinionated” for the then-struggling breakfast show, because God forbid anyone on live television express an opinion that might be relatable and/or spark a conversation. After all, what is breakfast television without opinion?

“At breakfast, you can’t be beige — you’ve got to make people think and laugh,” Koch remarked.


Listen: How a woman got sacked for sharing her views on same-sex marriage. (Post continues after audio.)

Sure, people flick to breakfast television in the morning to be fed easy, reliable news. But as well as a consistent source of information, Australians want to be woken up by a friendly, excited face, that isn’t afraid to share their thoughts on the news they’re delivering.

Instead of a stream of direct current affairs, breakfast television has become an engaging form of dialogue that people have eagerly incorporated into their mornings.

Thankfully, Kochie’s dismissal was reassessed by the board of Channel 7, and shortly after, Sunrise became the Today Show‘s main competitor. Kochie’s natural television presence and bright personality moulded Sunrise into one of the pillars of Australian breakfast television, giving Sunrise the boost it desperately needed to be a front running rival to Channel 9’s popular show.

“Fifteen years ago when we started, we were 10 per cent of the Today Show’s audience, and we reeled them in 18 months,” he said.

Starting his career as an accountant, Kochie moved his way into print journalism, focusing specifically on financial writing and commentary. He then made the transition into television, hosting a small business program called Business Builders on a weekly basis. It wasn’t long before Kochie eventually worked his way onto the screens of Australian early risers, charming us all with his “opinionated” yet warmly welcoming persona.

It’s safe to say that after 15 years alongside Sunrise, David Koch remains one of the few Australian personalities we’re reminded of when we think breakfast television – and he has his opinions to thank for that.

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