Maggie's last day at Radio Live

SARAH HARVEY
Last updated 05:00 23/12/2010
Maggie Barry
PHIL DOYLE/Fairfax
SIGNING OFF: Maggie Barry presenting her last show on Radio Live.

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Broadcasting has not seen the last of Maggie Barry, the veteran broadcaster said on her last day as host of the Radio Live drive time slot today.

Barry, who has hosted the show for almost two years and announced her departure earlier this month, said she would not rule out making a return to radio in a  couple of years once she has had some time out.

''I love radio. I would always go back into a good radio job,'' she told Stuff before her last show went to air.

Barry started her radio career with Radio New Zealand's Morning Report before moving into a successful television career which saw her become a household name in gardening.  

She said she had had a difficult last month in the role as she dealt with losing a cousin in the Pike River mining disaster and seeing  media from ''the other side''.

But during her time as the host of the drive time slot she said she had learned to voice her opinions - particularly on politics. She also enjoyed being involved in the ''news bubble'', particularly during events such as the David Bain retrial.

During the ''time out'' she will have next year she plans to travel, spend more time with her 12-year-old son Joe and partner Grant Kerr, return to her garden, and keep her hand in journalism by writing features and a monthly gardening column for the Listener.

''My son is 13 next year and there has been a lot of things that he has wanted me to do that I haven't be able to do while working five days a week- now I will.''

On her list of travel destinations are Italy, where she hopes to look at rain gardens, and Spain, where she hopes her son Joe will be able to practice the Spanish he is set to learn at school next year. She also hopes to complete the Central Otago Rail Trail and go skiing.

She is also being taught to play chess by her partner, but seeing as he is a former chess champion there is no likelihood of her winning anytime soon, she said.

The final show was running smoothly despite a bumpy start because of a long lunch and a slow news day, producer Mark Wilson said.

Barry had brought Christmas mince pies, cherries for the ''tight-knit'' newsroom and flower rings for the female reporters in a long-standing joke over the rings she wears.

She received a text from long-time friend ''bug man'' Ruud Kleinpaste just before she went to air, wishing her well for the show. There was also chatter about her departure on the internet.

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Radio Live staff were told today that Brent Impey, the former chief executive of MediaWorks- the company which owns Radio Live, will host Barry's show from mid January through to March.

- Sunday Star Times

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