The Hits (New Zealand)

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This article is about the New Zealand radio station. For the European radio station, see The Hits Radio.
The Hits
The Hits Logo.jpg
Broadcast area 25 markets in New Zealand
Owner NZME

The Hits (formerly known as Classic Hits) is an adult contemporary music radio network broadcasting in 25 markets throughout New Zealand, targeting 25–55 year olds. It is a family-focused radio network with some of New Zealand's most experienced broadcasters on air and behind the scenes. It currently has around 281,000 listeners nationwide.[1]

The Hits is an AC radio station. The station lineup changed as of 28 April 2014 coinciding with the rebranding of the station to The Hits the change saw additional timeslots added in. All programming is networked after 3 pm. Some regions continue to take a local breakfast show but network at all other times, and some regions run a 6-hour local show between 9 am and 3 pm or a 3-hour local show between 9 am and 12 pm. The head offices and main studios of The Hits are located on the corner of Cook and Nelson Streets in Auckland City, along with the other seven stations of NZME.


Early years[edit]

Each station in The Hits network has its own history, with almost every station starting out as a local heritage station run by the government owned Radio New Zealand commercial division. The individual stations came together after 1993 when various stations were rebranded as Classic Hits. Unofficially, Classic Hits started in Auckland in 1987 when 1ZM (also known as 1251ZM at the time) changed music format to play "classic hits" music and branding was changed to Classic Hits Twelve Fifty One. The ZM station that exists in Auckland today is a new station that was created in 1997, replacing Magic 91FM. In 1989 Auckland's Classic Hits moved to FM, becoming Classic Hits 97FM.

Most of the individual stations started out as a local AM radio station, and began broadcasting on both AM and FM from the 1980s or early 1990s. Some stations that broadcast on AM as well as FM utilized the AM frequency for specialist shows such as a local talkback show while playing music on the FM frequency. During the 1990s, Radio New Zealand split many of their traditional local stations which broadcast on AM and FM into two. The FM frequency was rebranded as Classic Hits FM, while the AM frequency become Newstalk ZB. This saw the Classic Hits FM brand rolled out across New Zealand, with all stations taking on the uniform logo of a green diamond until June 2011 with the station name printed on the diamond.

Classic Hits 97FM Auckland logo used in the 1990s. All regions adopted a local variation of this logo

Many of the local stations adapted their traditional heritage name into the Classic Hits name, such as Bay City Radio in Napier, which become Classic Hits Bay City Radio and 4ZA in Southland which became Classic Hits ZAFM. Some stations had previously incorporated the name Classic Hits into their branding prior to becoming part of the Classic Hits network. The branding was adjusted in 2001 so all stations included the full frequency in the branding for example Classic Hits 97FM in Auckland became Classic Hits 97.4 and Classic Hits ZHFM in Hamilton became Classic Hits 98.6 ZHFM. The heritage branding was dropped from most stations after 2008 such as Classic Hits 97.8 ZAFM in Manawatu became Classic Hits 97.8 and Classic Hits 89.5 Bay City Radio in Hawkes Bay became just Classic Hits 89.5. Branding was changed again in 2009 to remove the point from the frequency such as Classic Hits 97.4 in Auckland became known as Classic Hits 97-4.

Privatisation and reduction in local programming[edit]

Originally Classic Hits was live and local in every region throughout the day, but during the evenings, overnight and on Sundays, a network show from Auckland played instead. In July 1996 the New Zealand Government sold off the commercial arm of Radio New Zealand, which included among others, the Classic Hits brand. The new owner was The Radio Network a new company formed as a division of APN News & Media and Clear Channel Communications. As of 2014 The Radio Network (TRN) is now known as NZME. In 1998 Classic Hits was reduced to just 4 hours of local programming during the Breakfast show in all regions except Christchurch. Christchurch remained local, but as announcers left their shows were replaced with the network product. Today all of the stations play the same songs in the same sequence even when a local show is on the air.

Also in 1998 many of the local stations now owned by The Radio Network that hadn't been rebranded as Classic Hits were consolidated together to form the Community Radio Network. These were stations in heartland areas of New Zealand. Each station initially retained its identity and local breakfast but began a networked show from Lakeland FM studios in Taupo. In 2001 all of the Community Radio Network stations were rebranded as Classic Hits, this was done in an effort to streamline the company's brands from a programming perspective. Doing this gave Classic Hits more frequencies and in turn, more broadcast area than any other station in New Zealand. The Community Radio Network stations retained their local breakfast show but now took the same network programming as the rest off the Classic Hits network stations.

