When his move to the 3pm to 6pm slot was announced in December 2017, station general manager Cathy Thomas said Bartlett was “surprised to have been offered the role but embraced the challenge”.
“Kevin is the heartbeat of our station, a football and industry icon, and has been front and centre of our growth for over a decade,” Ms Thomas said at the time.
Carlton AFLW coach Daniel Harford, who worked with Bartlett on SEN, said on Monday that the former Richmond great was without a doubt “the greatest entertainer on radio”.
“Comedic timing and sporting cache like no other. He ‘gets it’. He is also the most generous on air partner any presenter could wish for. He wants YOU to be the star. I am forever indebted to him,” Harford wrote on Twitter.
Former SEN host Francis Leach also lamented the loss of Bartlett.
“KB understands his audience and more importantly – he makes having fun his #1 priority. Not a lot of that on air these days,” Leach wrote on Twitter.
“He’ll be back – He’s not done yet!
“And whilst we’re on the topic – @Crocmedia takeover of @1116sen was supposed to turn the station into a ratings juggernaut.
“They haven’t moved the needle on that one bit in three years.”
The latest ratings survey from market researchers GfK found SEN held onto 3.3 per cent of Melbourne listeners for part of March, April and May, up from just 2.9 per cent.
Bartlett played at Richmond between 1965 and 1983, winning five premierships and the club’s best and fairest five times.
He was appointed Richmond coach in 1987 but was sacked after four seasons and he did not return to the club for the next 16 years.
Rachel is a breaking news reporter for The Age.