Today FM facing axe as MediaWorks board proposes shutting down station

Talkback station Today FM has been taken off air just a week after it celebrated one year since its launch in March 2022.

On Thursday morning at around 9.30am, the MediaWorks station reverted to playing music rather than its usual talk show format with host Duncan Garner.

That followed Garner and early host Tova O'Brien telling listeners they were losing their jobs and the station was being axed.

"I don't know how much longer we're going to be on air," O'Brien said.

"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."

"This is betrayal," Garner said.

Tom Day, the producer of O'Brien's morning show tweeted: "The Mediaworks board have made a proposal to shut down Today FM. They have given us only until the end of this afternoon to make submissions. I have no words."

In audio from the meeting received by Newshub, staff were told in the station-wide meeting by interim CEO Wendy Palmer that the "board were clear we needed to find significant savings." It also reported O'Brien had asked whether the station was to be sold off.

Today FM's newsreader Brin Rudkin tweeted at 1030am the station would remain off air on Thursday.

A story on the Today FM website at 9.27am on Thursday morning confirmed the station was facing problems.

"The future of Today FM is facing some serious uncertainty this morning," it said.

"Uncertainty looms over the future of Today FM, as the resignation of Dallas Gurney, the Head of News and the architect of Today FM, has left the team feeling exposed. 

"Recently, the CEO of MediaWorks, Cam Wallace, also resigned, and since then, the team has not been able to receive the same level of assurance from the board or acting CEO Wendy Palmer about the future of the radio station. Today FM was promised a long-term strategy, but the current situation has left the team unsure of what the future holds."

The story also revealed hosts Garner, O'Brien and Carly Flynn had deviated away from the show's planned segment to claim the "company is bleeding cash".

It also said a station-wide meeting has been called with CEO Wendy Palmer, but didn't reveal when this would happen, only promising listeners would be kept updated.

It's believed the meeting is happening currently.

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has said he was aware of the situation.

"I've only seen a few headlines around that, what I do want to acknowledge is the uncertainty and the difficulty that creates for the staff and all those that are affected by those sorts of decisions. We live in a very dynamic media landscape at the moment where there is a lot of change," he said.

"I don't want to comment on a specific business decision, particularly without knowing what they are or the details behind but I do want to acknowledge the impact that it would of had on the staff."

Newshub has reached out to MediaWorks, the station's owner for comment.