In 2009 a network breakfast show was introduced. While all regions still had their own local breakfast show, this show became available for regions when the local announcer was unable to present the show and no one local could fill in. King Country did take this show permanently for a year before the station was eventually closed down. In 2010 local breakfast shows at weekends were dropped in most markets and replaced with a networked show. Later that year this was replaced with a pre-recorded show from Christchurch on Saturdays and Wellington on Sundays; these shows were highlight shows from the local Christchurch and Wellington breakfast shows. At this point The Radio Network cut funding for local breakfast shows at weekends, however some markets such as Southland remained local as the announcer chose to present the show without pay or, in the case of Dunedin, the show was a highlights show of the local breakfast show.

Classic Hits logo used after 2011, regional branding used this logo with a local frequency

In 2012 all weekday local breakfast shows were cut by one hour, now from 6 am to 9 am rather than the previous 6 am to 10 am. Any local Saturday breakfast shows which were left (for example Manawatu, Southland) were also completely cut in 2012 and replaced with network product. In July 2012 Classic Hits changed their traditional line up of Breakfast, Daytime, Drive and Night show programming to include an additional show between 4 pm and 7 pm. The Daytime show (then presented by Murray Lindsay) now ended at midday instead of 2 pm. The then drive announcer J.T's was moved to a 12 pm and 4 pm timeslot. The additional show was presented by former Classic Hits 97.7 Christchurch presenters Jason Gunn and Dave Fitzgerald. Unlike the rest of the Classic Hits network programming, this show was broadcast from the Classic Hits Christchurch studios.

Transition to The Hits[edit]

In April 2014 the National Business Review reported that Classic Hits are to create a networked breakfast show presented by Pauline Gillespie and Grant Kareama who presented the nationwide breakfast show on ZM. The source advised that 20 breakfast announcers on Classic Hits will be out of a job.[2][3] An official announcement was made on 15 April 2014 by The Radio Network that Classic Hits is to be rebranded as The Hits as of 28 April 2014.[4] The announcement also confirmed Pauline Gillespie and Grant Kareama as the new nationwide breakfast host however not all markets would take this show, some markets have retained a local breakfast, most regions that lost their local breakfast show introduced local programming during the daytime between 9 am and 3 pm, with one of the breakfast announcers moving to this time slot. The changes varied between markets and in some cases where a region had two announcers on breakfast the change saw just one announcer move to the daytime slot with the other announcer out of a job or moved to another role within TRN. The alternative network breakfast show was also discontinued, instead when a local announcer is unavailable to present a show the network show will run in that market instead.

The final broadcast of Classic Hits ended just before midnight on 27 April and until 6 am the following morning the station was unbranded, playing only music and commercials. The following morning at 6 am The Hits launched. The first song played on The Hits was Best Day of My Life by American Authors which was a current hit song. The rebrand to The Hits also saw the introduction of the Newsfeed News service that had been used on ZM since the year 2000.


The Hits plays an adult contemporary mix of music, however in more recent years the station's playlist has tended to be aimed towards a younger audience. When Classic Hits was rolled out across New Zealand in 1993 and 1994, all stations were still local and created their own playlists. In Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch the Classic Hits stations usually played music from the 1960s and 1970s as an "oldies" format. The rest of New Zealand created their playlist using a mixture of music from the 1960s to current hits in the 1990s. For many stations, becoming part of the Classic Hits network saw a slight change in format with many older tracks being added into the station's playlists.

By 1996, music from the sixties had been dropped from the playlists of Classic Hits stations except in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. 1960s music was dropped from these regions much later. By 1998 all regions were playing the same music, although at this point Christchurch remained local and made up its own playlist. In 2005 music from the 1970s started dropping from the playlist and more tracks from the 2000s added in. By 2008 Classic Hits was typically playing one 1970s track per hour as a 'Back in the day Classic'. In 2009 music from the 1980s began being reduced as well and the slogan "80s, 90s, Now" was dropped however this was reinstated in 2011. With the rebrand to The Hits the station now play mostly music from the 2000s and 2010s, with occasional tracks from the 1980s and 1990s.


Station Lineup
Name Time slot Description
Network Breakfast Monday - Friday 5 am - 9 am The Polly and Grant Show, a live networked breakfast show presented by Pauline Gillespie and Grant Kareama, broadcast from Wellington. News, Sport and Weather with Reagan White every 30 minutes.

Some markets will opt out and air their local breakfast show. The show between 5 am and 6 am is a highlights show from the previous show, this first hour is also heard in markets with a local breakfast show.

