PHOTO: Duncan Garner. SUPPLIED
According to STUFF it’s an inauspicious introduction to the high profile broadcaster and while he isn’t exactly thrilled about it, he agrees it’s too good to pass up.
And it might have been worse. Other intros could have had Garner’s running away while dressed as Elton John; his mum locking him out of the house; his self-described public execution.
But nah, this one’s perfect and he knows it, even if the idea has him put his head in his hands: “I’m a 49-year-old man who lives with his mum. Don’t look at me like that.”
The 49-year-old man who lives with his mum spends much of this interview with his head in his hands while talking just like he does on the radio. He gives long answers and laughs. He says he’s had a tough six months.
The pitch for this story came through MediaWorks, which is both the company Garner publicly slammed a month ago and the one he says executed him in public.
On Friday, it announced he has a new podcast bearing his name. Today, he says he’s excited. Five weeks ago he said “this is betrayal.”
Back then Garner was live on Today FM as it became apparent the radio station was being axed after only a year of operating.
What followed is broadcasting history. “They’ve f…… us”, says fellow presenter Tova O’Brien; shocked crew chime in from the background; Garner says, “betrayal”, then, within a few minutes, they’re gone.
Now Garner’s back, though he wants to be clear he never actually left; he wasn’t made redundant.
And, while it’s been reported a group of sacked employees are planning legal action against MediaWorks, he says a bunch of Today FM staff are still there with him: “A whole bunch of people are not, I get that too.”
So what was he saying about betrayal? What do those former colleagues think of his new role?
“No-one has said anything to me…right from the start when some of the emails were going around different groups of people, they were saying, ‘there’s no judgement here if people stay or go these are just some of the options we’re all looking at’. But everyone’s an individual at the end of the day.”
“That’s true,” I say, “but what does Tova think?”
“Of you staying on.”
“She hasn’t said anything, you’d have to talk to her.”
Then Garner says he actually has had some contact with O’Brien who has been nothing but supportive, going on to add that years ago he picked her as someone who could and should do more which is why he brought her to the Press Gallery.
“So I’m her friend from way back and will always support her immensely. She certainly hasn’t said anything like, ‘you’re a scab’, nothing of the sort.”
We both agree that would have made a particularly good intro. Later, O’Brien politely declined a request for comment.
Anyway, Garner now has a podcast. The idea was mostly his, pitched in a hurry as he walked out the door those four weeks ago, and he’s determined to make it work.
Yes, he has some reservations about sticking with the company though finds it hard to be forever upset. Because of that he’s just had to get over it, doesn’t even know the people who shut it all down: “They’re faceless to me.”
So it’s onwards and upwards as Garner gives a rundown of his new venture:
“It’ll be a daily podcast, a sort of mini or compact version of what I did on the show at Today FM, so it holds lots of the same principles and values. It’ll be real people and newsmakers; I’m asking New Zealanders who used to call me on the show all the time to keep in touch with me; get them on; it’s called Duncan Garner, Editor In Chief.”
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