Newstalk ZB

Newstalk ZB
Newstalk ZB
Broadcast area New Zealand
Frequency List available below
Format News and talk
Owner The Radio Network
Webcast Auckland

Newstalk ZB is a nationwide New Zealand talk radio network operated by The Radio Network of New Zealand (TRN). It is available in almost every radio market in the country, and has news reporters based in many of them. In addition to talkback, the network also broadcasts news, interviews, music, and sports (sometimes in partnership with its sister network Radio Sport).

Most of the network's programming is produced in Auckland, in the Radio Network building on the corner of Cook & Nelson Streets. Wellington and Christchurch produce some local programming and most markets produce their own local news and weather updates.



Newstalk ZB started in 1987 when Auckland's1ZB changed to a talkback format and was originally known as Newstalk 1ZB. During the late eighties and early nineties Radio New Zealand switched many of their local heritage stations to FM but retained the AM frequency in each region running the same programme on both frequencies, however some stations ran separate programmes at certain times(such as talk shows) on the AM frequency. In 1993 and 1994 the local station in each region was rebranded with the Classic Hits name and the AM frequency was used to roll out Newstalk ZB across New Zealand. In Christchurch and Wellington local stations 2ZB and 3ZB changed to a talk format around 1991 and new local stations Goodtime Oldies B90 FM (Wellington) and Goodtime Oldies B98 FM were created. Around 1994 2ZB and 3ZB were rebranded as Newstalk ZB retaining local announcers at first but in recent years as local announcers have left shows have been replaced with network shows. Wellington and Christchurch still have a local show in the mornings between 9 am and 12 pm. In February 1993, in Auckland, Newstalk ZB began broadcasting on 89.4 FM as well as the original 1080 AM when local station 89X (formerly 89FM) ceased to operate, Radio New Zealand purchased this station a year earlier and chose to close it down and use the frequency for Newstalk ZB. The Newstalk ZB nationwide 0800 number (0800 80 10 80) actually comes from the original 1080AM frequency in Auckland that is still in use today.

In 1996 Radio New Zealand sold their commercial operation and Newstalk ZB, along with Classic Hits and ZM, became part of The Radio Network.


Newstalk ZB's talk radio format has been established over a number of years, and its schedule has remained consistently successful, and hence fairly unchanged, since a major relaunch in 1987.


Breakfast on Newstalk ZB is presented by Mike Hosking. The show is made up of news, interviews, commentary, reports and occasionally talkback.

At other times, the show features interviews with the day's newsmakers, guests or Newstalk ZB reporters, as well as Hosking regularly providing comment on the day's issues or happenings.

The show provides news updates every half hour presented by Bernadine Oliver-Kerby and sports updates with Matt Brown. On the half hour, many local markets air a local news segment during a window between national news and sport, and each market broadcasts a local weather forecast. Larger towns also provide traffic reports during the show. Newstalk ZB's stations in Christchurch and Wellington both provide full local bulletins, instead of airing the network bulletins. In Christchurch, local news bulletins are presented by Jo Scott, and Katrina Bennett presents local bulletins in Wellington.

Newstalk ZB's breakfast show has historically had a well-established reputation for news, and has been top-rating for a number of years. Mike Hosking took on the role of breakfast announcer at the start of 2009, taking over the reign of Paul Holmes who presented the show since 1987. The show has consistently remained the highest-rating breakfast programme on commercial radio in New Zealand. Today Paul Holmes remains with Newstalk ZB presenting Saturday mornings.

Until the end of 2008, Christchurch opted out of the nationwide breakfast show, presenting their own local breakfast with John Dunne and Ken Ellis, which topped the ratings regularly. Wellington also aired a local breakfast show, presented by Lindsay Yeo, however this was replaced with the network show in the mid-1990's.


The morning slot on Newstalk ZB is primarily news-related talkback, with some interviews with newsmakers and regular guests. Most stations broadcast a talkback programme with host Leighton Smith.

During this timeslot Wellington broadcasts a programme with Sean Plunket, and Christchurch broadcasts a local talkback show hosted by Mike Yardley. The Christchurch show, then hosted by Ali Jones, was dropped at the end of 2009 and replaced with the network show. After much complaint from listeners and a major drop in listeners The Radio Network decided to bring back a local show to Christchurch. The new show is hosted by Yardley who had hosted the same show on the station in the past.[1]


During the afternoons, between 12:00 pm and 4:00 pm, Danny Watson presents a talkback programme that also includes regular special interest discussions with specialist journalists. Some regions opt out of this show between 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm and instead broadcast The Farming Show, which is produced by TRN's Dunedin studios. These regions are Alexandra, Gisborne, Oamaru, Queenstown, Tokoroa, Wairarapa and Wanaka .

