The Hits (New Zealand)

The Hits
City 25 markets
Broadcast area New Zealand
Slogan All Your Favourite Hits
Frequency 89.1 FM - 106.1 FM
First air date 1993 (1993)
Format Hot adult contemporary
Language(s) English language
Audience share 282,000 weekly listeners (2014, TNS Q2[1])
Transmitter coordinates 36°50′49″S 174°45′54″E / 36.847°S 174.765°E / -36.847; 174.765Coordinates: 36°50′49″S 174°45′54″E / 36.847°S 174.765°E / -36.847; 174.765
Former callsigns 1ZM in Auckland
Owner New Zealand Media and Entertainment
Webcast 18 webcasts via iHeartRadio

The Hits (formerly known as Classic Hits) is an Hot adult contemporary music radio network, broadcasting to 25 markets across New Zealand. It was set up by Government broadcaster Radio New Zealand in 1993 by consolidating existing stations into a single brand and has been privately owned since 1996. The Hits has had the broadest broadcast reach of any radio network in the country since 1996,[2] and is now available on 40 full-power FM frequencies and 18 iHeartRadio streams.[3][4]

Most of the individual stations started out as local AM stations owned by state broadcaster Radio New Zealand. Many have given a platform to broadcasting names like Selwyn Toogood, Paul Holmes, Peter Sinclair, Jenny-May Coffin and Jason Gunn.[5] John "Boggy" McDowell was an announcer on the Southland station for 33 years.[6] Despite a major reduction in local programmes since 1993, most stations still have a local three-hour breakfast programme or a six-hour daytime programme.[3]

An estimated 282,000 people listen to The Hits every week, including 85,000 people in Auckland region.[1][7] The network targets 25- to 54-year-old homeowners, socially-active parents and price-conscious household shoppers.[8] In April 2014, the network re-branded from Classic Hits to The Hits to attract more younger listeners.[9] Later that year, it came under the ownership of New Zealand Media and Entertainment.[10]


Early years

Classic Hits unofficially began in Auckland in 1987 when 1ZM (also known as 1251ZM at the time) changed music format to play "classic hits" music and branding was changed to Classic Hits Twelve Fifty One. In 1989 Auckland's Classic Hits moved to FM, becoming Classic Hits 97FM. The ZM station that exists in Auckland today is a new station created in 1997 to replace Magic 91FM.[11][12]

Other stations in the Classic Hits group began as local commercial stations owned by the Government-owned Radio New Zealand, at a time when the New Zealand Government had a monopoly on the New Zealand radio market. In some regions, the station that would eventually become The Hits, was the only available radio station in that region. By the early 1990s, Radio New Zealand had switched most of their stations to FM but retained the stations original AM frequency for coverage in areas where the FM frequency could not be reached or for listeners with an AM only radio. The AM frequency was utilized for talkback and specialist shows in addition to the regular programming on the FM frequency. To cut costs and prepare the stations for commercial sale, Radio New Zealand began rebranding AM stations to Newstalk ZB and rebranding the FM stations as Classic Hits. The Classic Hits stations originally retained their heritage identity until 2009, and used a uniform green diamond logo until June 2011.[13]

The first group of the stations adopted the brand in late 1993 or early 1994. Waikato's 1ZH became Classic Hits ZHFM, Bay of Plenty's 1ZD Radio BOP became Classic Hits BOP FM, Rotorua's Geyserland FM became Classic Hits Geyserland FM, Radio Taranaki became Classic Hits Taranaki FM, and Hawke's Bay's Bay City Radio became Classic Hits Bay City Radio. Similar names were adopted by Radio Northland, Radio Nelson, South Canterbury's Radio Caroline, Dunedin's 4ZB and Southland's 4ZA.. Wellington Goldtime Oldies B90FM and Christchurch's Goldtime Oldies B98FM also rebranded as Classic Hits but retained the stations oldies format playing music from the 1960s and 1970s, all other Classic Hits stations at the time were playing music from the 1960s to current 1990s hits. Programming remained local on all stations between 6am and 7pm with a networked night show originally based in Hamilton and with Hamilton advertising, at this stage Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch were still local 24 hours a day. In 1995 the night show was moved to Auckland.[12][14]


