ZM (New Zealand)
|Broadcast area||20 markets in New Zealand|
|Slogan||ZM Is My Station!|
|First air date||c.1973|
|Owner||New Zealand Media and Entertainment|
ZM (pronounced zed-em) is a New Zealand contemporary hit radio network owned by New Zealand Media and Entertainment. It broadcasts 19 markets throughout mainland New Zealand via terrestrial FM, and worldwide via the Internet. The network targets the 15–39 demographic specialises in a chart-music playlist of pop, rock, hip hop and dance music. It reaches approximately 341,000 listeners weekly, making it the third largest commercial radio station in New Zealand.
The ZM network as it is today was founded in the early 1970s as three separate commercial music stations owned by Radio New Zealand in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. The name is derived from the former callsigns of the stations: 1ZM, 2ZM and 3ZM. Z denoted a Radio New Zealand commercial station and M stood for Music. The stations were carved off to The Radio Network (now merged into New Zealand Media and Entertainment) in 1996, and ZM spread across the country, originally as three separate networks before finally merging to form one nationwide network in 2009.
The network's head office and main studios are based in Auckland, where all of the programming is produced.
- 1 ZM History
- 2 ZM Network Lineup
- 3 ZM Stations
- 3.1 ZM Network
- 3.2 94-8 ZM Whangarei (Originally 93ZM)
- 3.3 91 ZM Auckland
- 3.4 89-8 ZM Waikato
- 3.5 89-4 ZM Bay of Plenty
- 3.6 98-3 ZM Rotorua (Originally 98ZM)
- 3.7 90.4 ZM Taupo
- 3.8 107 ZM Gisborne (Originally 99.7 ZM)
- 3.9 95-9 ZM Hawkes Bay (Originally 96ZM)
- 3.10 98-8 ZM Taranaki
- 3.11 96-8 ZM Wanganui
- 3.12 90-6 ZM Manawatu (Originally 91ZM)
- 3.13 94-3 ZM Wairarapa
- 3.14 91-1 ZM Kapiti
- 3.15 90-9 ZM Wellington
- 3.16 96-8 ZM Nelson (Originally The Planet then 97ZM)
- 3.17 90-5 ZM Marlborough
- 3.18 91-3 ZM Christchurch
- 3.19 96-3 ZM South Canterbury
- 3.20 95-8 ZM Dunedin (Originally 96ZM)
- 3.21 88.8 ZM Queenstown
- 3.22 95-6 ZM Invercargill (Originally 96ZM)
- 3.23 ZMonline
- 3.24 ZM News Service
- 4 ZM in the New Zealand Radio Awards
- 5 Slogans
- 6 References
- 7 External links
The ZM name derives from the original 1ZM radio station founded by W.W. (Bill) Rodgers in the late 1920s in Manurewa, then a farming village south of Auckland, The letter Z meant a privately owned (later commercial) station, and the M stood for Manurewa.
The station was later acquired by the NZ Government and moved 26 km north to Auckland City, where it shared space in the 1941 Art Deco Broadcasting House studios of 1ZB. In April 1944 1ZM was handed over to the US AFRS military broadcasting service to provide entertainment for US troops on R & R leave in Auckland, as part of the AES Mosquito Network. The American programming, drawn from all three US radio networks (ABC, NBC and CBS) and played without commercial advertisements, proved popular not only with US troops but also with Aucklanders who appreciated the lively style of presentation and the latest American hits. After the war 1ZM was returned to the government broadcasting department, New Zealand Broadcasting Service (NZBS) and its successor, but still state-owned, New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation (NZBC).
As part of a reshuffle of frequencies and callsigns 1ZM was renamed, first 1ZD and then 1YD, in line with the Wellington metro station 2YD which had opened in 1937. 1ZM /1YD was turned into a low-power non-commercial metro music station, broadcasting retro hits and oldies from 5 pm to 10 pm weeknights, and from 10 am to 10 pm weekends. Later, to help meet demand for advertising in the single State owned commercial station 1ZB, 1YD was authorised to carry low-level commercials read live at the microphone, and by the 1960s transmitter time in Auckland was leased in the mornings to a private commercial operator Radio i, which later secured its own AM channel.
The start of 'pirate' broadcasting in 1966 from Radio Hauraki, based on a barge in the Hauraki Gulf, and the consequent opening up of NZ radio to private investors led to a sharp rise in competition, and the NZBC looked to sharpen up the rather fusty image of its metro stations by rebranding the three YD stations in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch back to ZM and promoting them under the brand ZM Maxi Music.