Williams Drive

For three hours between 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm Larry Williams presents a programme on current affairs. There are brief updates of news, local news, sports, weather and traffic every twenty minutes, with longer news updates every hour. Williams also interviews political editor Barry Soper, and offers personal commentary on news issues. Between 6pm and 7pm Larry Williams concentrates on Business matters.


The evening timeslot on Newstalk ZB is almost entirely dedicated to talkback. Between 7.00 pm and 8.00 pm, Murray Deaker, or Willie Lose present an hour of sports-related talkback, known as SportsTalk, simulcast live with Radio Sport. Between 8:00 pm and 12:00 am, the network broadcasts four hours of nationwide talkback, hosted by Kerre Woodham from Monday to Thursday evenings and Bruce Russell on Friday evenings.


Every morning the 12:00 to 5.30 am timeslot features talkback on current affairs, music and hourly news, sports and weather updates. At 5.30 a programme called 5.30 Live airs Monday to Friday which talks with the main centre news people. Saturday it is called "Super Sport Saturday". Sundays sees a garage sale program where listeners can buy, sell any product. The 5½ hour programme has a heavy reliance on audience participation. The programme is presented by Bruce Russell on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings and is a newsreader for the network Saturday nights during Jim Sutton's Nostalgia; and Pat Brittenden does Thursday, Friday & Saturday mornings. Former bFM[disambiguation needed ] host Noelle McCarthy was hosting Thursday through Monday mornings in early 2007 following the resignation of James King, but she resigned due to the "hours taking a toll on her health" but many people believe she was pushed because of negative response from the overnight audience. She was replaced by Pat Brittenden, who until that point was a regular fill-in host on Newstalk ZB. Previous hosts have included James King[disambiguation needed ] who hosted the overnight programme for more than six years until 1 December 2006 when he left to study at Massey University in Wellington; Tim Dower, and Martin Crump, who now works for rival station Radio Live.

Weekends and Holidays

Weekend and public holiday programming on Newstalk ZB is based around lifestyle features, sports coverage and music.

Most Newstalk ZB markets air a local sports show on Saturday mornings.

Saturday and Sunday mornings are dominated by discussions on hobbies and personal life. Paul Holmes presents the Saturday Morning Programme between 9:00 am and 12:00 pm on Saturday mornings, and Kerre Woodham presents a similar programme, called Kerre's Cafe, at the same time on Sunday morning, both featuring interviews and sponsored regular guests segments. From 6:00 am till 7:00, 'best of' shows are played with interviews done by morning hosts during the week. Also on Sunday morning, between 7:00 am and 8:00 am, Ruud Kleinpaste, presents an hour-long gardening programme.

Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin broadcast 'All Sports Breakfast' shows during 6 am and 9am on Saturday mornings.

Wellington runs its own local show known as "The Great Weekender" between 9:00 am – 12:00 pm on Saturdays, and on Sundays,Wellington has the networked show Kerre's cafe. The show previously hosted by Garry Ward for 26 years. The history of this show dates back to 1983 on Wellington's 2ZB and all this time had been hosted Garry Ward. Garry Ward died suddenly on 17 September 2009.

During Saturday afternoon, between 12:00 pm and 6:00 pm, Willie Lose presents ScoreBoard, a combination of live sports updates and commentary and sports-related talkback. The programme, which is usually simulcast on Radio Sport, includes interviews with major New Zealand sports people. Wellington breaks out for a local Scoreboard show, focusing on local sports issues like the Wellington Phoenix and local club sport updates. For over 40 years, Christchurch also broadcast a Scoreboard show for its region, hosted by Malcolm Ellis for over 15 years, however the Christchurch show was discontinued at the end of 2009 due to cost-cutting by The Radio Network and now takes Lose's show with local breakouts twice an hour. Murray Deaker presents a show for the network on Sunday afternoons with a similar format to Saturday Scoreboard, called Deaker on Sunday

On Saturday evenings, a Nostalgia programme is hosted by Jim Sutton, showcasing music from yesteryear is aired from 6pm until midnight.

During Sunday evenings, Jim Sutton again hosts a Nostalgia programme, in a condensed two hour format, playing write-in request music. From 8 pm, a feature "real Life' interviews is hosted by John Cowan and at 9pm Oliver Driver's Almost Monday which airs in place of Sunday Sunday which Petra Bagust & Pat Brittenden hosted. On Holiday evenings, either a Nostalgia programme or extended talkback programme is aired.