In July 1996 the New Zealand Government sold off the commercial arm of Radio New Zealand, which included, among other things, the Classic Hits brand. The new owner was The Radio Network, a subsidiary of APN News & Media and Clear Channel Communications, which operated as a division of the Australian Radio Network.[15] The company expanded its reach with new purchases, converting most of its local stations to the Classic Hits brand.[16][17]

The new business controlled 60% of the radio advertising market in November 1998 and more than half the market in 2002.[18][19] However, in response to increased competition and falling market share, it looked for ways to cut costs. In its early years Classic Hits broadcast live local programmes in every region from Monday to Saturday, taking Auckland network programmes at night and on Sundays. In 1998 it reduced local programming to four hours a day in all regions except Christchurch, and introduced new network shows for mornings and afternoons. As Christchurch announcers left, their shows were also replaced with network programmes.[18]

Network programming

In 1998 local programming on almost all Classic Hits stations was reduced down to a 4 hour breakfast show between 6am and 10am. By using new satellite networking technology, Classic Hits stations were able to have local shows at breakfast time, and have network shows presented from the Classic Hits Auckland studios with local advertisements, weather forecasts and breakouts at other times of the day. The local stations remained commercially viable in otherwise unviable markets and the network was able to invest in its brand and programmes. The company was able to leverage its reach for national advertising clients, including agency campaigns. At this stage Classic Hits 98FM in Christchurch was exempt from these changes and continued to run local shows 24 hours a day. Local content was also retained in Auckland as network presenters began presenting separate voice breaks for local Auckland listeners.[20][21]

Also in 1998 all of The Radio Network's remaining local stations formed the Community Radio Network. Each station retained its local brands and breakfast shows, but took network programmes from Lakeland FM in Taupo at other times of the day. South Canterbury's Radio Caroline left Classic Hits to join the new network. Other stations included Lakeland FM, Whanganui's River City Radio, Tokoroa's Radio Forestland, Radio Wairarapa, Marlborough's Radio Marlborough, the West Coast's Radio Scenicland and Ashburton's 3ZE. In 2001 the stations were rebranded as Classic Hits, giving Classic Hits the broadest reach of any station in the country.[2] A new Southern Lakes station was introduced in Queenstown in 2005, and the Radio Waitomo station in Te Kuiti closed down.[22]

In 2008, stations dropped heritage titles from their names. In 2009, a network breakfast show was introduced for King Country and for other markets when local hosts were away. In 2010, the King Country station was scrapped and local weekend breakfast shows were replaced with network shows. In late 2010, highlights of Christchurch and Wellington breakfast shows began to be broadcast during the weekend breakfast timeslot. Classic Hits Southland retained a local breakfast show with an unpaid announcer, and Dunedin produced a highlights show.[22][23]

In 2012 local breakfast shows were cut back one hour, and the networked morning and afternoon shows were shortened to make way for a new drive show with Jason Gunn and Dave Fitzgerald from the Christchurch studio. The remaining local Saturday breakfast shows in Manawatu and Southland were also cut.[22]

Transition to The Hits

On 4 April 2014 the National Business Review reported Pauline Gillespie and Grant Kareama were planning to move from ZM to a new network show on Classic Hits. The newspaper's source claimed 20 breakfast announcers would be made redundant.[24][25] This followed a period of declining Auckland and national market share.[19][26] On 15 April The Radio Network confirmed Classic Hits would become The Hits, and on 28 April the change took effect. The Classic Hits brand ended at midnight the previous evening, and The Hits brand was used from breakfast that morning. The first song played under the new format was Best Day of My Life by American Authors.[27]

Pauline Gillespie and Grant Kareama took over the network breakfast programme.[28] Most stations scrapped their local breakfast shows in favour of the new show, moving breakfast announcers to new daytime slot.[29] Others kept their breakfast shows, and continued taking network morning and afternoon shows.[9] Stations began taking a single network programme when hosts were away, and many local breakfast co-hosts took on other roles within the company or found other jobs.[30] The network's parent company, The Radio Network, became part of New Zealand Media and Entertainment in October 2014.[10]


Historic playlists

Classic Hits was named for its classic hits format, and the original Auckland station promoted itself as "The best of the 1960s, 1970s and the 1980s". When other stations started joining the network from 1993, they continued to create their own playlists. Regional stations retained a broad range of music, using the slogan "All the Hits from the 1960s to the 1990s". The Wellington and Christchurch stations played only music from the 1960s and 1970s, using the taglines "Good Time Oldies" and A Better Music Mix".[31]