1970s - Rebranding
- The ZM format under NZBC, and from 1975 Radio New Zealand, control evolved through several different musical forms. The network has developed from the original three AM radio stations in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch to a nationwide radio station covering 20 markets.
- ZM in its current format first began in 1973 in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch as 1ZM, 2ZM and 3ZM respectively. In Auckland 1ZM broadcast on 1250 kHz, in Wellington on 1130 kHz and Christchurch on 1400 kHz. In 1978 the AM frequency step in New Zealand was changed from a 10 kHz step to a 9 kHz step as a result all three stations changed frequencies. 1ZM moved to 1251 kHz, 2ZM Wellington moved to 1161 kHz but was branded as 1162ZM and 3ZM Christchurch moved to 1323 kHz.
1980s - FM broadcasting and an exit from the Auckland market
- In 1981, Radio New Zealand stations were finally granted the right to broadcast 24 hours per day; previously only the domain of private operators. Overnight networked programming was introduced with the ZM All-Nighter show. Programming was produced from the 1ZM studios in Auckland and networked to 2ZM Wellington and 3ZM Christchurch. 2ZK in Hawkes Bay and 4ZG in Gore also took the ZM All-Nighter. Programming was also networked to the ZMFM station introduced in Palmerston North in 1987. The show was offered as an 'alternative music choice to the top 40-based formats offered by the private stations and was originally hosted by Barry Jenkin from Auckland. With his departure in 1983, the alternative format remained, but the music played was more top-40-based with the large percentage of NZ music.
- In 1982, 1ZM lost its bid for an FM license and with the Broadcasting Tribunal allowing two new private radio stations into the Auckland market, 1ZM was required to re format and adopt a 'Limited Sponsorship' model in place of its full commercial licence. This was an attempt to assist the new operators in establishing a revenue base. For 1ZM this meant that although the station could still run paid-for advertisements, those messages could not have music underneath, mention price or be longer than 25 words. Within 2–3 years, both 1ZM's financial and audience market share dropped significantly as advertisers and young listeners were attracted by the higher quality sound of the FM stations, despite the absence of long commercial breaks on 1ZM. 1ZM at the time promoted itself as "Total Music ZM" to emphasise the commercial-free format. The station's management was still determined to secure an FM warrant and even employed a sales team to sell '30-second shares' in its first day of broadcast in stereo. With its final attempt unsuccessful under the old Broadcasting Warrant scheme, a decision was made to attempt a further re-format and 'Classic Hits' was first introduced. This format had been successful for a number of years in the USA. The small, tightly rotated playlist of 'Hit Radio' tunes was abandoned and the station instead targeted 25- to 44-year-olds with a playlist containing over 3,500 songs, playing everything from Dean Martin to ACDC. The 1987 version of Classic Hits was unlike anything else available at that time. The re formatting was essentially an attempt to recover audience, but was still costing Radio NZ over $1 million per annum to operate as it was the only "commercial station" legally required to run no commercials. The change to the Classic Hits format saw 1ZM drop the ZM name and become Classic Hits Twelve Fifty One. The change in name marked the birth of the Classic Hits Network known today; however, the Classic Hits brand was not rolled out to the rest of New Zealand until 1993. By this time, the wide-ranging playlist had been trimmed down significantly. The Lange government's liberalisation of the broadcasting warrant system (which was ultimately abolished in 1989/1990) saw the station finally win the right in December 1989 to broadcast in stereo on 97.4 MHz in Auckland and broadcast commercials. The 1251 kHz frequency licence was transferred to Christian broadcaster Radio Rhema. The move to FM saw the station change branding to Classic Hits 97FM. The original line up was: 06:00am Peter Mac and Mary-Jane Tomasi, 09:00am John Hawkesby, 12:00pm Bob Gentil & 3:00pm Darren Mills.
- While ZM was forced to become commercial-free in Auckland, it was business as usual in Wellington and Christchurch. In 1985 2ZM Wellington switched to FM and in 1986 Christchurch also made the move to FM. Following the change, both stations rebranded to become Hit Radio ZMFM. A ZM station was established in Palmerston North with a local breakfast show, but all programming outside breakfast was networked from Wellington.
- The ZM All-Nighter was dropped in 1989 with all stations now running their own local overnight shows. Up until this point the ZM All-Nighter had continued to be produced from the Auckland studios even though ZM was no longer solely broadcast in Auckland.
