NZME is planning to cut shows on The Hits, in a move Stuff understands will gut the station’s regional operations.
The Hits will change from broadcasting local morning shows across the South Island and Hawke’s Bay, to an Auckland-based morning and afternoon schedule, according to those with knowledge of the proposed restructure.
The cuts follow the arrival of Jono Pryor and Ben Boyce, who left The Edge afternoon show at MediaWorks last year to join Radio Hauraki at NZME. But radio bosses at NZME have changed their minds, and will instead use Jono and Ben to facilitate a change from local broadcasting to one national breakfast show on The Hits.
Impacted staff include well known presenters such as Brodie Kane, and long time local broadcasters such as Craig Ferguson in the Southern Lakes and Otago’s ‘Callum and P’ duo.
* NZME in talks to replace local breakfast shows on The Hits with Jono and Ben
* Jono and Ben leave The Edge for Radio Hauraki
* Polly Gillespie and Grant Kereama axed from Auckland The Hits morning show
A spokesman for NZME said plans to change The Hits were still in their “early days”. His comments indicated plans could change. It was also unclear how many jobs would be lost come April, when Jono and Ben’s new show was set to start.
Stuff understands presenters and production staff for The Hits across the South Island were called to meetings and told Jono and Ben’s show would be replacing their local breakfast programmes.
NZME has publicly acknowledged Jono and Ben’s arrival, in a New Zealand Herald story headlined “radio shake-up”. The company said the comedy duo would be replacing the Auckland-based Hits breakfast hosts Toni Street and Sam Wallace (who would join Coast) and Laura McGoldrick (who would move to a different show on The Hits).
But NZME is refusing to confirm or deny that other hosts of The Hits will need to find work elsewhere, or will lose their jobs. When asked about the proposed breakfast show cuts, a spokeswoman for the company said she had “nothing to add”.
The NZME “radio shake-up” is understood to impact seven other presenters at the network, as well as producers and The Hits’ South Island director Ian Avery. Avery declined to comment.
Canterbury hosts Brodie Kane and Dave “Fitzy” Fitzgerald, Adam Green and Megan Banks in Hawke’s Bay, Callum Procter and Patrina Roche in Otago, and Craig Ferguson in Queenstown will all have their shows replaced by Jono and Ben, sources have told Stuff.
Asked about the proposal, Roche said: “Obviously I’m unable to comment.”
Kane said she was unable to comment on “employment issues”.
Other hosts and staff declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comment.
Only a handful of national brands maintain a local schedule. Most South Island regions have their own unique programming on The Hits, before the drive show starts at 3pm.
The other national brands to host local programming are NZME’s Newstalk ZB and MediaWorks’ More FM and The Breeze.
Between 9am and 3pm, many regions across New Zealand have their own unique show on The Hits. Those shows will continue.