Lone voice challenging gov’t narrative taken off air – PR expert heads news at MediaWorks

Report and opinion: In a sea of mainstream media harmony supporting all the Labour government and its experts have to say about covid-19 and the trial Pfizer jab was the refreshing voice of Magic Talk radio host Peter Williams.

Most weekday mornings the highly respected former TV1 news reader questioned the covid narrative, challenged the government, and gave air time to callers wanting to share their stories of living in managed isolation, adverse reactions to the jab, and of the covid virus itself.

Williams allowed callers to discuss medications such as ivermectin, claimed by many to be a cure for covid-19 but banned by the government, and brought a breath of fresh air to the non-stop narrative of fear-mongering covid ‘cases’.

“The more you test, the more you find,” he said during a broadcast last week.

He also called out the government’s questionable Three Waters campaign during last Friday’s (3 September) broadcast – perhaps that was the final straw for those calling the shots at MediaWorks (owner of Magic Talk) which received more than $3 million in taxpayer handouts between July 2020 and March 2021.

With Williams gone it could be that anyone in MSM who does question the government and its $Millions in business support payments and pro-vax advertising will also find themselves retiring without any announcement or forewarning.

It’s worth mentioning here that AM show host Duncan Garner left our breakfast TV screens in August after telling covid response minister Chris Hipkins he didn’t believe what he was saying – twice. Coincidence?

Back to Magic Talk…If we are to believe what we hear this morning (6 Sept) on Magic Talk, Williams decided after his show last Friday (3 Sept) to retire and a replacement was found over the weekend.

All we know is that Williams was here one day and gone the next, his retirement being a surprise to listeners on Monday morning.

The host sitting in Williams’ chair on Monday morning – the safe Leah Panapa – says all she knows is that Williams has retired. Some listeners detected a slight shake in her voice during one exchange with a caller.

Following a few angry callers to Panapa about Williams not being on air the station’s phone switchboard developed a fault and no calls could go to air for a while. The Buzz team reckons the ‘dump’ button was pushed a few times during the Panapa’s broadcast, thereby preventing something objectionable being broadcast.

All we can do now is download Peter Williams’ shows and share where we can. Except we can’t, they have been removed from the Magic Talk website as Williams is airbrushed out of broadcasting history (now that’s magic!). Perhaps he will launch a podcast, but then at age 67 and a lifetime in broadcasting, perhaps he’ll rest up and enjoy his retirement.

The official announcement by MediaWorks on Williams is posted below and available here as a PDF.

Interestingly, the press release covers off Williams’ ‘retirement’ in just two lines at the every end of the release – a lifetime in broadcasting summed up in less than 40 words and tacked on to the end, an afterthought.

However, the key point of the press release is that public relations and crisis management expert– Dallas Gurney – is now director of news at MediaWorks. The Buzz predicts Magic Talk will soon become the ‘good news’ station…

Side note: Magic Talk used to be known as Radio Live and was merged with Magic, a music station in 2019. Peter Williams was the first presenter named to have joined Magic Talk.

MediaWorks press release:

MediaWorks has today announced the appointment of Dallas Gurney as its Director of News and Talk.Dallas is a former editor-in-chief and general manager of Newstalk ZB and Radio Sport and was a key member of NZME’s Radio executive team.

Most recently Dallas was the managing director of communications agencies DRUM and ROCKET and crisis communications consultancy Serious. He has won many industry awards, including 12 New Zealand Radio Awards.

MediaWorks CEO Cam Wallace says it’s an exciting time for MediaWorks to appoint Dallas to the role of Director of News and Talk as it looks to strengthen its news and talk offering.

“Dallas has extensive experience in developing content strategy and a deep understanding of audiences, as well as a fantastic track record of leading teams and broadcasters to deliver best in market on-air and digital content. We look forward to having Dallas join the team as we work to bolster news and talk at MediaWorks.”

Dallas Gurney says, “Radio has always been a huge passion and part of my life. There’s now a whole new generation looking for great original and local audio content, so I feel very excited and privileged to be joining the MediaWorks team when so much opportunity lies ahead.”

MediaWorks is looking forward to welcoming Dallas Gurney to the team on 20 September.

MediaWorks would also like to congratulate Magic Talk’s Ryan Bridge who has been announced as the new host of The AM Show and welcome Lloyd Burr to MediaWorks as its new drive show host.

Lloyd has recently returned to New Zealand following an almost three and a half year stint in London as Newshub’s Europe Correspondent. Prior to that he was a Newshub political reporter in Wellington, and a political reporter for Radio Live before that.

Lloyd Burr says, “I’m so stoked to be back on home soil with a new challenge. Radio has always been my first love, and I’m chomping at the bit to get back into it.

“Being abroad for the last three and a half years has reminded me that New Zealand is the best country in the world, with the best people too. I can’t wait to hear their stories, and share mine. It’s going to be magic.”
Lloyd Burr will join Magic Talk at the end of September.

Meanwhile, Magic Talk Mornings host Peter Williams has decided to retire. At the age of 67, and after nearly half a century in the media industry, he wants to enjoy a life with fewer commitments.

Cam Wallace says, “Peter has signalled for some time that he’s wanted to finish up and thinks now is the right time. I’d like to acknowledge his significant contribution to Magic Mornings over the past three years – there have been plenty of engaging and lively discussions. MediaWorks wishes Peter all the best.”

Leah Panapa will move into hosting 9am-midday on Magic Talk and Danny Watson will continue hosting afternoons on Magic Talk. These changes take immediate effect.