1990s - Privatisation and expansion
- 50 Minute Music Hours were introduced outside of breakfast programming and other specialty shows. During a 50 Minute Music Hour the station played at least 50 Minutes of music during the hour. The 50 Minute Music hour was heard on all current and future stations.
- A new ZM station was established in Northland in 1995 as 93ZM this station was a completely local station at this point.
- The very first networked ZM station was established in Dunedin in 1996 as 96ZM, this station was networked from 91ZM studios in Christchurch using an automated computer system allowing announcers in Christchurch to produce localised voice breaks for Dunedin recorded minutes earlier. On air announcers called the station Dunedin's 96ZM but during shows with a high amount of talk such as breakfast one voice break was produced for both Dunedin and Christchurch where the station was simply called ZM.
- In 1996 Radio New Zealand sold their commercial operation and as a result ZM along with Classic Hits and Newstalk ZB became part of The Radio Network.
- Following the sale, The Radio Network began expanding ZM across New Zealand to other markets. Following the purchase of the assets of Prospect Media, which included Radio Hauraki and Easy Listening i The Radio Network started a new ZM station in Auckland and the Waikato. The Auckland station was a local station but the Waikato station was networked from Auckland. The Waikato signal was strong enough for Bay of Plenty listeners to receive the station clearly.
- Local programming was dropped on 93ZM Northland excluding the breakfast show with all other programming becoming networked from Auckland.
- Programming was extended to Southland networked from Christchurch and Palmerston North networked from Wellington.
- The Northland breakfast team were moved to Hamilton in 1998 with programming networked back to Northland, at other times both stations carried 91ZM Auckland programming.
- Nationwide networked programming was introduced in 1997 first with the ZM Essential 30 Countdown on Saturday afternoons. Shortly after the ZM Club Mix was introduced on Saturday nights.
- A nationwide night show was introduced on weeknights in 1998, 91ZM Christchurch announcer Willy Macalister was moved to Auckland to present this show.
2000s - Network programming
- By 2000 ZM was broadcasting in Invercargill and Dunedin networked from Christchurch, Palmerston North networked from Wellington and had established a northern network with Hawkes Bay, Rotorua, Taranaki, Waikato and Northland all receiving networked programming from Auckland. The Waikato programme could also be heard in the Bay of Plenty.
- In 2000 ZM changed to a single network format, all ZM stations in smaller regions became part of this network based from Auckland the only regions not originally affected were Christchurch and Wellington where these stations remained local except during the evenings and overnight where ZM ran a nationwide night show. Voice breaks that were previously prerecorded for each region and targeted towards the local audience were replaced with live voice breaks tailored to a nationwide audience. At first, these changes were not popular and many listeners chose to listen to alternative stations.
- In 2001 more changes were made and this time saw Christchurch and Wellington integrated into the network. The Christchurch studio was closed all together with some announcers being moved to Auckland to produce a nationwide show for all of New Zealand. Wellington ZM remained local but the local breakfast show went nationwide broadcast from Wellington, at first some breakfast show content in Wellington varied to the rest of the country but by 2002 the ZM Morning Crew was a single show.
- In 2002 the 50 Minute Music Hour was replaced with Ten Songs in a Row. The change of format saw ZM play 10 Songs in a Row with no advertisements in between, short voice breaks still took place during this time. The sixth song was a High School Hit and the tenth song was a New Release. The High School Hit (which was introduced in 2002) was an older track not usually heard on ZM initially this was a track from the early nineties and sometimes even the eighties. More recently a High School Hit is usually from the late nineties or early 2000s. Ten in a Row on Shuffle was introduced in 2005, this show was normally run weekdays at midday and repeated at 1 am, for the hour every second track was an older track not normally heard on ZM.
- In 2003 the amount of local content on ZM in Wellington was reduced after Drive-Time announcer Julian Burn left, and he was not replaced but instead the nationwide Drive-Time show, then hosted by Iain Stables, was networked into Wellington. ZM Wellington remained live and local across much of the weekend (6 am–2 pm Saturday and 6 am–6 pm Sunday) up until early 2005, when the national programmes took over most local weekend shows except the 10 am–2 pm Saturday slot. This slot and the 10 am–3 pm weekday show, both hosted by Simon O'Neil, were the only local shows on ZM Wellington from 2005.
