RadioLive host in bitter rant at ZB veteran

Duncan Garner. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Duncan Garner. Photo / Mark Mitchell

RadioLive host Duncan Garner has launched into an expletive-laden public rant against rival Newstalk ZB presenter Leighton Smith.

The former TV3 political editor made his comments in the January edition of Metro magazine in an article titled "Getting drunk with Duncan Garner".

After a dinner that included five bottles of red wine, Garner said to Metro journalist Steve Braunias: "I'll tell you a story."

He then revealed details of a conversation he had with Smith shortly after it was revealed Garner would take up the hosting chair for RadioLive's 3-6pm show.

Garner was on his way to get sushi with 3rd Degree host and close mate Guyon Espiner.

"It was about two or three weeks before my show was due to start ... We ran into Leighton Smith and he says, 'Garner, what have you done?"' he recalled.

"He said, 'You've gone to some backwater radio station and you'll never be heard of again.' There are some moments in life that remain with you. I've been waiting to tell someone this.

"I thought, 'What an arrogant prick, saying that to me.' This institutionalised guy telling me I would never be heard of again. Every day I get up in the morning now I think of Leighton. And I work harder because of it, if that's possible. I think, 'F*** you. F*** you, you old prick'."

Using even stronger language, Garner said Smith had had a great career and was very successful, so he didn't need to treat him so arrogantly.

"I was never brought up to be a prick like that for no reason ... I'll never forget it. He just treated me like this piece of dirt, that RadioLive was nothing. That's really affected me."

Neither Garner - described by Metro as being "incandescent with rage" at the time of the interview - or Smith responded to requests for comment.

A spokesman for Newstalk ZB confirmed that Smith had received the Herald message - and was considering a response - but he did not want to make any comment on the talkback host's behalf.

"Probably turf wars are best left," the spokesman said.

Garner told the magazine he was committed to making his afternoon show a success. "I want to have the most listened-to afternoon drive programme in New Zealand. It's miles away. I might not get there."

- NZ Herald

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