In 1996, regional stations dropped music from the 1960s and adopted the slogan "From the Nineties to the Seventies". In 1998, the Auckland and Wellington stations followed suit and a shared network playlist was rolled out. Classic Hits was the station of the "Hits of the 70s, 80s and 90s" from 1998, and the station of the "Hits of the 70s, 80s, 90s and Today" from 2000.[31] The network dropped music from the 1970s in 2005, becoming the station of "80s, 90s and Whatever". It added more current hits in 2007, becoming the station of the "80s, 90s and now". It dropped more music from the 1980s in 2011, becoming the station of the "80s, 90s, today".[22]

Current playlist

Since 2014, the network has had an adult contemporary playlist mostly from the 2000s and 2010s. It used the tagline "All the Hits, All the Time" in 2014, and the tagline "All Your Favourite Hits" in 2015. Many of its tracks are from top 40 stars, like Coldplay, Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith and George Ezra.[32]

The network plays a range of New Zealand music, giving promotion and airtime to Brooke Fraser, Benny Tipene, Lorde, Kimbra, Jason Kerrison, Ruby Frost, Anika Moa and Avalanche City.[33] However, it has been criticised for giving most of its airtime to American music.[34]


The Hits run a standard breakfast, daytime, drive and night schedule with breakfast running between 6:00am and 9:00am daytime programming between 9:00am and 3:00pm (with some markets running 2 shorter shows during this time), drive show between 3:00pm and 7:00pm and a 7:00pm to midnight night show.[3] The network broadcasts music, commentary and celebrity interviews.[35] Some hosts have also carried out on-air stunts or recorded parody songs.[36][37]


The Polly and Grant Show, a live networked breakfast show presented by Pauline Gillespie and Grant Kareama, is broadcast from Wellington, this show is currently heard in 21 markets. A highlights package of Polly and Grant is broadcast across every station from 05:00.[3] News, sport and weather scoured from the NZME newsroom is heard every 30 minutes, read out by Ash Thomas, and traffic reports is broadcast every 15 minutes. Former newsreaders include Alison Leonard (2004-2007), Melanie Homer (2007-2010) and Glen Stuart (2011-2014).[22] A local breakfast show can still be heard in Southland, Queenstown and Central Otago, Dunedin, Taranaki and Hawkes Bay, these stations with local breakfast shows take network programming after 9am.


Since the rebrand to The Hits in 2014 most markets now run a local 6 hour daytime show between 9am and 3pm, in some cases the local show is spread across two markets, for example the same announcer presents a local show for Taupo and Rotorua.

Between 9am and 12pm a weekday morning show presented by Sarah Gandy can be heard in 7 markets, this show is presented from the Auckland studios with the announcer producing a local voice break for Auckland listeners. Dave Fitzgerald presents the second half of the weekday show between 12pm and 3pm, this show is presented from the Christchurch studios with the announcer producing a local voice break for Auckland and Christchurch listeners.[3] Murray Lindsay hosted the daytime show for 16 years, from 1997 to 2012.[22]

Other programmes

The Hits drive show is hosted by Stacey Morrision and Paul Flynn and with producer Jason Tikao .[38][39] The show was previously hosted by Pat Courtenay (1998-1999), Andrew Dickens (1999-2000), Grant Bailey (2000-2003), Mark Bunting (2003-2007), Jason Reeves (2007–2010), Jason Gunn (2012-2013), Justin Brown (2014) and Guy Parsons (2014).[22] The station's night show is hosted by Estelle Clifford, with local voice-breaks for Auckland listeners.[3] Former hosts include Peter Sinclair (1993-1997), Andy Dye (1998-1999), Gael Ludlow (2001-2002), Dene Young (2003-2004), Dave Smart (2004-2007), Will Johnston (2007-2008) and Heemi Katene-Hill (2008-2009).[22]

Weekend mornings are hosted by Peter Dakin, and weekend afternoons feature a rotation of Estelle Clifford, Jason Tikao, Dave Fitzgerald and Guy Parsons ,Dangerous Dave . Party Mix, a commercial-free, announcer-free party music show, plays on Saturdays and public holidays. Sunday nights are hosted by Blair Dowling, and the network is automated overnight.[3] Previous weekend hosts include Pat Brittenden (2007-2009), Luke Taplin (2010-2011), Mike Plant (2010 - 2012), Andy Mac (2012-2014) and Guy Parsons (2011-2012).[22]


This map shows the distribution of the New Zealand population, and the location of The Hits stations.


