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 The Radio Network's formation in 1996 the company has consolidated many of the once local stations into network brands. This process had actually began prior to 1996 when former owner Radio New Zealand consolidated many of their local stations into the one Classic Hits FM brand from 1993 and networking the Auckland based Newstalk ZB across the country utilizing the AM frequencies many of the local stations once broadcast on in addition to an FM frequency. As The Radio Network brand grew stations were then rolled out to other markets in some cases replacing a local station with a network station, for example in Hawkes Bay Classic Rock 96FM was replaced with Radio Hauraki and later ZM and in Palmerston North local station 2QQ was replaced with ZM.
Today the majority of the programming on stations operated by The Radio Network is networked from the main studios on Cook Street in Auckland Central. Classic Hits stations were reduced to a local breakfast only in 1998 and while the ZM brand was once 3 distinct stations in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, the ZM brand was consolidated together during the early 2000s. Stations typically contain local idents and advertising, weather forecasts are normally prerecorded by a newsreader or network presenter for each individual region, traffic updates are read out for the larger centers from Auckland. Some networked programming is broadcast outside of Auckland such as the breakfast show presented by Pauline Gillespie and Grant Kareama on The Hits from the Wellington studios, this show was previously heard on ZM and dates back to when ZMFM was a local station in Wellington. Stations that still contain local programming today are Newstalk ZB in Wellington and Christchurch during the mornings and The Hits (formally known as Classic Hits) now runs a 6 hour local 9am - 3pm show in most markets or a local a breakfast with network programming outside breakfast. In Auckland a new local station Easy 98.2 was established in 2014 and in Gore local station Hokonui is operated by The Radio Network.
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:
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.