- In 2005 the ZM Christchurch studio was reopened and ZM was local in Christchurch during the Daytime (10 am–3 pm), as well as between 10 am–2 pm on Saturdays. The Daytime 10 am–3 pm announcer in Auckland produces two separate shows simultaneously, one exclusively for Auckland and another for the rest of the ZM Network, a technique used by various other Auckland radio stations including Classic Hits FM, Easy Mix and The Breeze.
- At the end of 2008 Wellington dropped its local daytime and Saturday brunch show and now takes the network versions of these shows, and exactly the same changes affected ZM Christchurch during the middle of 2009. This saw the Christchurch studio facing closure, however the Wellington studio remained until 2014 as it housed the nationwide ZM Morning Crew then presented by Polly and Grant.
- In August 2009, the decision was made to drop the voiced overnight programme, which had often been prerecorded on the day or evening beforehand. Now, no DJ occupies the midnight–6 am slot, which instead features continuous music and advertisements.
- Since February 2010, between 5 am and 6 am, highlights of the ZM Morning Crew show have been played from the previous day, on Mondays this is highlights from the previous Fridays show.
- In December 2010, the station launched a new online stream of ZM, where in a New Zealand radio first, the stream became the 20th ZM station to connect to the network in the same way regional markets do. The change meant ZM Online now had its own imaging & commercials. Local ads, weather and traffic have been removed from the online station, as they will be available on the new ZM iPhone App for all markets. Previously visitors to the ZM Online website could choose to hear either the Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch stream with local advertising for the chosen market, this allowed visitors to hear the local shows in Wellington and Christchurch when these regions had local programming.
- In December 2010 the Ten Songs in a Row format was replaced with the Ad Free 50. The change sees ZM play 50 Minutes of continuous music before any advertising is played. This change also means the weather is often not heard at the Top of the Hour as it would be expected for most radio stations.
- ZM launched its own iPhone App in 2011. The app displays all of the ZM website content, and also streams the station live. An android app was later launched.
- In line with all TRN stations ZM became available on iheartradio after its New Zealand launch in August 2013.
- In April 2014 it was announced that long standing breakfast hosts Polly Gillespie & Grant Kereama (Over 20 Years in Wellington Market & 13 Years Nationally) were stepping aside from the station in order to continue their show on the new Radio Network station The Hits. Their last show on the station was on 24 April. Their replacements were immediately announced as the high profile signings of Carl Fletcher, Vaughan Smith & Megan Sellers who defected from rival station The Edge.
- In April 2014 Carl Fletcher, Vaughan Smith & Megan Sellers commenced their new breakfast show across the ZM network named The Fletch, Vaughan & Megan Show.
- The show shuffle also saw the Ad-Free 50s being dropped.
- The ZM30 (formerly the daily ZM20) on Juice TV hosted by Guy and Georgia Saturday 6pm and Sunday 9am finished screening when Juice was replaced by Garage TV on May 15, 2015
- Jay and Flynny finished their show on 19 December 2014 after six years together and Flynny being on ZM for over a decade.
- Hamish and Andy return in July 2015 in a weekday slot of 5am-6am.
ZM Network Lineup
The station line up is:
|Early Mornings||Monday - Friday 5am-6am||Hamish and Andy|
|Breakfast||Monday - Friday 6–10 am||Fletch, Vaughan and Megan (Carl "Fletch" Fletcher, Vaughan Smith and Megan Sellers) with producers James Marbeck and Caitlin Marett. Newsfeed every 30 minutes with Ash Thomas. Time Saver traffic Every 15 minutes for Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.|
|Daytime||Monday - Friday 10am–3 pm||Amante Falkenstein|
|Drive||Monday - Friday 3–7 pm||Jase and PJ (Jase Hawkings and Polly "PJ" Harding) with producer Alex Perigo, with regular Newsfeed and Time Saver Traffic reports by Bridget Hastie|
|Nights||Monday - Friday 7pm–12 am||Guy and Georgia (Guy Mansell and Georgia Burt) with producer AJ, featuring ZM20, Sealed Section 9pm on Monday, Ministry of Sound Sessions with Timmy Trumpet from 10pm - 12am on Friday Nights.|
|Mid-dawn||Monday - Friday 12am-5am||Dylan Garrod|
|Saturday Breakfast||Saturdays 6–10 am||6-8am Weekends, 8-10am: Fletch, Vaughan and Megan Omnibus (Best Of)|
|Saturday Daytime||Saturdays 10 am – 2 pm||10am-1pm Weekends, 1pm-2pm Shortland St Radio with Reagan White|
|Saturday Afternoon||Saturdays 2–5pm||The iHeartRadio Top 40 Countdown With Cam|
|Saturday Nights||Saturdays 5pm-2am||Weekends 5pm, Jupiter Project from 8pm then Ministry of Sound Sessions with Mikael Wills from 12am|
|Sunday Breakfast||Sundays 6–10 am||6-8am Weekends, 8-10am The Best of Jase and PJ|
|Sunday Daytime||Sundays 10 am – 2 pm||Weekends|
|Sunday Afternoons||Sundays 2-6 pm||Weekends|
|Sunday Nights||Sundays 6pm-12am||Replay of The iHeartRadio Top 40 Countdown, 9pm Weekends|
Saturday and Sunday 2am-6am the station is automated. Weekend hosts include: Amante, Guy, Georgia, Jesse, Dylan, Andy, Lucy, Cam
The Nationwide ZM Network as it is today was established in 2000 and is based from The Radio Network headquarters in Auckland. The 91ZM Auckland station is the hub of the ZM network with all programming originating from these studios.