The Hits is covered through the Northland region using four frequencies – 96.4FM in the Far North, 106.1FM in the Bay of Islands, 96.4FM in the Mid North and 95.6FM in Whangarei.

Originally known as Radio Northland and broadcasting on 1026 and 1215 AM with the call sign 1ZN, the station moved to 96FM in Whangarei during the late 1990s.

The station is located on Bank Street, Whangarei. Charmaine Soljak presents the local weekday show between 9am and 3pm.

Auckland 97.4FM

The Hits 97.4 is the flagship of the brand. The majority of the network announcers are based here.

The station is located at NZME Radio headquarters on the corner of Cook and Nelson Streets in Auckland. The Auckland station no longer has any shows that are heard exclusively in Auckland however the announcers based in Auckland produce two voice breaks, a local voice break for Auckland mentioning Auckland frequency and region specific information for Auckland and a separate voice break for the rest of the country tailored to a national audience.

Waikato 98.6FM

Originally Waikato's 1ZH this station was first started in 1949 broadcasting on 1310 AM. The station moved to 1296 AM in 1978. On air names included 1300 1ZH and Hits and Memories 1ZH during the 1980s.

The station became 98.6 ZHFM on 25 May 1990 when the station switched to FM. The Classic Hits name was actually used on a bumper sticker as well as A Better Music Mix before the station was re branded as Classic Hits ZHFM in 1993. The 98.6 ZHFM frequency can also be heard in Tauranga, the outskirts of Auckland and in a number of places in Northland due to its high power and the high elevation of its transmission site.

Mark Bunting joined the station in 2000 as the breakfast host, and moved to Classic Hits Auckland to present the Drivetime show over the entire Classic Hits network between 2003 and 2006. He moved back to the Waikato breakfast show in 2007.

Mark Bunting continued presenting breakfast following the rebrand to The Hits but had actually tendered his resignation and announced a pending move to opposition The Breeze in Waikato.[40] Bunting left The Hits a week after the launch of the station and the networked breakfast was put in place of this show. Sunday night announcer Blair Dowling was moved from Auckland to Hamilton to produce a local show between 9am to 3pm.

The station is located on Hardley Street in Hamilton Central.

South Waikato 97.3FM

Originally known as 1ZO or Radio Forestland on 1413 am in the 1980s and 1990s, then 'Classic Hits Radio Forestland' before switching to FM in 2006. The station was part of the Classic Hits Community Radio Network.

The station used to have its own local breakfast show, but in 2012 this was replaced with the Waikato breakfast show hosted by Mark Bunting with local advertising. Following the rebrand to The Hits the station now has the same programming as Waikato

Despite no local shows, the station still has a local office located on Bridge Street in Tokoroa.

Bay of Plenty 95.0FM

Originally 1ZD Radio B.O.P. broadcasting on 1008 AM. The station moved to 95.0FM around 1990 becoming 95 B.O.P. FM. The station was rebranded as Classic Hits in 1993. The Hits 98.6FM Hamilton can also be heard in Tauranga.

The station is located on Harrington Street in Tauranga City. Will Johnston presents the local week day between 9am and 3pm.

Rotorua 97.5FM

Originally known as Radio Geyserland on 1350 AM. The station moved to FM in 1988 and became known as 97.5 Geyserland FM. When the station was rebranded as Classic Hits in 1993 the name Geyserland was no longer used on air, however it still appeared on the station's logo at the time of rebranding. The Hits in Rotorua also broadcasts on 90.9FM to the Reporoa, Broadlands, Ngakuru and Waikite Valley areas.

The station is located on Fenton Street in Rotorua City. Paul Hickey presents the local daytime show between 9am and 3pm, this show can also be heard in Taupo.

Taupo 96.8FM

Originally known as Radio Lakeland, broadcasting on 1494 am in Taupo and 1386 am in Turangi. The station moved to 96.7FM in 1988 and was then known as Lakeland FM. For a short time a second frequency served Turangi on 89.6, and later 92.4 but was discontinued.

Lakeland FM was the host of the Community Radio Network, a network established between community radio stations then operated by The Radio Network. Outside of the breakfast show, all Community Radio Network stations received content from the Lakeland FM studio. In 2001 all the Community Radio Network stations joined up with Classic Hits, with all programming outside of breakfast now coming from Auckland. At this point Lakeland FM became known as Classic Hits Lakeland FM.