Local Breakfast Monday - Friday 6 am - 9 am Local Breakfast Show aired in some markets with nationwide news every 30 minutes with Reagan White followed by sport and weather. Weather is read out locally in all regions.
Local Daytime Monday - Friday 9 am - 3 pm Local daytime show aired in most markets. These markets will take the networked breakfast.
Network Morning Monday - Friday 9 am - 12 pm Presented by Estelle Clifford, most markets will air their own local show during this timeslot. A localized version of this show is heard in Auckland with local voice breaks tailored to an Auckland audience.
Network Afternoons Monday - Friday 12 pm - 3 pm Presented by Dave Fitzgerald (broadcast from Christchurch). Most markets will air their own local show during this timeslot. A localized version of this show is heard in Christchurch and Auckland with local voice breaks tailored to a Christchurch and Auckland audience.
Drive Monday - Friday 3 pm - 7 pm Presented by Stacey Morrision and Paul Flynn (Flynny)
Night Monday - Friday 7 pm - 12 am Presented by Jason "J.T." Tikao. A localized version of this show is heard in Auckland.
Weekend Mornings Saturdays & Sundays 7 am-12 pm Presented by Peter Dakin features music and prizes across the weekend.
Weekend Afternoons Saturdays & Sundays 12 pm-6 pm Continuation of music and prizes across the weekend. Hosted by either Estelle Clifford, Jason "J.T." Tikao, Dave Fitzgerald or Guy Parsons.
Saturday Night Party Mix Saturday 6 pm - Sunday 2 am Saturday Night commercial free, announcer free party music show. This show is also broadcast on public holidays, regardless of the day in the same timeframe.
Sunday Nights Sundays 6 pm-midnight Presented by Blair Dowling.

Overnight (between 12 am-5 am weekdays, 12 am-7 am weekends) the station is automated.

Individual stations[edit]


The Hits is covered through the Northland region using four frequencies – 96.4FM in the Far North, 106.1FM in the Bay of Islands, 96.4FM in the Mid North and 95.6FM in Whangarei.

Originally known as Radio Northland and broadcasting on 1026 and 1215 AM with the call sign 1ZN, the station moved to 96FM in Whangarei during the late 1990s.

The station is located on Bank Street, Whangarei.

Local Programming: Daytime 9 am - 3 pm: Charmaine Soljak [5]

Auckland 97.4FM[edit]

The Hits 97.4 is the flagship of the brand. The majority of the network announcers are based here. During the Classic Hits era the announcers based in Auckland produced two voice breaks, a local voice break for Auckland mentioning Auckland frequency and region specific information for Auckland and a separate voice break for the rest of the country tailored to a national audience. Today announcers continue to produce local voice breaks for Auckland but only during the morning and night show.

The station is located at NZME Radio headquarters on the corner of Cook and Nelson Streets in Auckland.

Local Programming:
Mornings 9 am - 12 pm: Estelle Clifford (networked to other regions)

Waikato 98.6FM[edit]

Originally Waikato's 1ZH this station was first started in 1949 broadcasting on 1310 AM. The station moved to 1296 AM in 1978. On air names included 1300 1ZH and Hits and Memories 1ZH during the 1980s.

The station became 98.6 ZHFM on 25 May 1990 when the station switched to FM. The Classic Hits name was actually used on a bumper sticker as well as A Better Music Mix before the station was re branded as Classic Hits ZHFM in 1993. The 98.6 ZHFM frequency can also be heard in Tauranga, the outskirts of Auckland and in a number of places in Northland due to its high power and the high elevation of its transmission site.

Mark Bunting joined the station in 2000 as the breakfast host, and moved to Classic Hits Auckland to present the Drivetime show over the entire Classic Hits network between 2003 and 2006. He moved back to the Waikato breakfast show in 2007.

Mark Bunting continued presenting breakfast following the rebrand to The Hits but had actually tendered his resignation and announced a pending move to opposition The Breeze in Waikato.[6] Bunting left The Hits a week after the launch of the station and the networked breakfast was put in place of this show/

The station is located on Hardley Street in Hamilton Central.

Local Programming:
Daytime 9 am - 3 pm: Blair Dowling [7]

South Waikato 97.3FM[edit]

Originally known as 1ZO or Radio Forestland on 1413 am in the 1980s and 1990s, then 'Classic Hits Radio Forestland' before switching to FM in 2006. The station was part of the Classic Hits Community Radio Network.

The station used to have its own local breakfast show, but in 2012 this was replaced with the Waikato breakfast show hosted by Mark Bunting with local advertising. Following the rebrand to The Hits the station now has the same programming as Waikato

Despite no local shows, the station still has a local office located on Bridge Street in Tokoroa.

Bay of Plenty 95.0FM[edit]

Originally 1ZD Radio B.O.P. broadcasting on 1008 AM. The station moved to 95.0FM around 1990 becoming 95 B.O.P. FM. The station was rebranded as Classic Hits in 1993. The Hits 98.6FM Hamilton can also be heard in Tauranga.

The station is located on Harrington Street in Tauranga City.

