Magic (radio network)

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Magic Logo 2015
Broadcast area16 markets in New Zealand
Slogan"Feels Good"
First air date20 April 2015
OwnerMediaWorks Radio
WebcastLive stream

Magic is a New Zealand oldies radio network owned by MediaWorks New Zealand. The network is a direct competitor to New Zealand Media and Entertainment's Coast network, targeting New Zealand's growing population of baby boomers with a line-up of veteran broadcasters.[1] Its breakfast show, Magic in the Morning, is hosted by high-profile television producer, game show host, sports commentator and radio announcer Mark Leishman. Its playlist, drawn from the 1950s to 1970s, includes music from Elvis Presley, The Beach Boys, Roy Orbison, Dusty Springfield and Rod Stewart.[2]

The Magic network targets 50- to 69-year-olds, an older demographic than similar MediaWorks brands. It is run alongside The Breeze with a similar playlist, but The Breeze has a younger female skew and easy listening music focus. Another MediaWorks network, The Sound, previously played similar music but now has a male skew and a rock music focus.[1] Magic targets older listeners who have a "youthful, active approach to life" and want "fantastic music and a feel-good attitude".[3] However, some marketing commentators have argued the "youthful" brand is out of touch with the "antiquated" classic playlist.[4]



Magic was launched on 20 April 2015 in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Tauranga, Rotorua and Dunedin, some stations were launched on frequencies MediaWorks acquired in radio spectrum auctions, others were secondary frequencies used by other MediaWorks stations such as in Dunedin the 99.8FM frequency was previously used by Radio Dunedin and Wellington's 891AM previously used by The Breeze. Over the next few days, the Magic added frequencies in Hawkes Bay and Kapiti. More stations in Wanganui, Wairarapa, Blenheim, Nelson, Queenstown, Southland and Rodney over the following months.[3] The Magic brand name has been used in other regions such as Magic FM in Northland which was owned by MediaWorks but closed down in 2001, Magic 828 & 98.6FM in Palmerston North which was rebranded The Breeze in 2004 and Magic 91FM which was a local station in Auckland during the 1980s.[5]

The launch of Magic was made possible by the closure of Kiwi FM on March 31. Magic took over the former Kiwi FM studios in Auckland. Kiwi was an independent non-profit music broadcaster, wholly owned by MediaWorks. It operated as ten years as Kiwi FM, and had previously operated as ten years as Channel Z. The network attracted 28,000 listeners each week and was responsible for about one percent of local music airtime on New Zealand radio. However, its popularity and long-term viability had been undermined by new websites offering direct access to local music, and MediaWorks decided to focus its youth resources on the nationwide roll-out of George FM and Mai FM.[1]

MediaWorks hopes the Magic network will increase its market share of the one million New Zealanders aged 50 to 74. In New Zealand this demographic is growing in size, is more likely to listen to the radio and listens to radio for longer hours. People in this group also have fewer family commitments, and have more assets and disposable incomes.[6] MediaWorks secured a network of new frequencies in the 2014 radio spectrum auction in markets with large baby boomer populations. The company says that includes markets where Magic can go head to head with Coast, and markets with no Coast stations where Magic can secure a monopoly or gain a competitive advantage.[4]

Change of Format[edit]

It was announced in November 2018 that Magic would be rebranded as Magic Music, and some programmes would be shared with Radio Live, which would be rebranded as Magic Talk. This change will effect in mid-January 2019, with a large number of Radio Live hosts leaving the station due to the restructure.

At midnight, Saturday 19 January, Magic Talk launched. Following the latest Newshub update, presented by Brin Rudkin, the first programme hosted on the station was Overnights with Tony Amos.


Magic's main competitor is New Zealand Media and Entertainment's network station Coast which has been broadcasting under this name since 2002 originally just in the Hawkes Bay area but began expanding to the rest of New Zealand in 2004. Both stations play a similar format. In the past MediaWorks ran a Rock and roll Oldies format station called Solid Gold which initially played music from the 1950s to the 1970s and later specializing in 1960's and 70's music. In 2012 Solid Gold was rebranded as The Sound and switched format to Classic rock, the format change for this station was due to a gap left in the market after Radio Hauraki moved away from Classic Rock music. The change in format for The Sound meant MediaWorks were no longer catering to an older audience of listeners, a gap filled by Magic.