Following the rebrand to The Hits the local breakfast was dropped and now the station has the same local daytime show as Rotorua.

Despite no local shows, the station still has a local office located on Paora Hapi Street in Taupo.

Gisborne 90.9FM

Originally known as 2XG on 1010 am, then 'The Coaster 2ZG' on 945 AM, before moving to 90.9FM, and later being rebranded as Classic Hits 90.9.

The station is located on the corner of Grey Street and Childers Road in Gisborne. Connor Ruston presents the local daytime show between 9am and 3pm.

Taranaki 90FM

The Hits in Taranaki originates from 2ZP Radio Taranaki, which broadcast on 1053 am in New Plymouth and 1557 am in Hawera (as 2ZH). Around 1992, the station began simulcasting on 90.0FM which was previously occupied by its sister station 'Q90FM'. It was then known as '90FM Radio Taranaki' before becoming Classic Hits 90FM in 1993.

Previous breakfast host for 15 years, Barney (Brent Procter) retired from broadcasting as of 20 December 2013.

The station is located in Broadcasting House on the corner of Powderham and Brougham Streets in New Plymouth Central. Taranaki has a local breakfast show between 6am and 9am presented by Adam Green and Eryn Deverson. From 9am all programming is networked.

Hawke's Bay 89.5

Originally known as 2ZC or Bay City Radio broadcasting on 1280AM, later 1278 am, since 1 October 1957, the station moved to 89.5FM in 1994 and it became 'Classic Hits 89FM - Bay City Radio'. In 2002, the station's name was altered to 'Classic Hits 89.5 - Bay City Radio'. From 1 January 2011, the station began a relay station in Wairoa on 99.7FM.

This station broadcasts from the famous Broadcasting House building on the corner of Dickens & Dalton Streets in Napier – one of only two central city building's left standing following the 1931 Napier Earthquake. Hawkes Bay has a local breakfast show between 6am and 9am presented by Martin Good and Sarah Van Der Kley. From 9am all programming is networked.

Manawatu 97.8FM

Originally known as 2ZA and broadcasting on 940AM, later 927 am, the station began simulcasting on 97.8FM in the early 1990s under the name 'AM-FM 2ZA'. Soon after the station was relaunched as 'The New 98FM'. 98FM eventually joined the Classic Hits network, but due to the 'Classic Hits' name already being used by an opposition station within the same market, 98FM was forced to adopt the name 'Greatest Hits 98FM'. Presumably, as a result of an agreement or settlement between the two companies, the opposition station dropped the 'Classic Hits' slogan and 98FM became 'Classic Hits 97.8'. Later, after more than 5 years of not using it, part of the 2ZA call sign was returned when the station became Classic Hits 97.8 ZAFM.

Manawatu initially lost all local programming following the rebrand to The Hits. Originally the station took the networked daytime shows but now has the same local daytime show as Whanganui.

Despite no local shows the station is located on Main Street in Palmerston North.

Whanganui 89.6FM

Originally known as 2XA this station began broadcasting in Whanganui in October 1949 on 1200AM. The station was later renamed to 2ZW and moved to 1197 am in 1978. The station was renamed to River City Radio in 1988 and 89.6 River City FM in 1993 after the station began broadcasting on 89.6FM. In 2001 the station became Classic Hits River City FM after joining the Classic Hits network.

The station is located on the corner of Guyton and Campbell Streets, Whanganui. Darryl Mallett presents the local daytime show between 9am and 3pm, this show can also be heard in Manawatu.

Kapiti-Horowhenua 92.7FM

Originally Classic Hits broadcast on 89.4FM as a relay of Classic Hits 90FM in Wellington, this station broadcast on 89.4 as far back as 1991 when the station was 2ZB and later B90FM. In 2001 this relay was dropped and replaced with Newstalk ZB. Classic Hits made a return to the Kapiti area in 2004 on 92.7FM a frequency previously used by Sports Roundup/Radio Sport. Programming on the new station was separate to Classic Hits 90FM in Wellington with the station presenting its own local breakfast. However in 2009 this local breakfast show was dropped and replaced with Wellington's Classic Hits breakfast show. Following the rebrand to The Hits the Kapiti station takes the same local shows as Wellington.