Local Programming:
Daytime 9 am – 3 pm: Will Johnston [8]

Rotorua 97.5FM[edit]

Originally known as Radio Geyserland on 1350 AM. The station moved to FM in 1988 and became known as 97.5 Geyserland FM. When the station was rebranded as Classic Hits in 1993 the name Geyserland was no longer used on air, however it still appeared on the station's logo. The Hits in Rotorua also broadcasts on 90.9FM to the Reporoa, Broadlands, Ngakuru and Waikite Valley areas.

The station is located on Fenton Street in Rotorua City.

Local Programming:
Daytime 9 am - 3 pm: Paul Hickey [9]

Taupo 96.8FM[edit]

Originally known as Radio Lakeland, broadcasting on 1494 am in Taupo and 1386 am in Turangi. The station moved to 96.7FM in 1988 and was then known as Lakeland FM. For a short time a second frequency served Turangi on 89.6, and later 92.4 but was discontinued.

Lakeland FM was the host of the Community Radio Network, a network established between community radio stations then operated by The Radio Network. Outside of the breakfast show, all Community Radio Network stations received content from the Lakeland FM studio. In 2001 all the Community Radio Network stations joined up with Classic Hits, with all programming outside of breakfast now coming from Auckland. At this point Lakeland FM became known as Classic Hits Lakeland FM.

Following the rebrand to The Hits the local breakfast was dropped and now the station has the same local daytime show as Rotorua.

Despite no local shows, the station still has a local office located on Paora Hapi Street in Taupo.

Gisborne 90.9FM[edit]

Originally known as 2XG on 1010 am, then 'The Coaster 2ZG' on 945 AM, before moving to 90.9FM, and later being rebranded as Classic Hits 90.9.

The station is located on the corner of Grey Street and Childers Road in Gisborne.

Local Programming:
Daytime 9 am – 3 pm: Connor Ruston[10]

Taranaki 90FM[edit]

The Hits in Taranaki originates from 2ZP Radio Taranaki, which broadcast on 1053 am in New Plymouth and 1557 am in Hawera (as 2ZH). Around 1992, the station began simulcasting on 90.0FM which was previously occupied by its sister station 'Q90FM'. It was then known as '90FM Radio Taranaki' before becoming Classic Hits 90FM in 1993.

Previous breakfast host for 15 years, Barney (Brent Procter) retired from broadcasting as of 20 December 2013.

The station is located in Broadcasting House on the corner of Powderham and Brougham Streets in New Plymouth Central.

Local Programming:
Breakfast 6 am - 9 am: Adam Green and Eryn Deverson [11]

Hawke's Bay 89.5[edit]

Originally known as 2ZC or Bay City Radio broadcasting on 1280AM, later 1278 am, since 1 October 1957, the station moved to 89.5FM in 1994 and it became 'Classic Hits 89FM - Bay City Radio'. In 2002, the station's name was altered to 'Classic Hits 89.5 - Bay City Radio'. From 1 January 2011, the station began a relay station in Wairoa on 99.7FM.

This station broadcasts from the famous Broadcasting House building on the corner of Dickens & Dalton Streets in Napier – one of only two central city building's left standing following the 1931 Napier Earthquake.

Local Programming:
Breakfast 6 am – 9 am: Martin Good and Sarah Van Der Kley [12]

Manawatu 97.8FM[edit]

Originally known as 2ZA and broadcasting on 940AM, later 927 am, the station began simulcasting on 97.8FM in the early 1990s under the name 'AM-FM 2ZA'. Soon after the station was relaunched as 'The New 98FM'. 98FM eventually joined the Classic Hits network, but due to the 'Classic Hits' name already being used by an opposition station within the same market, 98FM was forced to adopt the name 'Greatest Hits 98FM'. Presumably, as a result of an agreement or settlement between the two companies, the opposition station dropped the 'Classic Hits' slogan and 98FM became 'Classic Hits 97.8'. Later, after more than 5 years of not using it, part of the 2ZA call sign was returned when the station became Classic Hits 97.8 ZAFM.

Manawatu lost all local programming following the rebrand to The Hits. Originally the station took the networked daytime shows but now has the same local daytime show as Whanganui.

Despite no local shows the station is located on Main Street in Palmerston North.

Whanganui 89.6FM[edit]

Originally known as 2XA this station began broadcasting in Whanganui in October 1949 on 1200AM. The station was later renamed to 2ZW and moved to 1197 am in 1978. The station was renamed to River City Radio in 1988 and 89.6 River City FM in 1993 after the station began broadcasting on 89.6FM. In 2001 the station became Classic Hits River City FM after joining the Classic Hits network.

The station is located on the corner of Guyton and Campbell Streets, Whanganui.