During the Christmas and New Year holiday season, the schedule changes, with a single nationwide breakfast show running from 6 am until 9 am, usually hosted by newsreader and fill-in host Tim Dower or normal drive show presenter Larry Williams, followed by a morning shift from 9am until 1pm and an afternoon shift until 6pm, hosted by overnight presenter Bruce Russell. This is followed by a 6 hour evening shift until midnight, hosted by Pat Brittenden. The mornings, afternoon and evening shifts during this time are devoted almost entirely to talkback.

Christchurch Earthquake programming

Following the Christchurch earthquake on 4 September 2010 and the major aftershock on 22 February 2011 programming in Christchurch was greatly affected. After both earthquakes the station broadcast in place of other radio stations in Christchurch operated by The Radio Network, the local studios located in Worcestor Street in Christchurch were evacuated. Local news services in Christchurch were replaced temporarly with the network news feed which mostly contained news stories related to the quake heard by all of New Zealand. Local news readers reported news about the quake for all of New Zealand. The local morning show remained on the air but was broadcast from a temporary location following the first earthquake this was at the Whitebait Studios in Christchurch and after the earthquake in February from a hotel in Christchurch.


Current Hosts

  • Sam Bloore - Overnight Substitute
  • Tim Roxborogh - Overnight Substitute

Former Hosts

  • Oliver Driver - Almost Monday
  • Chris Carter - Afternoons
  • James King - Overnights
  • Nick Robinson - Substitute (Last broadcast on Wed 29 December 2010 at 00:00)
  • Noelle McCarthy - Overnights
  • Petra Bagust - Sunday Sunday, now on TVNZ's Breakfast
  • Tony Veitch - now on Radio Sport
  • John Peachey - Substitute
  • Alf Rose - Overnight


The manager of Newstalk ZB is Dallas Gurney. He is also the manager of sister station Radio Sport and so as such is editor-in-chief of news and sport for The Radio Network.

Newstalk ZB News Centre

Newstalk ZB operates one of the largest news operations in New Zealand, with over 50 newsreaders, reporters and editors nationwide. The four main news hubs are in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Parliament, along with regional newsrooms in Whangarei, Hamilton, Tauranga, Rotorua, Taupo, New Plymouth, Napier, Palmerston North, Nelson, Dunedin and Invercargill.

The Auckland news centre produces live bulletins for the national Newstalk ZB network, as well as local Auckland bulletins at breakfast time. Welington and Christchurch both broadcast live local news bulletins during the breakfast show. The remainder of Newstalk ZB's markets air the live network bulletins, however the regional newsrooms around the country provide each station with local news segmants during the breakfast show.

Network weekday newsreaders include Bernadine Oliver-Kerby (Breakfast), Malcolm Jordan (Mornings), Niva Retimanu (Afternoons), Gary Fox (Evenings/Overnights). Weekend and fill-in newsreaders include Andrew Scott, Joe Gilfillan, Tim Dower, Bruce Russell, Barry Holland, Eric Young and Freda Wylie. Sports newsreaders include Matt Brown, Rikki Swannell, Andrew Alderson, Tony Veitch, Brenton Vannissleroy, Tim Evans and Andy Rowe.

The Newstalk ZB Affiliates Unit is based in the Auckland newsroom, and records a variety of hourly bulletins for other stations of The Radio Network and sells its bulletins to a number of external clients. Lucy Walker and Barry Holland present these bulletins during weekday mornings, with Gary Fox presenting drivetime bulletins. At all other times the main Newstalk ZB Network newsreader also records the Affiliates bulletins. On the internet, The Affiliates Unit also provides a continuously-updated wire service of text articles and streaming audio of Newstalk ZB's stories for websites such as XtraMSN, TelstraClear, NZ City and the New Zealand Rugby Union.

Newstalk ZB also supplies a news wire service to Prime TV, Sky TV and TVNZ.

Timesaver Traffic

Newstalk ZB also operates its own Timesaver Traffic Centre, which produces and records traffic information to all stations in The Radio Network. The centre in Auckland records reports for 6 different areas around the country - Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin. All of The Radio Network's stations in these markets air these reports every 15 minutes during peak times(breakfast & drive), with Newstalk ZB and Classic Hits airing reports hourly right throughout the day and weekends.

During weekends and public holidays, the Timesaver Traffic Team also record a 30-second "Weatherwatch" forecast for each of TRN's 26 markets across the country. Some markets choose to use these tracks for the local Newstalk ZB forecast, and other stations such as Easy Mix and Radio Sport use these forecasts and network them by satellite to play simultaneously in each market on the station.



  1. ^ "Cantabs win war with radio station". 

External links

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