Former Today FM hosts have opened up about their emotional devastation over the sudden closing of the talkback station on Thursday.
Many of them have taken to social media to candidly express how they feel about the abrupt axing of their station and the loss of their jobs.
Leah Panapa, who hosted the midday show with Mark Richardson, said she was grateful to all who listened.
“Thank you to all that listened to me and Mark and Marc. You may know now our station has been shut down. I want to thank you all who listened and shared your stories. I LOVED being part of your lives. I hope we talk again,” she wrote on Twitter.
Wilhemina Shrimpton, who co-hosted the Drive show with Lloyd Burr, spoke of her heartbreak and how she had “shone brighter than ever before” in an emotional Instagram post.
“The past year has been amazing – and that’s because of the incredible people in this picture. The past year built me up, gave me back my confidence, and made me feel like myself for the first time in a long time,” said Shrimpton.
“I was given opportunity, support and most importantly I was allowed to be myself and because of that I flourished and grew. The broken down person I arrived as was slowly pieced back together and shone brighter than ever before. From hosting shows to our epic documentaries, we were only just getting started, and I’m so proud of it all.
“Devastated is an understatement, heartbroken doesn’t even describe it, and unexpected only begins to scratch the surface.”
Entertainment correspondent Carol Ramos commented on Shrimpton’s post saying “how sad” it was.
“Did my last entertainment report with Tova about an hour before the plug was pulled. How sad. Grateful I had the opportunity to work with amazing professionals. Take care,” she said.
Sunday Cafe host Mel Homer shared on Instagram that she was working on other ways to host a version of the show after the shutdown.
“Gutted I no longer get to do the radio show that I adore. Devastated for all of my incredible Today FM work whanau. The most hardworking, loyal, talented bunch you’ll ever meet,” she wrote in an Instagram Story post.
Breakfast host Tova O’Brien, who told show colleague Duncan Garner live on aid on Thursday the company “have f**ked us”, posted a brief and succinct message to Twitter which said: “Devastated. Love our strong Today FM whanau.”
Sports presenter Marc Peard revealed on Facebook that he felt as though he’d let his family down.
“As the news was delivered to the team I watched people I care about deeply burst into tears. People not knowing how they will make their next rent payments and how they will feed their kids,” Peard said.
“Radio is such an intimate job. You pour your soul out to people in an honest effort to connect. When I get told I’m no longer wanted, I feel embarrassed I was open and vulnerable. I feel embarrassed I cared so much. I feel bad as I’ve let my family down.
“Two times in three years for my family following me into the trenches is a lot to ask of them. As a dad and as a husband I’m not sure where I turn to for strength.”
A post deleted from the official Today FM Facebook page but since re-shared on Twitter by its former Head of Digital Oscar Jackson claimed listeners had been “robbed” by the MediaWorks board’s decision to close the station down.
“What a ride. We want to thank every single one of you for being with us this past year,” Jackson said.
“As I type this, David, Duncan Garner’s producer is crying in my arms as the harsh reality of cold corporate decisions set in.
“Like David, many of our team feel like they have failed you. But, I can confidently say that they have done something like no one else has in the media space.
“We were robbed. You were robbed.
“I wanted to let you all know that every single person here, whose eyes are red and sore, only wanted to do the best they could. Love us or hate us, we fought for you and your stories.
“Thank you all for your kind comments and shared grief in what we believe has been a significant short sighted decision by MediaWorks.”
Garner does not appear to use public social media accounts, but on-air described the station’s action as “betrayal”.
Today FM’s demise was officially announced on Thursday evening.
“At the request of the MediaWorks Board we have undertaken a review of the entire business to identify further areas of potential cost saving and to reshape the business for the market conditions,” MediaWorks interim CEO Wendy Palmer said in a statement.
“This has led the Board to take the difficult decision to take Today FM off air and to explore options for a digital content offering.”
A new station will take its place in April – no further details have yet been revealed.