Local Programming:
Daytime 9 am - 3 pm: Darryl Mallett[13]

Kapiti-Horowhenua 92.7FM[edit]

Originally Classic Hits broadcast on 89.4FM as a relay of Classic Hits 90FM in Wellington, this station broadcast on 89.4 as far back as 1991 when the station was 2ZB and later B90FM. In 2001 this relay was dropped and replaced with Newstalk ZB. Classic Hits made a return to the Kapiti area in 2004 on 92.7FM a frequency previously used by Sports Roundup/Radio Sport. Programming on the new station was separate to Classic Hits 90FM in Wellington with the station presenting its own local breakfast. However in 2009 this local breakfast show was dropped and replaced with Wellington's Classic Hits breakfast show. Following the rebrand to The Hits the Kapiti station takes the same local shows as Wellington.

Despite no local shows, the station still has a local office on Kapiti Road, Paraparaumu.

Wairarapa 90.3FM[edit]

Originally known as 2XB this station was first started in March 1958 broadcasting on 840AM. The stations call sign was changed to 2ZD in 1968 and in 1978 the station moved to 846 am. The station was known on air during the 1980s and 1990s as Radio Wairarapa before becoming 90.1 Wairarapa FM in 1999, when the station began broadcasting on 90.1FM. In 2001 the station was rebranded as Classic Hits Wairarapa. The broadcast frequency was changed to 90.3FM in October 2010.

As of 2013 the station no longer has any locals show from 2013 the station took the same breakfast show as Wellington and following the rebrand as The Hits all shows are networked.

Despite no local shows, the station still has a local office on Church Street, Masterton.

Wellington 90.1FM[edit]

Originally an FM repeater for Wellington's 2ZB (89.8FM) in the early 1990s, the station was then relaunched as 'Goodtime Oldies B90FM' which also broadcast to the Kapiti Coast on 89.4. The station ran a 60s and 70s music format which originated from the Wellington studio and took no network programming. Around 1996, B90FM became 'Classic Hits 90FM' and an adjustment was made to the station's frequency, shifting from 89.8 to 90.0FM. Unlike the rest of the Classic Hits network, 90FM ran with a "60s, 70s and 80s" format, whereas all other Classic Hits stations (with the exception of Auckland and Christchurch) were playing "70s, 80s and 90s". Programming continued to originate from Wellington until 1998 when local shows succumbed to network programming. The Kapiti Coast repeater was eventually dropped and replaced with Newstalk ZB. On 27 October 2010, the station shifted frequencies to 90.1FM, to comply with Government broadcasting regulations.

The station is located on the Corner of Taranaki and Abel Smith Streets, in Central Wellington.

Breakfast announcers Polly and Grant present the network breakfast show from Wellington. Polly and Grant had previously presented a top rating show on Wellington's ZMFM from the 1980s, this became a nationwide show on ZM in 2001 still presented from Wellington.

Local Programming:
Breakfast 5 am - 9 am: Pauline Gillespie and Grant Kareama (presented to a network audience)
Mornings 9 am - 12 pm: Guy Parsons [14]
Afternoons 12 pm - 3 pm: TBA [15]

Nelson 89.6FM[edit]

Originally an FM simulcast of 'Radio Nelson' (also on 1341 am), this station later became part of the Classic Hits family and was known as Classic Hits 90FM. The station broadcast to Nelson City on 89.8 and to the wider area (including Motueka and Takaka) on 90.4. There is also an AM relay in Golden Bay on 1269 am. More recently, 90FM was known as 'Classic Hits 89.8 and 90.4' but this name was dropped in late 2006 after the 90.4 frequency was shifted to 89.8 (in synchronous transmission with the Nelson City outlet). This left Nelson launching Radio Hauraki on 90.6FM in early 2007.

The Classic Breakfast was hosted by Kent Robertson until his last show, on Friday 12 October 2012.

The station is located on Selwyn Place in Nelson City.

Local Programming:
Daytime 9 am - 3 pm: Emma Helleur [16]

Marlborough 96.9FM[edit]

Originally branded as Radio Marlborough, this station was first launched in 1965 as 2ZE broadcasting on 1540AM. The station moved to 1539 am in 1978 and then became Radio Marlborough. A relay to Picton was also established in 1981, also on 1539 am, but in 1993 moved to 1584 am. Radio Marlborough began broadcasting on 96.9FM in 1991. The station became Classic Hits Radio Marlborough in 2001 and at the same time the AM frequency was used to launch Radio Sport in the Marlborough region.

The station is located in Cavalier House on Market Street, Blenheim. The main transmitter is located in the Wither Hills, 4 km south-southwest of Blenheim, with a second transmitter broadcasting on 89.1FM in the Picton area.

Local Programming:
Daytime 9 am - 3 pm: Scott Radovanovich [17]

West Coast[edit]

Formerly known as Radio Scenicland, on 747 AM in Greymouth (callsign 3ZA), 1287 AM in Westport (callsign 3ZW) and 1521 AM in Reefton (callsign 3ZR), this station was part of the Community Radio Network. The station later became known as Scenicland FM after moving to the FM band, then joined the Classic Hits network around 2001.

