Today FM host Duncan Garner slams station's abrupt closure as 'brutal public execution'

Today FM host Duncan Garner has described the station's abrupt closure as a "brutal public execution".

Staff were given half a day to provide submissions on the talkback show's future before it was axed. And it could leave its owners exposed to legal action.

On Thursday talkback station Today FM was taken off air with Garner and early host Tova O'Brien telling listeners they were losing their jobs and the station was being axed.

"It sounds like it's over. So we haven't been given a chance. We've been on air for just a year.

"We were told that we had the support of everyone from the chief executive through to the board, through to the executive and they have f**ked us and we're all gonna lose our jobs and the station is coming off air and as of as of today," O'Brien said on air.

"This is betrayal," Garner said.

MediaWorks gave staff half a day to provide submissions on its future before announcing its closure.

On Friday Garner described it to Newshub as a "brutal public execution".

"I'm still wondering if that actually happened or if I'm stuck in some nightmare, but it appears from the media coverage to be true," he told Newshub.

"I'm extremely concerned for the health and well-being of my mates and colleagues. This has impacted us greatly and affected some people to the extent that it's life-changing."

And Garner warned it could lead to a legal battle.

"We are a small country and this is a tight, small industry where people and relations and relationships have crossover and there are only so many opportunities," he told Newshub.

"I'm sure no one wants to burn bridges with costly legal action where lawyers always win, and the others share the losing prize, to be honest.

"Legal action may be a factor for some depending, I suppose, on how MediaWorks treats people on the way out from here. It's likely some will have nothing to lose but fight legally."

Garner too, added he's "weighing up all options" as he comes to terms with what happened.

"I'll take plenty of advice obviously but you need to know I'm deeply troubled by how it played out yesterday," he told Newshub.

"There is always a better way to do things so I'm taking some advice before pressing go with my next move.

"But I have received the most humbling amazing support from friends and colleagues and people I don't know but who listen. I'm so thankful for their support. It means everything to me."

AUT media lecturer Matt Mollgaard said he's never seen anything like it.

"When people end up on air venting, because they've just found out they're about to be fired, you've done something wrong," he said.

Fellow radio host Rachel Smalley took aim at MediaWorks' Australian part-owners, Quadrant Private Equity.

In an opinion piece for the National Business Review, she described executives who recently paid a visit to the station as "hitmen" who "looked at the numbers, and left with a directive to shut down the station".

She also questioned the "suddenness of the closure and the lack of employment process".

A process employment lawyer Catherine Stewart said could expose MediaWorks to legal action.

"It looks as if this was even possibly pre-determined, because of the length of time, and less than a day for consultation is almost unheard of," she said.

MediaWorks said this is an ongoing employment matter and they're working through the process. A spokesperson said they're in talks with some staff about keeping them on, but they don't have a full picture yet.

However, one staff member has told us legal action is on everyone's radar. So while staff have left the building, it might not be the last MediaWorks sees of them.