Past and Present Announcers
- Breakfast 6 am– 10am
- Daytime 10 am–3 pm
- Drive 3 pm–7 pm
- 2000: Mike McClung
- 2000: Tim Homer
- 2001–2002: Jason Royal
- 2003–2008: Iain Stables
- 2003-2014: Paul Flynn (Flynny) - Show cohost
- 2008 - 2009: Stu Tolan
- 2008–2009: Mark Dye
- 2008–2009: Steve Wrigley
- 2009-2014: Jay Reeve
- 2010-2013: Jacqui Jenson
- 2014: Zoe Marshall
- From 2015: Jase Hawkings 
- From 2015: Polly Harding (PJ)
- Night Show 7 pm–midnight
- 1998-1999: Willy Macalister
- 1999–2002: Geoff Stagg
- 2003–2008: Stu Tolan
- 2003–2006: Jacqui Jenson
- 2007–2008: Mark Dye
- 2008–2011: Matt Ward
- 2011–2014: Polly Harding (PJ)
- 2011–2014: Luke Taplin
- 2014 – present: Guy and Georgia
- Saturday Morning 7 am–10 am
- 2001–2005: The Best of the ZM Morning Crew
- 2006: Reeves and Mul Saturday breakfast with Jason Reeves and Andrew Mulligan
- 2007–2008: Stu and Flynny
- 2009–2014: Hamish and Andy (8 am–10 am) Best Of Polly and Grant 6am-8am
- 2014-2015: Hamish and Andy 6am-8am then Fletch, Vaughan and Megan Omnibus
- 2015–present: Fletch, Vaughan and Megan Omnibus
- Saturday Afternoon
- 1998–1999: The ZM Essential 30 with Willy Macalister
- 2000–2002: Hot 30 Weekend edition with Geoff Stagg
- 2003: Stables Fat 30
- 2003–2008: Stables Rump 30 Countdown with Iain Stables
- 2008: The Rump 30 with S&M (Sarah Gandy and Mark Dye)
- 2009-2014: NZ30 Countdown
- 2014: People's Choice Countdown with Chris Mac & PJ
- 2015–present: The iHeart Radio NZ Top 40
- Saturday Evenings
- 1997–2003: ZM Club Mix with DJ Sample G (Grant Kearney)
- 2006–2008: General Lee on the Decks
- 2008–2014: ZM House Party then Ministry of Sound Radio Sessions with DJ General Lee
- 2014–present: Commercial Free from 7pm, Jupiter Project Summer Sessions from 8pm then Ministry of Sound with DJ Mikael Wills 12am
94-8 ZM Whangarei (Originally 93ZM)
93ZM started around 1995 as a totally local station broadcasting on 93.1 MHz. 93ZM became a network station after ZM made a return to Auckland with local voice breaks prerecorded in Auckland minutes earlier, however the breakfast show on 93ZM was networked from 89.8ZM in Hamilton between 1998 and 1999. In 2005 93ZM moved from 93.1 to 93.2 MHz and in 2006 93ZM traded places on the Northland radio dial with Radio Hauraki 93ZM shifted to 95.1 MHz and Hauraki took over ZM's vacated 93.2 MHz frequency. In 2010 ZM in Whangarei moved to 94.8 MHz as part of the government move to re-align radio frequencies around New Zealand.
