The Radio Network
|Predecessor(s)||Radio New Zealand|
|Founded||Auckland, New Zealand (1996 )|
|Headquarters||Auckland, New Zealand|
|Number of locations||25 markets|
|Area served||New Zealand|
Classic Hits FM
|Owner(s)||APN, Clear Channel Communications|
|Parent||Australian Radio Network|
The Radio Network (TRN) is the wholly owned New Zealand division of radio company Australian Radio Network, a partnership of Clear Channel and APN News & Media. It is the owner and operator of the Newstalk ZB News service and nationwide Newstalk ZB, Classic Hits, ZM, Coast, Hauraki, Flava and Radio Sport radio networks. It sells advertising, records programming, reports news and operates over 100 radio stations from headquarters in central Auckland and offices in twenty five other markets across New Zealand.
The network was created in 1996 when the commercial radio activities of Radio New Zealand were divested by the Fourth National government as part of the Ruthanasia free market economic policies of that government. Radio New Zealand Commercial, which included talk networks Newstalk ZB and Radio Sport and music networks Classic Hits and ZM, became privately owned and was renamed to The Radio Network. In the same year the newly created TRN purchased Prospect Media Limited. This included eleven Auckland and Hamilton stations. The brands of Auckland's Radio Hauraki and Easy Listening i were retained and launched as nationwide networks. Hamilton's Easy Listening i, Auckland's The Breeze on 91, Hamilton's The Breeze on 89.8 and the other stations were converted to the former Radio New Zealand brands.
The company was bought out by a syndicate that included The New Zealand Herald and New Zealand Listener publisher Wilson & Horton and United States radio company Clear Channel Communications; Wilson & Horton was then purchased by Ireland-based media conglomerate Independent News & Media, and onsold to Independent's Australian subsidiary APN. The Radio Network became an APN and Clear Channel networked commercial radio joint venture, like the Australian Radio Network already was; as a result TRN became part of ARN.
Since 2005 Radio Network has networked all its stations under its eight network brands. Stations may have local idents, advertisements, weather forecasts, promotion events, traffic updates, news bulletins and commentary features. However, aside from local breakouts for breakfast, morning or special event programmes, stations exclusively carry network programming produced from studios at Radio Network on Cook St in Auckland Central. The move towards the eight nationwide networks took several decades, but a number of changes occurred in 2004 and 2005 which lead to the current networks. The Community Radio Network was replaced with Classic Hits FM; where both operated in the same market Community Radio Network was replaced by Newstalk ZB. Auckland's Cool Blue 96.1FM was replaced with the first Flava station; Cool Blue became an independently operated internet-only station. Hawkes Bay's Classic Rock 96FM was replaced with Radio Hauraki, which was later replaced with ZM. Easy Listening i was rebranded as Viva FM in 2005 and then as Easy Mix in August 2007. Hawkes Bay's Jammin' Oldies 1530 was purchased by Radio Network and re-branded as the first Coast station. Nelson's The Planet 97FM was replaced with ZM, after having operated in the ZM format.
Radio Network House in Christchurch, the home of the local Newstalk ZB team, was damaged in the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake beyond repair. The building became infamous for being the first New Zealand demolition by implosion in August 2012.
Radio networks operated by The Radio Network
Local stations operated by The Radio Network:
- Hokonui Gold Gore (Privately owned but currently leased to The Radio Network).
Previous stations operated by The Radio Network
- Community Radio Network - Local stations taken over by either Newstalk ZB or Classic Hits FM.
- Cool Blue 96.1FM Auckland - Stopped operation by TRN in 2004 and frequency taken over by Flava. Still available online but no longer operated by The Radio Network.
- Classic Rock 96FM Hawkes Bay - Replaced with Radio Hauraki and later ZM.
- Classic Hits - Rebranded as The Hits in 2014.
- Easy Listening i - Rebranded as Viva FM in 2005, and subsequently as Easy Mix in August 2007. Station closed down in June 2012 with frequencies reassigned to Radio Sport.
- Jammin' Oldies 1530 Hawkes Bay - Local station taken over by TRN and later rebranded as the very first Coast station.
- The Breeze on 91 Auckland and The Breeze on 89.8 Hamiton (Both stations closed down and frequency used to launch ZM in these regions) The Breeze station in Wellington remained on air as this station was under different ownership.
- The Planet 97FM Nelson - Played similar format to ZM and was shut down and replaced with ZM in 2004.