Mark Leishman hosts Magic's breakfast show from 6.00am each weekday morning. The station claims the show contains "a bit less talk and lot more of the music you love".[7] Leishman has been the high-profile producer and presenter of television shows like Top Town, Tux Wonderdogs, Jeopardy!, The Great New Zealand Spelling Bee, game shows and sport broadcasts.[8] Since the death of his brother Phillip in 2013, Leishman has hosted his brother's golf show with Laura McGoldrick.[9] Until Magic's launch in April 2015, he was also afternoon host on The Breeze.[10] Alongside his Magic announcing role, Leishman presents and produces The National Bank Young Farmer Contest and Country TV News.[11]

Magic's 10.00am daytime show is hosted by Mark Smith, who began at 2XS FM in Palmerston North. The network's 2.00pm afternoon show is hosted by Murray Lindsay. [1]Magic Nights are hosted by Bob Gentill, an early announcer of pirate radio station Radio Hauraki and a commercial radio veteran. Former Breeze Christchurch Drive host, Grant Magrath hosts weekend mornings from 6.00am and former The Breeze Waikato breakfast host Dave Grove hosts weekend afternoons from 12.00pm. Most of the shows are networked from Magic's Auckland studios, previously used by Kiwi FM, with the weekend shows coming from Christchurch. The overnight and Sunday evening output are automated.[12]


Magic's playlist includes tracks from Elvis Presley, the Bee Gees, The Supremes, The Beatles, The Rat Pack, Motown, Frank Sinatra, and Rod Stewart's Great American Song Book.[2][12] The Magic website also features news and showcases music from Aretha Franklin, Bette Midler, Dusty Springfield, Percy Sledge, Paul McCartney, Hot Chocolate and Simon and Garfunkel.[13] The station's first in-studio interview was with Dennis Locorriere from Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show. His appearance included a solo performance of an acoustic mash-up of some of the band's most popular songs, including When You're in Love with a Beautiful Woman, The Cover of Rolling Stone and Sylvia's Mother.[14]


North Island frequencies[edit]

South Island frequencies[edit]

Other services[edit]

Events and promotions[edit]

To celebrate its launch in April 2015, Magic gave away 100 prize packs and a trip to Sydney to see Neil Diamond in concert.[2] In the same year, the network also sponsored Neil Diamond concerts in Auckland and Dunedin, Singin’ in the Rain in Auckland and Wellington, an Elton John concert in Wellington, a Laurence Aberhart exhibition at Auckland Art Gallery, the New Zealand International Film Festival, a nationwide tour of 10cc, and a Beach Boys concert at Mount Maunganui.[16][17]


  1. ^ a b c d Gibson, Campbell (23 March 2015). "MediaWorks creates new radio station for baby boomers, Kiwi FM closes down". National Business Review. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  2. ^ a b c "Listen to Magic, NZ's newest radio station". MediaWorks New Zealand. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  3. ^ a b "MediaWorks launching Magic FM on April 20". MediaWorks New Zealand. 3 News. 23 March 2015.
  4. ^ a b Venuto, Damien (23 March 2015). "MediaWorks targets lucrative older demographic with new station". Stop Press. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  5. ^ "Radio Vault Auckland". Radio Vault. Internet Archive. 2010. Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  6. ^ Aziz, Omar; Gemmell, Norman; Laws, Athene (June 2013). "The Distribution of Income and Fiscal Incidence by Age and Gender: Some Evidence from New Zealand" (Working paper). Victoria University of Wellington Business School. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  7. ^ "Magic in the Morning". MediaWorks New Zealand. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  8. ^ "Mark Leishman". NZ On Screen. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  9. ^ "Phillip Leishman". NZ On Screen. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  10. ^ Weaser, Laura (6 May 2015). "A new dawn for Mark Leishman". Bauer Media. New Zealand Woman's Weekly. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  11. ^ "@Markleishmannz". Twitter. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  12. ^ a b "Shows". MediaWorks New Zealand. 19 April 2015. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  13. ^ "Music". MediaWorks New Zealand. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  14. ^ "Watch Dennis Locorriere from Doctor Hook play live in studio". MediaWorks New Zealand. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  15. ^ a b "Contact". MediaWorks New Zealand. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  16. ^ "What's On". MediaWorks New Zealand. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  17. ^ "The Beach Boys". Eventfinda. Retrieved 14 July 2015.

External links[edit]