Past Local Programming
- Breakfast 6 am–10 am
- 1995–1998: Jaala Dyer
- 1995–1998: Sandy Antipas
- 1997–1998: Dave Smart
- Daytime 10 am–3 pm
- 1995-1996: Mike Chapman
- 1996-1997: Jason Winstanley
- 1997: Andrew Szusterman
- Drive 3 pm–7 pm
- 1995-1996: Trudi McRae
- 1996–1997: Dave Smart
- Nights 7 pm–Midnight:
- 1995–1997: Dallas Gurney
91 ZM Auckland
ZM made a return to the Auckland market in February 1997 as a local station broadcasting on 91.0 MHz. This move was made by The Radio Network after purchasing stations in Auckland and the Waikato owned by Prospect Media. TRN closed down Auckland station The Breeze on 91 and replaced this station with 91ZM. A similar move was made in the Waikato. Since then the Auckland studio has become the
Today 91ZM is the hub of the ZM network with all programming except the breakfast show originating from these studios. In recent years the 10am–3 pm the announcer produced a localised show for Auckland with local voice breaks and then separate voice breaks for the rest of New Zealand. As of 2013 all ZM stations contain the same content.
Past and Present Local Announcers
- Breakfast 6 am– 9 am
- Daytime 10 am– 3 pm
- Drive 3 pm–7 pm
- 1999–2000: Mike McClung and Tim Homer
- Night Show 7 pm–midnight
- 1997–1998: Melanie Homer
89-8 ZM Waikato
89-4 ZM Bay of Plenty
Established in the early 2000s ZM Bay of Plenty launched after the Waikato Station changed its Transmission site from Te Aroha in order to have a Separate Bay Of Plenty station as the Waikato stations signal could be well received in the Bay but had no local identification or local commercials. The original 89.8 frequency of both stations remained but were now separate stations with local weather and commercials. In 2010 the stations frequency was changed from 89.8 FM to 89.4 FM.
98-3 ZM Rotorua (Originally 98ZM)
ZM began broadcasting in Rotorua around 1998 on 98.3 MHz. This frequency had previously been used by a local rock station called Classic Rock 98.3FM. It was believed that programming on this station was originally local but later replaced with Auckland-based programming.
90.4 ZM Taupo
Launching in December 2013 ZM Taupo is the newest station of the Network, replacing Radio Sport in Taupo which moved to 107.7FM. The station has not produced any local programming since it was established.
107 ZM Gisborne (Originally 99.7 ZM)
ZM began broadcasting in Gisborne in 2002 and was operated under a franchise agreement between The Radio Network and local operator Gisborne Media Centre which at the time operated local stations 89FM and Gisborne City 96FM. Gisborne Media Centre was sold to RadioWorks (which ironically is the largest opposition to The Radio Network) and ZM continued to broadcast under the existing franchise agreement under 2006 when the agreement expired. At this time RadioWorks immediately took ZM off the air and put their competing station The Edge on this frequency. In order to keep ZM on the air in Gisborne The Radio Network relaunched the station on two low powered FM guard band frequencies (107.4 MHz and 107.7 MHz) due to no other frequencies being available in the region.
95-9 ZM Hawkes Bay (Originally 96ZM)
ZM started in 1999 in the Hawke's Bay region on the frequency previously used by Greatest Hits FM96, Better Music 96FM, Classic Rock 96FM and later Radio Hauraki. The origins of this frequency date back to 1989 when a former local station 77ZK, converted to FM. 77ZK originally broadcast on 765 kHz and began life in 1977 as Apple Radio. 77ZK, FM96 and later Classic Rock 96FM all broadcast from studios in Hastings until the mid-1990s when operations were moved to Radio New Zealand's site in Napier. Classic Rock 96FM was rebranded as Radio Hauraki in July 1998, but after less than a year on air, Hauraki was replaced with 96ZM in March 1999. Radio Hauraki was eventually relaunched three months later on 99.9. 95.9ZM Hawkes Bay has always been based from Auckland, and until Dec 2010 had a relay station on 99.7 MHz in Wairoa which had been on air since 1989. On 1 Jan 2011, this transmitter switched to the Hawke's Bay Classic Hits FM programme.
98-8 ZM Taranaki
ZM came to Taranaki in the late nineties broadcasting on 98.8 MHz and originally like other ZM stations all local content was recorded minutes earlier from the Wellington studio until 2000 when ZM switched to a single network with all content coming from Auckland.
