After an extraordinary 27 years, Newstalk ZB's award-winning Drive host, Larry Williams, is stepping down.

Having tried to hand in his resignation two years ago, Head of Talk Jason Winstanley says he's reluctantly agreed to finally let Williams enjoy his long-planned retirement.

Winstanley says, "I've refused to accept it for years, but Larry is determined to hit the golf course full time. And he's earned it; he has been a phenomenal force in our industry for decades. We know his audience will miss him dearly."

However, Winstanley says it won't be the last we hear from Williams. "Larry is going overseas with his wife for the next six months to play the great golf courses of the world, but he will take on some fill-in work with Newstalk ZB when he returns."


Larry Williams says "It's been a great ride, but all good things come to an end. It's been a privilege to have worked with such a great team and great broadcasters for so many years. I feel especially lucky to have had such a loyal audience. Thank you."

The last day of Larry Williams Drive will be Thursday 18 April.

NZME chief executive Michael Boggs said Williams has been a fabulous ambassador for Newstalk ZB and New Zealand.

"Having been interviewed by Larry on a number of occasions, I've been on the receiving end of some of his robust questioning and have seen the huge effort he puts into his content and the show. As a regular listener to Larry, I know he will be missed."

Barry Soper, who has done a daily political segment with Williams since the Drive show started, said he's a top broadcaster who will be sorely missed.

"Larry is very matter of fact," Soper said. "There's no mincing words. You always know exactly what he thinks, and in many ways that's been one of his strengths, that he's never left anyone in any doubt.

"The funny thing is, a number of people have always said to me, 'do you actually get on with Larry', because we often argue on air. In fact we are very good mates. But when we are on air it's strictly business and Larry, on a number of occasions, has different views to me, and we both beg to differ on a number of issues.

"He's always willing to have a good argument."

Newstalk ZB will announce its new drive host in the coming weeks.