'Gutted' Today FM producer Tom Day says proposal to axe station 'wasn't a surprise'

A Today FM employee says the proposal to axe the talkback station is a "big shock but it wasn't a surprise".

On Thursday, the station was taken off air just after 9.30am as a meeting was called with presenters and newsroom staff by MediaWorks Interim CEO Wendy Palmer.

In an audio recording of the meeting obtained by Newshub, Palmer is asked if the board intends to sell MediaWorks, to which she replies: "I guess that'll be the plan."

The meeting followed host Tova O'Brien emotionally telling listeners on air "they have f**ked us and we're all gonna lose our jobs" with fellow host Duncan Garner adding: "This is betrayal."

The meeting had been planned for 12.15pm, but was brought forward to 9.30am at which point Today FM was playing music instead of its regular talk programming. In the meeting, Palmer confirmed there was a proposal to shut down Today FM.

In audio of the meeting Palmer is heard saying the MediaWorks "board were clear we needed to find significant savings".

Staff were given until the end of Thursday afternoon to provide submissions for the proposal.

Tom Day, producer for O'Brien's show on Today FM, said staff was devastated by the news.

"With very little time, very little notice. Frankly, we're gutted, we're disappointed. So many people do such great work at Today FM. If you lose a news outlet, that's one less piece of information for people," he said.

Day said after the recent resignations of CEO Cam Wallace - who came up with the idea of Today FM - along with the station's head of talk Dallas Gurney within weeks: "The writing was kind of becoming on that wall."

Gurney announced he was leaving the station just days before it marked one year on air on March 21. He is expected to depart the company in May.

Reiterating comments O'Brien made on air on Thursday, Day said the company had always pledged Today FM would be part of a five year strategy and he was devastated it instead only lasted one year.

"We passionately believe we have done incredible work, we're just frustrated the board doesn't believe that and I think they've got it blatantly wrong," he said.

In a statement provided to Newshub, MediaWorks Interim CEO Wendy Palmer said it was "a difficult time".

"This morning at the MediaWorks Board's request, we have taken Today FM off air while we consult with the team about the future of the station. This is a difficult time for the team and our priority is supporting them as we work through this process," the statement said.

In the audio obtained by Newshub of the meeting, Palmer gives assurances that she had tried to save the station, and discussions were held recently about delaying any decision.

"I give you my absolute assurance that I sat through meetings with the board last Wednesday, Wednesday before and absolutely, particularly last Wednesday, spoke extremely strongly against this and asked for more time."

Palmer was asked if the plan by the board was to sell MediaWorks and replied: "I guess that'll be the plan... I mean, if they're not here forever, right, I mean, they've come in to buy an asset and then sell it."

Today FM remained off air on Thursday. On its website a post reads: "A full update on Today FM will be announced at 5pm."