  • Westport 90.9FM
  • Reefton 97.3FM
  • Greymouth 90.7/93.1FM
  • Hokitika 93.1FM
  • South Westland 90.5FM

Local Programming:
Daytime 9 am – 3 pm: Andy Mack

Christchurch 97.7FM[edit]

Originally known as "B98FM - The Best Music Mix" in the early 1990s, this station was rebranded as 'Goodtime Oldies B98FM' several years later, taking on an oldies music format. By the mid 1990s, the name was altered to 'Classic Hits B98FM', then again to 'Classic Hits 98FM' and finally 'Classic Hits 97.7'. This was the only Classic Hits station to not have its local programming reduced to 4 hours in 1998. It remained live and local 24 hours a day until 2002, operating independently from the rest of the Classic Hits network. In 2003 the station began reducing local content to air during the daytime only, and as announcers left the station, reduced even further. From 2006 the only local content was the breakfast show, as with other Classic Hits stations at the time. The station was located on Worcester Street, Central Christchurch in the former TVNZ studio building. However, due to the devastating earthquake on 22 February 2011, the studio moved temporarily to Riccarton Road, Christchurch. The station is now located on a new purpose-built facility on Midas Place, Middleton, Christchurch.

Until Friday 20 July 2012, the local breakfast show was hosted by Jason Gunn and Dave Fitzgerald. From 23 July 2012 Jason and Dave moved to broadcasting a nationwide Drive show between 4 pm and 7 pm broadcast from the Classic Hits Christchurch studios to all of New Zealand. Jason and Dave also pre-recorded a show for the nationwide network to air on Saturday mornings, featuring the best bits from their show each week, but this was later axed in November 2013. At the end of 2013 Jason left Classic Hits and in 2014 a new afternoon show was started presented by Dave Fitzgerald and Guy Parsons still from Christchurch.

Prior to the rebranding to The Hits the local breakfast show was hosted by AJ Funnell, Chloe Emirali and Andy Ellis. With the changeover to The Hits Dave Fitzgerald continued to present a network show from Christchurch but at the same time separate voice breaks are recorded for a local Christchurch audience.

Local Programming:
Mornings 9 am – 12 pm: AJ Funnell [18]
Afternoon 12 pm – 3 pm: Dave Fitzgerald (networked to other markets)

Ashburton 89.3FM[edit]

Originally known as 3ZE on 873 AM, this station was part of the Classic Hits Community Radio Network. The station began broadcasting on 92.5FM in 2001 and became known as Classic Hits 92.5 ZEFM. Additional frequencies on 89.3FM and 96.5FM were later added.

When the station was rebranded The Hits, previous breakfast announcer Phil Hooper was shifted to the 9 am–3 pm slot. However, due to listener dissatisfaction with the changes, The Hits' parent company, The Radio Network, opted to launch the Gore based Hokonui brand into Ashburton on the 92.5FM frequency. At the same time The Hits local announcer Phil Hooper was moved to Hokonui to present a local breakfast for an Ashburton audience with all other programming on Hokonui originating from Southland or Dunedin. The Hits continued to broadcast in Ashburton on 89.3FM but now with complete network programming. The Hits 96.5FM frequency was also reassigned to Radio Hauraki in 2014.

Despite having no local shows, the station still has an office in Somerset House, Ashburton.

South Canterbury[edit]

Originally Radio Caroline broadcasting on 1160AM with the call sign 3XC from January 1949. In 1978 the station moved to 1152AM and changed call sign to 3ZC.

The station joined the Classic Hits network in 1995, originally as Classic Hits 99FM. In 1998 the station was dropped from the Classic Hits network and became part of the Community Radio Network as South Canterbury's 99FM. At this stage programming was reduced to a local breakfast show, and outside this time all programming came from the Community Radio Network studio in Taupo. In 2001 all Community Radio Network stations became part of Classic Hits, and as a result the station rejoined the Classic Hits network as Classic Hits 98.7. At the same time the 1152 AM frequency was reassigned to Newstalk ZB.

In 2005 the station began broadcasting on 94.7FM as well as the existing 98.7FM frequency; as a result the station became known as Classic Hits 98.7 and 94.7. The station is located on North Street in Timaru. The former Sophia Street studios were demolished to make way for car parking.

Following the rebrand to The Hits the former breakfast announcer Sam Wilson was moved to present the 9am - 3pm show. Later in 2014 The Hits Waitaki announcer Josh McIntyre took over this show broadcasting the same show to both Timaru and Oamaru listeners. The Hits 98.7FM frequency is to be reassigned to Radio Hauraki in 2015.

