STATION manager Shane Healy must be girding his loins for a battle royal ahead of confirmation that Steve Vizard is to join 3AW, on what is believed to be a permanent part-time basis, from December.
Derryn Hinch tweeted late on Wednesday that Vizard was in the 3AW offices, for reasons unknown. ''The plot thickens. Steve Vizard in building today having publicity shots taken for 3AW celebrity wall. Replacing whom?''
Well, not Hinch, though the prospect of the man who once parodied him on Full Frontal as ''Hunch'' finally fulfilling his comedic destiny was delicious. Tom Elliott has already been announced as the man who will take over from Hinch after the self-styled human headline departs for a new role at Channel Seven on November 30.
Though station management has made no official statement, sources have confirmed that Vizard is set to join 3AW as a regular fill-in host, working about 16 weeks a year across the schedule as regular hosts take leave.
That arrangement is likely to suit Vizard, who recently sold his St Kilda mansion for more than $7 million - at least $3 million more than he paid for it in 2004 - and whose last regular media role was in the pre-lunch shift on failed station MTR.
But it is likely to cause ructions among some of the station's most high-profile talent.
In August, top-rating morning presenter Neil Mitchell joined Hinch in denouncing Vizard's brief stint as a fill-in for Dennis Walter as a ''disgrace''.
They claimed his tarnished reputation - in 2005 Vizard was found guilty of having abused his position as a Telstra director for personal gain, and was fined $390,000 and banned from being a company director for 10 years - reflected poorly on the station, which is owned by Fairfax Media.
''I think that access to a microphone is a great privilege,'' Mitchell said. ''In many ways … it is more important than being a director. And if he's not a fit and proper person under the law to be a director, he's not a fit and proper person to have the privilege of using a 3AW microphone or the airwaves.''
Hinch branded the decision to appoint Vizard ''an insult to our listeners''.
Station management did not respond to a request for comment.