96-8 ZM Wanganui
The ZM Network began broadcasting in Wanganui during the middle of 2004.
90-6 ZM Manawatu (Originally 91ZM)
ZM originally commenced transmission to Manawatu on 9 March 1987 on 90.6 MHz. The program was a relay of the Wellington ZMFM station with local commercial breaks and station identification. ZMFM Manawatu also ran its own breakfast show – "Jackson and The Morning Crew" featuring Pete Jackson. In 1989, 90.6 ZMFM re-branded as 2 Double Q, subsequently dropping the relay of ZMFM Wellington and beginning a seven-year absence of the ZM name in Manawatu. The ZM brand did not return to the Manawatu market until 1997 when Classic Rock Q91FM (formerly 2 Double Q) reverted to ZM (as 91ZM). The new ZM programme created in 1997 used a computerised automation system to provide a local programme recorded minutes before from the Wellington studio, this system remained in place until 2000 when ZM switched to a single network.
94-3 ZM Wairarapa
The ZM Network began broadcasting in the Wairarapa region in 2010. The station has not produced any local programming since it was established.
91-1 ZM Kapiti
ZM began broadcasting on its own frequency in the Kapiti region in 2004. The current 'Top of the Hour Station id' actually mentions the Wellington 90.9 frequency despite at one time the two stations running different programmes during the day and different commercials on both stations. Kapiti today still has different commercials to the Wellington station. The strong signal of Wellington's 90.9 ZM can be picked up in southern parts of the Kapiti Coast.
90-9 ZM Wellington
96-8 ZM Nelson (Originally The Planet then 97ZM)
ZM came to Nelson in 2004 replacing a local station owned by The Radio Network The Planet 97FM. Originally The Planet was an independently owned station playing Hot AC music. In 2002 The Radio Network took over The Planet FM and changed the format to match that of ZM and even took on the ZM slogan Today's Hit Music and used similar jingles to ZM. In April 2004 The Planet 97FM became 97ZM with all content coming from the ZM network and The Planet was phased out altogether
90-5 ZM Marlborough
The ZM Network began broadcasting in the Marlborough region in January 2007. The station has not produced any local programming since it was established.
91-3 ZM Christchurch
96-3 ZM South Canterbury
The ZM Network began broadcasting in Timaru and South Canterbury in September 2004.
95-8 ZM Dunedin (Originally 96ZM)
96ZM Dunedin was the very first networked ZM station, the station began broadcasting on 95.8 MHz in June 1996 with a local programme being produced for the Dunedin region by an announcer in the Christchurch studio. This was later done with the Invercargill station resulting in three out of sync stations with the same announcer. With the high amount of talk on the breakfast show breakfast was kept to a single show mostly tailored to the Christchurch audience.
88.8 ZM Queenstown
Launching in May 2014, ZM Queenstown is the newest station of the Network.
95-6 ZM Invercargill (Originally 96ZM)
96ZM Invercargill was launched in the region in 1997 broadcasting on 95.6 MHz with all its local programming being prerecorded from the Christchurch station in the same way to the Dunedin station. With the high amount of talk on the breakfast show breakfast was kept to a single show mostly tailored to the Christchurch audience.
In early December 2010, ZM relaunched its online stream as a new station, rather than relaying an existing station as it had done previously. It became the 20th ZM station to connect to the network in the same way regional markets do. This gave ZMonline its own imaging & commercial options.
Local ads, weather and traffic are removed from the online station (as these are available on demand for every market inside the ZM iPhone and android apps). At the moment through every second commercial break the station plays a song.
ZM have hinted that in the future they may have podcasts or unique content within the commercial breaks on the online stream.
ZM News Service
Like most radio stations in New Zealand ZM originally featured news on the hour every hour originally news was provided by the Radio New Zealand News Service, following the sale of the Radio New Zealand commercial service this became The Radio Network News Service. In 1997 ZM stations began reducing news breaks to only play on the breakfast show, this was at time when some radio stations began increasing the amount of music played in an hour and reducing talk. In 2000 ZM started their own news service called ZM Newsbeat.
