Host a Laws unto himself

By Kathryn Powley

Michael Laws. Photo / Wanganui Chronicle
Michael Laws. Photo / Wanganui Chronicle

Michael Laws is back, and he says he has a gun.

The shock jock who suggested journalists should be taken out with a shotgun has celebrated his return to the airwaves - by announcing that he got a shotgun for Christmas.

Laws has been off air since November 21 after suggesting to his talkback radio listeners that Herald on Sunday journalists should be shot. He was unhappy that the paper had obtained the recording of an over-the-teacups conversation between Prime Minister John Key and Act candidate John Banks.

He didn't know why somebody hadn't taken a shotgun into the newspaper and "cleaned out the entire newsroom", he said. Laws later said it was a joke but, amid fury from journalists who worked for his company, MediaWorks took him off air. MediaWorks journalists at TV3 also obtained a copy of the recording but, like the Herald on Sunday, did not publish the contents.

On December 22, he posted on Twitter: "LAWS RETURNS TO RADIO LIVE IN JANUARY 2012 - my Xmas present to journalists everywhere :)"

The following day he added: "Christmas shopping complete ... and I've got the shotgun of my dreams as an early gift."

The Herald on Sunday sought an interview with the former Wanganui mayor, offering him a chance to explain whether he was joking.

He responded with another tweet: "Good luck to the 'Herald on Sunday' getting that 'profile' interview ... lol ... I guess they work on same theory as the guy at the bar."

RadioLive boss Jana Rangooni did not return calls either. Instead the company emailed another copy of its December 22 statement, saying: "The matters have now been resolved and Michael will return to his 9am-12pm show after the holidays on Monday January 9th 2012. Neither party will be making any further comment on the matter, except to say we are both pleased the matter has been resolved."

That did not stop Laws from continuing to comment on Twitter.

December 28: "Back on Monday 9 January ... is any journo safe, I ask myself. Memo: HoS. I-r-o-n-y."

December 29: "Great to see [Attorney General] pursuing that twit Ambrose over legal costs: he initiated the court action & lost. He wasted taxpayers money. Sic'im."

Then yesterday: "Happy New Year to fellow Twitterers ... may 2012 bring you exactly what you want. My shotgun is locked and loaded already."

Veteran broadcaster Paul Holmes, who works for opposition company NewstalkZB, said Laws showed "conviction" in his strong on-air opinions and created controversy in his broadcasts.

"If you don't cause a reaction, you won't get a phone call, that's how talkback works.

"You've got to send out a ripple for the ripple to come back."

Holmes stopped short of saying he was pleased Laws would be back.

"I've known Michael for a very long time. I've seen him really develop as a broadcaster. He really is a most curious interesting broadcaster. He's a funny old bugger."

- NZ Herald

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