Despite no local shows, the station still has a local office on Kapiti Road, Paraparaumu.

Wairarapa 90.3FM

Originally known as 2XB this station was first started in March 1958 broadcasting on 840AM. The stations call sign was changed to 2ZD in 1968 and in 1978 the station moved to 846 am. The station was known on air during the 1980s and 1990s as Radio Wairarapa before becoming 90.1 Wairarapa FM in 1999, when the station began broadcasting on 90.1FM. In 2001 the station was rebranded as Classic Hits Wairarapa. The broadcast frequency was changed to 90.3FM in October 2010.

As of 2013 the station no longer has any locals show from 2013 the station took the same breakfast show as Wellington and following the rebrand as The Hits all shows are networked.

Despite no local shows, the station still has a local office on Church Street, Masterton.

Wellington 90.1FM

Originally an FM repeater for Wellington's 2ZB (89.8FM) in the early 1990s, the station was then relaunched as 'Goodtime Oldies B90FM' which also broadcast to the Kapiti Coast on 89.4. The station ran a 60s and 70s music format which originated from the Wellington studio and took no network programming. Around 1996, B90FM became 'Classic Hits 90FM' and an adjustment was made to the station's frequency, shifting from 89.8 to 90.0FM. Unlike the rest of the Classic Hits network, 90FM ran with a "60s, 70s and 80s" format, whereas all other Classic Hits stations (with the exception of Auckland and Christchurch) were playing "70s, 80s and 90s". Programming continued to originate from Wellington until 1998 when local shows succumbed to network programming. The Kapiti Coast repeater was eventually dropped and replaced with Newstalk ZB. On 27 October 2010, the station shifted frequencies to 90.1FM, to comply with Government broadcasting regulations.

The station is located on the Corner of Taranaki and Abel Smith Streets, in Central Wellington.

Breakfast announcers Polly and Grant present the network breakfast show from Wellington. Polly and Grant had previously presented a top rating show on Wellington's ZMFM from the 1980s, this became a nationwide show on ZM in 2001 still presented from Wellington. Guy Parsons presents the local daytime show between 9am and 12pm followed by David Rybinski between 12pm and 3pm.

Nelson 89.6FM

Originally an FM simulcast of 'Radio Nelson' (also on 1341 am), this station later became part of the Classic Hits family and was known as Classic Hits 90FM. The station broadcast to Nelson City on 89.8 and to the wider area (including Motueka and Takaka) on 90.4. There is also an AM relay in Golden Bay on 1269 am. More recently, 90FM was known as 'Classic Hits 89.8 and 90.4' but this name was dropped in late 2006 after the 90.4 frequency was shifted to 89.8 (in synchronous transmission with the Nelson City outlet). This left Nelson launching Radio Hauraki on 90.6FM in early 2007.

The Classic Breakfast was hosted by Kent Robertson until his last show, on Friday 12 October 2012.

The station is located on Selwyn Place in Nelson City. As of 2015 the Nelson station now carries the same local programming as Marlborough.

Marlborough 96.9FM

Originally branded as Radio Marlborough, this station was first launched in 1965 as 2ZE broadcasting on 1540AM. The station moved to 1539 am in 1978 and then became Radio Marlborough. A relay to Picton was also established in 1981, also on 1539 am, but in 1993 moved to 1584 am. Radio Marlborough began broadcasting on 96.9FM in 1991. The station became Classic Hits Radio Marlborough in 2001 and at the same time the AM frequency was used to launch Radio Sport in the Marlborough region.

The station is located in Cavalier House on Market Street, Blenheim. The main transmitter is located in the Wither Hills, 4 km south-southwest of Blenheim, with a second transmitter broadcasting on 89.1FM in the Picton area. Scott Radovanovich presents the local daytime show between 9am and 3pm, this show can also be heard in Nelson.

West Coast

Formerly known as Radio Scenicland, on 747 AM in Greymouth (callsign 3ZA), 1287 AM in Westport (callsign 3ZW) and 1521 AM in Reefton (callsign 3ZR), this station was part of the Community Radio Network. The station later became known as Scenicland FM after moving to the FM band, then joined the Classic Hits network around 2001. Today the station can be heard on 90.9FM in Westport, 97.3FM in Reefton, 90.7 & 93.1FM in Greymouth and 90.5FM in South Westland.