Local Programming:
Daytime 9 am – 3 pm: Josh McIntyre.[19]

Oamaru 98.4FM[edit]

Originally known as 'Radio Waitaki' on 1395 am, then as 'Classic Hits 98.4 Waitaki FM' after they converted to FM. The 'Waitaki' name was later dropped from most station identification and the station was then known as 'Waitaki's Classic Hits 98.4'.

Following the rebrand to The Hits the breakfast announcer Josh McIntyre was moved to present the local 9 am – 3 pm show but later in 2014 Josh was moved to The Hits Timaru in the same time slot presenting the same show to both Timaru and Oamaru listeners.

Oamaru now shares the same local programming as Timaru. Despite no local shows the station is located on Thames Street in Oamaru.

Southern Lakes[edit]

A newer member of The Hits Network, this station launched in 2005 as Classic Hits Southern Lakes. The station covers Queenstown on 90.4FM, Wanaka on 96.2FM and Alexandra on 99.9FM.

The station is based on Earl Street, Queenstown.

Local Programming:
Daytime 9 am - 3 pm: Craig 'Ferg' Ferguson[20]

Dunedin 89.4FM[edit]

Originally known as 4ZB on 1044AM, then ZBFM on 89.4FM when the station switched to FM in 1990. ZBFM joined the Classic Hits network in 1993 under the name 'Classic Hits 89FM' which was later changed to 'Classic Hits 89.4'.

The station is located on George Street, Dunedin City. Until 2008 the station broadcast from the NZBC, then from the Radio Network studios in Albany Street.

Local Programming:
Breakfast 6 am - 9 am: Callum Procter and Patrina Roche.[21]

Southland 98.8FM[edit]

This station was originally Southland's 4ZA on 864AM. After converting to FM in the early 1990s, the station was known as 'Southland's 4ZA 98.8FM' for some time before joining the Classic Hits network as 'Classic Hits ZAFM'. The station also broadcasts in Te Anau on 90.4FM. In 2005 there appeared to be a move towards removing the 'ZAFM' part of the name from most station identification with branding becoming 'Southland's Classic Hits 98.8' however, local announcers often left the 'ZAFM' in during voice breaks as well as in locally created audio for the station.

Previously the breakfast show was hosted by John "Boggy" McDowell. Boggy started on the 4ZA breakfast show on 1 June 1979 and remained presenting this show until 21 December 2012. Local news and sport was read by Malcolm Gayfer until the end of 2012. A local news service is no longer available. Malcolm Gayfer was with the station for 25 years and for a time was Boggy's co-host.

Boggy announced he would be leaving the station at the end of 2012 after deciding to accept a position as the new network drive host on fellow TRN station Coast from the start of 2013. Following the announcement, Boggy's then co-host Tracy Kilkelly moved to an administration role with The Radio Network Southland, and James McRobie stepped into Tracy's place. From 2013 James McRobie was joined by Becky Morgan, previously of Classic Hits Nelson. However, she later left at the end of 2013.

The station is located on the corner of Don and Deveron Streets, Invercargill.

Local Programming:
Breakfast 6 am – 9 am: James McRobie and Rachel Quinn.[22]

Defunct stations[edit]


Radio Waitomo was launched in Te Kuiti in 1985 on 1170 AM with the call sign 1ZW. Local programming was limited. The station became part of the Community Radio Network in 1998 and joined the Classic Hits network in 2001 when all other Community Radio Network stations became part of Classic Hits.

This is the first known station to be removed from the Classic Hits network. In November 2003 the station was closed down, and in 2004 the station frequency was taken over by The Voice of Waitomo Trust and relaunched as The Voice of Waitomo. Later in 2004 the station reverted to its original name Radio Waitomo. This station closed down in 2005 due to a lack of funding and support from the community.

King Country[edit]

Originally King Country Radio, this station was launched in Taumarunui in 1966 on 1520 AM with the call sign 1ZU. The station moved to 1512 AM in 1978. The station simulcast 1ZH from Hamilton or National Radio from Wellington during afternoons and evenings, and during the late 1980s and 1990s shared air time with Radio Waitomo. When it joined the Classic Hits network in 2001, it began broadcasting on 99.9FM in Taumarunui, and in 2006 extended coverage to the rest of the King Country region on 92.7FM.

The station had its local breakfast show dropped in March 2009. At first programming was voicetracked from Hamilton and later Classic Hits introduced a new networked breakfast. The purpose of the networked breakfast was as an alternative show when a local stations announcer was on holiday or sick and no one local could fill in. For King Country, the networked breakfast was a permanent fixture featuring local weather and one localized voice break each hour containing region specific information. King Country was the only region to take the networked breakfast permanently.

The Radio Network announced in February 2010 that Classic Hits King Country Radio would be closing down, and the station ceased broadcasting on 31 March 2010. The company had originally planned to shut down the frequencies of the station, but they reached a deal so that they were sold to Peak FM, a Ruapehu owned and operated company which also broadcasts to National Park, Raetihi, Ohakune, Waiouru and Taihape.