The Newsbeat service has a beat in the background followed by a local weather forecast prerecorded from the Auckland studio for each individual region. The bulletins are sourced from the Newstalk ZB newsroom, and air half-hourly between 6 am-9 am weekdays with updates approximately every one hour and thirty minutes between breakfast and drive, and then hourly 4 pm-6 pm weekdays with Georgia Cubbon, and hourly 7 am-noon during the weekend and public holidays with 30 minute weather updates between 7-10am with various announcers. An exclusive Wellington edition of ZM Newsbeat was aired during the Morning Crew's show up until early 2006, when it was dropped for the national edition. In April 2014 Newsbeat was renamed to Newsfeed coinciding with the re-launch of ZM, at the same time the Newsfeed service was introduced on The Hits with the former ZM news readers moved over to The Hits.
Traffic reports are read out on air from The Radio Network Auckland studios for larger regions in New Zealand, voiced by Craig Yarrall, for Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Hamilton, Tauranga and Dunedin. Other stations play advertisements during these times. Wellington originally ran their own local traffic reports until 2006.
Weather is read out on weekdays following news bulletins, and airs on the hour between 7 am-6 pm during weekends. Individual weather reports are pre-recorded for each region and updated with each show. When the Morning Crew were based in Wellington, they read out the Wellington weather live during the breakfast show, while the pre-recorded reports by the newsreader air over the rest of the network.
ZM in the New Zealand Radio Awards
ZM and ZM announcers have won the following awards in recent years:
- Best Client Promotion: ZM's Hot Chicks – Anna Skinner & Christian Boston – ZM Network
- Best Promotional Trailer: Top 100 Of 2011 – Kieran Bell – ZM Network
- Best Client Promotion: 24/7 with The Phoenix XI – Anna Skinner & Casey Sullivan – ZM Wellington
- Best Promotional Trailer: The Timbaland Trip – Chris Nicoll – ZM Network
- Programmer of the Year: Christian Boston – ZM Network
- Station Imaging: ZM Network Imaging – Chris Nicoll – ZM Network
- Best Client Promotion: 0800 New Cops – Leanne Hutchinson and Cam Bisley, ZM Network
- Best Promotional Trailer Live Rent Free - Chris Nicoll, ZM Network
- Programmer of the Year: Christian Boston - ZM Network
- Associated Craft Award: Sarah Catran - ZM and Flava Sales
- Station of the Year - Metropolitan: ZM Auckland (accepted by Programme Director Christian Boston)
- Best Music Breakfast Host or Hosts (Metropolitan): The ZM Morning Crew
- Best Non-Breakfast Host or Hosts (Metropolitan): Stables, ZM Network
- Best Promotion of a Radio Station (Networks): Live Rent Free – Christian Boston & Kate McGowan, ZM Network
- Best Client Promotion: Telecom 3 Minute Hour – Leanne Hutchinson, ZM Network
- Best Promotional Or Image Trailer for a Radio Station: Carrot Fest – Chris Nicoll, ZM
- Also Special Commendation goes to ZM Programme Director, Christian Boston in the category of Programmer of the Year.
- Best New Broadcaster: Sarah Gandy, 91ZM Auckland and ZM Network
- Best Promotional Or Image Trailer for a Radio Station: One Hit Wonder-U2 - Chris Nicoll, ZM Network
- Station Imaging: ZM Network Imaging - Chris Nicoll, ZM
- Commercial or Trailers: One Hit Wonder, U2 - Chris Nicoll, ZM
- Special Commendation went to announcer Sarah Gandy for the ZM Sealed Section in the category Best Daily Or Weekly Series
ZM has used the following slogans in the past:
- Hit Radio ZMFM (Wellington, Christchurch and Manawatu)
- More Music ZMFM (Manawatu only)
- The Music Leader ZMFM (Wellington and Manawatu only)
- 91 Stereo ZM (Christchurch only)
- Rock of the Nineties ZMFM (Wellington only)
- Rock of the Nineties 91ZM (Christchurch only)
- Just Great Music of the 80's and 90's
- Today's Hit Music
- Fletch, Vaughan and Megan & Hot Tunes or NZ's Hit Music
- ZM Is My Station!
- "NZ Radio Awards" (PDF). The RBA. Retrieved 2013-02-26.
- "NZ Radio Awards" (PDF). The RBA. Retrieved 2009-05-13.
- "NZ Radio Awards" (PDF). The RBA. Retrieved 2008-05-08.
- "2007 Radio Award Finalist". RadioStationWorld - New Zealand. Retrieved 2008-05-08.
- "2006 Radio Award Finalist". RadioStationWorld - New Zealand. Retrieved 2008-05-08.
- "2005 Radio Award Finalist". RadioStationWorld - New Zealand. Retrieved 2008-05-08.