Israel Bai presents the local daytime show between 9am and 3pm.

Christchurch 97.7FM

Originally known as "B98FM - The Best Music Mix" in the early 1990s, this station was rebranded as 'Goodtime Oldies B98FM' several years later, taking on an oldies music format. By the mid 1990s, the name was altered to 'Classic Hits B98FM', then again to 'Classic Hits 98FM' and finally 'Classic Hits 97.7'. This was the only Classic Hits station to not have its local programming reduced to 4 hours in 1998. It remained live and local 24 hours a day until 2002, operating independently from the rest of the Classic Hits network. In 2003 the station began reducing local content to air during the daytime only, and as announcers left the station, reduced even further. From 2006 the only local content was the breakfast show, as with other Classic Hits stations at the time. The station was located on Worcester Street, Central Christchurch in the former TVNZ studio building. However, due to the devastating earthquake on 22 February 2011, the studio moved temporarily to Riccarton Road, Christchurch. The station is now located on a new purpose-built facility on Midas Place, Middleton, Christchurch.

Until Friday 20 July 2012, the local breakfast show was hosted by Jason Gunn and Dave Fitzgerald. From 23 July 2012 Jason and Dave moved to broadcasting a nationwide Drive show between 4 pm and 7 pm broadcast from the Classic Hits Christchurch studios to all of New Zealand. Jason and Dave also pre-recorded a show for the nationwide network to air on Saturday mornings, featuring the best bits from their show each week, but this was later axed in November 2013. At the end of 2013 Jason left Classic Hits and in 2014 a new afternoon show was started presented by Dave Fitzgerald and Guy Parsons still from Christchurch.

Prior to the rebranding to The Hits the local breakfast show was hosted by AJ Funnell, Chloe Emirali and Andy Ellis. With the changeover to The Hits, AJ Funnell was moved to present a local show between 9am and 12pm and Dave Fitzgerald presented a network show from Christchurch but at the same time separate voice breaks are recorded for a local Christchurch audience. As of 2016 Dave Fitzgerald presents a local show between 9am and 12pm followed by his network show.

Ashburton 89.3FM

Originally known as 3ZE on 873 AM, this station was part of the Classic Hits Community Radio Network. The station began broadcasting on 92.5FM in 2001 and became known as Classic Hits 92.5 ZEFM. Additional frequencies on 89.3FM and 96.5FM were later added.

When the station was rebranded The Hits, previous breakfast announcer Phil Hooper was shifted to the 9 am–3 pm slot. However, due to listener dissatisfaction with the changes, The Hits' parent company, The Radio Network, opted to launch the Gore based Hokonui brand into Ashburton on the 92.5FM frequency. At the same time The Hits local announcer Phil Hooper was moved to Hokonui to present a local breakfast for an Ashburton audience with all other programming on Hokonui originating from Southland or Dunedin. The Hits continued to broadcast in Ashburton on 89.3FM but now with complete network programming. The Hits 96.5FM frequency was also reassigned to Radio Hauraki in 2014.

Despite having no local shows, the station still has an office in Somerset House, Ashburton.

South Canterbury 94.7FM/98.7FM

Originally Radio Caroline broadcasting on 1160AM with the call sign 3XC from January 1949. In 1978 the station moved to 1152AM and changed call sign to 3ZC.

The station joined the Classic Hits network in 1995, originally as Classic Hits 99FM. In 1998 the station was dropped from the Classic Hits network and became part of the Community Radio Network as South Canterbury's 99FM. At this stage programming was reduced to a local breakfast show, and outside this time all programming came from the Community Radio Network studio in Taupo. In 2001 all Community Radio Network stations became part of Classic Hits, and as a result the station rejoined the Classic Hits network as Classic Hits 98.7. At the same time the 1152 AM frequency was reassigned to Newstalk ZB.

In 2005 the station began broadcasting on 94.7FM as well as the existing 98.7FM frequency; as a result the station became known as Classic Hits 98.7 and 94.7. The station is located on North Street in Timaru. The former Sophia Street studios were demolished to make way for car parking.

Following the rebrand to The Hits the former breakfast announcer Sam Wilson was moved to present the 9am - 3pm show. Later in 2014 The Hits Waitaki announcer Josh McIntyre took over this show broadcasting the same show to both Timaru and Oamaru listeners.