Classic Hits has used the following slogans over the years:

  • 1987–1992: The best of the 1960s, 1970s and the 1980s (Auckland)
  • 1993–1995: All the Hits from the 1960s to the 1990s
  • 1993–1995: Good Time Oldies (Wellington and Christchurch)
  • 1993–1998: A Better Music Mix <followed by the local frequency>
  • 1996–1998: From the Nineties to the Seventies
  • 1998–1999: Hits of the 70s, 80s and 90s
  • 2000–2005: Hits of the 70s, 80s, 90s and Today
  • 2005–2007: 80s, 90s and Whatever!
  • 2007–2009: 80s, 90s and Now!
  • Between August 2009 and May 2011 no slogan was associated with Classic Hits stations.
  • 2011 – 2014: 80s 90s Today
  • 2014 –: All the Hits, All the Time
  • 2015 –: All Your Favourite Hits

Previous nationwide announcers[edit]

Announcer Show Duration Reason for Leaving Last known station
Grant Bailey Drivetime show 2000–2002 Went to breakfast on Easy Listening i PD at More FM Hawkes Bay
Justin Brown Drivetime show 2014 Joined creative agency Camaraderie
Mark Bunting Drivetime show 2003–2006 Returned to the Waikato to host the breakfast show he previously hosted. Breakfast Host on The Breeze Waikato.
Pat Courtenay Drivetime show 1998–1999 Breakfast Host on Radio Nova (Dublin, Ireland)
Andrew Dickens Drivetime show 1999–2000 Moved to Auckland Breakfast Show Breakfast Host on Auckland's Classic Hits until November 2010. Now works Sunday Mornings on Newstalk ZB.
Andy Dye Night Show 1998–2000 Hosted Breakfast in Dunedin for Some Time until 2002, Now A Real Estate Agent In Auckland
Pat Brittenden Friday Night Fever/Weekend Breakasts. 2007–2009 Redundancy Freelancing. Often heard filling in on Radio LIVE
Will Johnston Night show 2007–2008 Moved to Northland Breakfast Show Daytime host 9 am - 3 pm on Bay of Plenty's The Hits 95FM
Gael Ludlow Love Songs to Midnight Nightshow 2001–2002 New format Presented the same show on Easy Mix, before being made redundant.
Peter Sinclair The original Love Songs to Midnight Nightshow. 1993–1997 Died in 2001
Alison Leonard Nationwide Breakfast Newsreader 2004–2007 Moved to other TRN station Easy Mix Now on Radioworks's The Breeze 10 am to 2 pm as the new daytime host
Andy Mac Network breakfast announcer and weekends 2012-2014 Moved to The Hits West Coast Daytime 9 am - 3 pm host on The Hits West Coast
Dave Smart Night show 2004–2007 Moved to Wellington Breakfast Show.
Dene Young Night show 2003–2004 Went overseas Breakfast host on Radio Hauraki
Heemi Katene-Hill Night Show 2008–2009
Melanie Homer Nationwide Breakfast Newsreader 2007–2010 Moved to other TRN station Radio Hauraki 8 am - Midday show on Mix98.2
Jason Reeves Network Drive Host 2007–2010 Moved to the local Auckland Breakfast Show Breakfast on Classic Hits Auckland 97.4 until 2014 when the station was rebranded to The Hits.
Luke Taplin Alternate Sunday Night Show Host 2010–2011 Moved to other TRN station ZM. Weekday Night Show on ZM Network.
Mike Plant Sunday Night Show Host/ Network 2010 - 2012 Moved to the local Northland breakfast show Daytime 9 am - 3 pm show on The Hits Northland
Murray Lindsay Network Night Show Host 1997 - 1998
Network Daytime Show Host 1998 - 2012
1997–2012 Moved to host Daytime Show on other TRN station Coast.
Guy Parsons Saturday afternoons (2011 - 2012)
Drive co-host (2014)
2011–2012 & 2014 Moved to work on The Erin Simpson Show. (2012)
Moved to The Hits Wellington (2014)
The Hits Wellington Morning 9 am - 12 pm show.
Jason Gunn Network Drive Host 2012–2013 Offered position with MediaWorks Radio Presenter of nationwide drive show on More FM from 2015.
Glen Stuart Network Breakfast Newsreader 2014 Offered position with MediaWorks Radio Restraint of Trade


  1. ^ "Radio Surveys". Research International. 3 October 2014. 
  2. ^ "Is Classic Hits breakfast about to be networked ?". 2014-04-04. 
  3. ^ "TRN will network Classic Hits breakfast with ZM, lay off 20 - industry source". 2014-04-03. 
  4. ^ "The Hits - Official Media Release". 15 April 2014. 
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