Brought up in Christchurch’s New Brighton, James began his broadcasting career in his early twenties at community station Radio Caroline in Timaru. He quickly progressed to become the breakfast host at the pop station juggernaut 1323ZM. He left radio in the late 90s, going to university full-time and gaining a Bachelor of Commerce before returning to radio in an on-air and management role as foundation Content Director of NZME’s FLAVA radio brand in Auckland. James served as Christchurch City councillor representing the Coastal ward from 2019-2021, leaving to join Simon Barnett to co-host Newstalk ZB afternoons.
James has three children, and two of his daughters, Stacey Morrison and Tasha Guttenbeil, followed him into broadcasting.