Linda Clark leaving Nine to Noon

By Claire Trevett

Linda Clark is to leave her job as presenter of National Radio's morning programme Nine to Noon after nearly four years.

Clark has presented the Radio New Zealand show since she replaced Kim Hill in July 2002 and is heading for pastures unknown.

In a joint statement with Radio NZ, the presenter said she had valued her time on the programme, but "it's time to do something else with my life".

Radio NZ acting chief executive Ken Law praised the energy and time Clark had put into the programme.

The state-owned network has not released the audience figures for its individual shows for the past year, but Mr Law said Nine to Noon had grown in "content and impact over the past four years and continues to be one of the most listened-to radio programmes in the country".

Clark will return on January 30 and her last day on air will be March 3.

Clark did not return the Herald's phone calls last night.

But the Herald understands she has been disgruntled at Radio NZ over the past six months and had indicated an interest in jobs at other media outlets, including Radio Live and Newstalk ZB, where she had a radio spot on Paul Holmes' breakfast show before going to National Radio.

Sources said she had wanted more say over both the content of her show and decisions made about it, including staffing.

She was also upset that decisions about the show were made without consulting her.

Sources said Clark and fellow presenter Sean Plunket had tried to persuade Radio NZ to allow them to produce their shows independently with funding from Radio NZ rather than work as employees, but the network's chiefs rejected the idea.

Former TVNZ and BBC presenter Anita McNaught will be guest presenter of Nine to Noon for a week when it returns on January 23 - an appearance organised before Clark announced her departure.

Radio NZ communications manager John Barr said the process to find a "high-profile, high-quality" replacement presenter would start soon.

It is understood Clark had also expressed a wish to return to university, perhaps to study law.

Clark's journalism career has spanned radio, television and print branches of the media. She went to Radio NZ from presenting Late Edition news and a weekly interview show, Face the Nation, on TV One.

Before that she was the editor of a shortlived glossy magazine, Grace, which she went to in 2000 after leaving her job as TVNZ's political editor.

She gave birth to twins Arlo and Harper in January 2002.

When Clark was appointed to Nine to Noon, Plunket filed an action against Radio NZ with the Employment Relations Tribunal because he believed the job had been promised to him. The parties settled out of court.

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