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NZME's chief executive officer Michael Boggs on the last year of radio and what's to come

With 2018 coming to an end, StopPress talks to Michael Boggs, NZME's chief executive officer, about the highs of radio in 2018, including on-air and online performance, as well as what's in store for NZME's 2019 offering.

By StopPress Team | December 14, 2018 | Sponsored content

1. What have been the standouts of 2018?

For me it’s hard to go past Newstalk ZB and Mike Hosking* still holding the number one positions for commercial radio. That’s outstanding! Coast has gone from strength to strength to now be the number 1 music station for all people over 30 after a complete regeneration, new line-up and music position launched earlier in the year. Following that closely would be the headway we have made with ZM. Fletch, Vaughan and Megan on breakfast have continued to shine this year and we are really pleased with how Bree and Clint have launched on the new drive show.

I’m really stoked that Leighton Smith from Newstalk ZB is leaving us on such a high, being number one in the Auckland market for his time-slot**. A fantastic 34-year long career that is now moving to a weekly podcast on iHeartRadio.

New Zealand radio is one of the most competitive markets in the world. It shows how the team don’t rest on their laurels and continually push to produce the content our audiences love and engage with.

2. Who/what will be the big thing of 2019?

I am looking forward to seeing how the big changes we have made this year play out. We have changes across most of our stations next year. These include on Newstalk ZB Kerre McIvor taking the reins from Leighton Smith in the morning, along with Simon Barnett and Phil Gifford on afternoons from mid 2019; Mel Homer from Mix joining Jason Tikao on Coast on the afternoon drive home; Jason Pine taking up a permanent morning spot on Radio Sport; and a re-vamped Flava line up with Darryl-Mathew Suasua and Astley Nathan moving to mornings and Athena Angelou and DJ Manchoo on drive.

Of course, we also think the best is still building with some of our recent additions to our NZME line-up. Jason Reeves and Bernadine Oliver-Kirby are going from strength to strength on Coast at breakfast, and we can’t wait to see where ZM’s Bree and Clint take listeners next year.

3. Your iHeartRadio audience has been on the rise with a 19 percent year-on-year increase to just under 820,000 registered users. What do you attribute to its growing popularity?

On iHeartRadio people can listen to their favourite NZME station wherever they are or choose the artist they love for a whole new playlist. At work, on the bus or on a road trip with friends, having that level of portability works for everyone. It’s also great for tuning in to hear the commentary on Radio Sport. There’s something for all kinds of audiences, which our advertisers love when they are trying to target specific groups. 

More than just music, iHeartRadio also offers podcasts. Off the back of our successful Chasing Ghosts and Speaking Secrets podcast series’, we are continuing to invest in podcasts. We have recently launched The Front Page, giving listeners their daily news wrap up for their way home. Some of our radio brands have podcasts of their main shows like Newstalk ZB with the Mike Hosking Breakfast and ZM’s Fletch, Vaughan and Megan. From early 2019 this is also where listeners will find Leighton Smith’s new weekly podcast.

4. With NZME boasting a strong radio, print and online audience, what does the Go Media partnership mean for advertisers?

Adding out-of-home to our suite of platforms across radio, print and digital gives our advertisers more options for reaching their target audience. Go Media have over 1,100 unique out-of-home placement opportunities and couple this with our local stations and newspapers and that is a one-stop strong solution for advertisers.

5. Simon Barnett announced his move to host Newstalk ZB 18 months in advance. How many more days until Barnett joins NZME?

Simon Barnett and Phil Gifford will be joining Newstalk ZB mid-2019. I am so pleased for Simon who is leaving More FM as the number one breakfast in Christchurch – what a fantastic career to date. I am really looking forward to seeing what their afternoon show will bring to Newstalk ZB.

6. What have been the lessons learned in radio this year?

Radio continues to be as relevant today as what it was 20 years ago. As a medium, on average we reached over 3.3 million kiwis every week^. That is a powerful story for radio to tell and for advertisers to learn.

7. What does the radio industry need to continue doing?

Continue to have our amazing talent sharing stories through radio, digital, social, video and events. Being the original social media, radio is an incredible medium with the ability to adapt to new technologies and devices. Again, a great platform for listeners and advertisers.

Source: GfK Radio Audience Measurement, Commercial Radio Stations, Total New Zealand Survey 4 2018 (NB: Waikato Survey 3 2017), Commercial Share (%), Mon-Sun 12mn-12mn, People 10+, unless otherwise stated. Any comparisons made are done with GfK Survey 3 2018, unless otherwise stated.: *Commercial Share (%), Mon-Fri 6-8.30am, People 10+. **Auckland Survey 4 2018, Commercial Share (%), Mon-Fri 8.30am-12pm, People 10+. 

This story is part of content partnership between StopPress and NZME.

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