Oamaru 98.4FM

Originally known as 'Radio Waitaki' on 1395 am, then as 'Classic Hits 98.4 Waitaki FM' after they converted to FM. The 'Waitaki' name was later dropped from most station identification and the station was then known as 'Waitaki's Classic Hits 98.4'.

Following the rebrand to The Hits the breakfast announcer Josh McIntyre was moved to present the local 9 am – 3 pm show but later in 2014 Josh was moved to The Hits Timaru in the same time slot presenting the same show to both Timaru and Oamaru listeners.

Oamaru now shares the same local programming as Timaru. Despite no local shows the station is located on Thames Street in Oamaru.

Southern Lakes

A newer member of The Hits Network, this station launched in 2005 as Classic Hits Southern Lakes. The station covers Queenstown on 90.4FM, Wanaka on 96.2FM and Alexandra on 99.9FM.

The station is based on Earl Street, Queenstown. Craig 'Ferg' Ferguson presents a local breakfast show between 6am and 9am followed by networking programming for the remainder of the day.

Dunedin 89.4FM

Originally known as 4ZB on 1044AM, then ZBFM on 89.4FM when the station switched to FM in 1990. ZBFM joined the Classic Hits network in 1993 under the name 'Classic Hits 89FM' which was later changed to 'Classic Hits 89.4'.

The station is located on Albany Street. A local breakfast show is presented by Callum Procter and Patrina Roche between 6am and 9am. This is followed by networked programming from 9am.

Southland 98.8FM

This station was originally Southland's 4ZA on 864AM. After converting to FM in the early 1990s, the station was known as 'Southland's 4ZA 98.8FM' for some time before joining the Classic Hits network as 'Classic Hits ZAFM'. The station also broadcasts in Te Anau on 90.4FM.

Previously the breakfast show was hosted by John "Boggy" McDowell. Boggy started on the 4ZA breakfast show on 1 June 1979 and remained presenting this show until 21 December 2012. Local news and sport was read by Malcolm Gayfer until the end of 2012. A local news service is no longer available. Malcolm Gayfer was with the station for 25 years and for a time was Boggy's co-host.

The station is located on the corner of Don and Deveron Streets, Invercargill. A local breakfast show is presented by James McRobie and Liv McBride between 6am and 9am, this is followed by networked programming from 9am.

Other services

Events and promotions

Boh Runga performing at the Acoustic Winery Tour, an event which Classic Hits has sponsored.

The Hits runs a range of promotions, from activities at shops and gyms to giveaways of cars and travel.[41][42] It is the official radio network of the Silver Ferns netball squad, the Fast5 Netball World Series and local community netball tournaments. In 2014 and 2015, it was the official network of the ANZ Championship Northern Mystics, Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic, Central Pulse, Canterbury Tactix and Southern Steel teams.[43][44] Ticket giveaways and player interviews are broadcast on-air.[45]

Classic Hits has sponsored touring artists, local events and national music tours. Between 2012 and 2014, for example, it secured naming rights to the Acoustic Church Tour and Winery Tour events featuring artists like Anika Moa, Boh Runga, Hollie Smith, Gin Wigmore, The Exponents, Stan Walker and Breaks Co-Op.[46][47][48] Local stations have been involved in marathons, airshows, street races, and Christmas celebrations.[49][50][51][52] They have also sponsored velodromes, driving ranges and public health campaigns.[53][54][55]

Some stations in The Hits network support local branches of the Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.[56] In 2015 the network hosted a live video feed of kittens from Auckland SPCA, as part of a nationwide campaign to promote cat adoption.[57] It was accompanied by cat adoption drives at local SPCAs.[58]

News and information

The Hits broadcasts its own news and sport bulletins on weekdays drawing from NZME resources, and broadcasts bulletins from Newstalk ZB on weekends. The stations feature regular traffic information, including TimeSaver Traffic updates in Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.[59][60] Community notices and cancellations are also broadcast on a daily basis.[61][62]

Local hosts often editorialise about local events, politicians and organisations.[63][64] Some hosts been elected to local councils or have been the focus for political campaigns.[65][66] Some have also been the subject of on-air abuse by hosts on rival stations, being described as "fuckwits" or a "catty bitch".[65][67]

The network is one of New Zealand's five nationwide civil defence broadcasters.[68] Some local stations have performed this role during emergencies,[69][70] and others have committed to do so if emergencies occur.[71][72] The Christchurch station provided updates during the 2010 Canterbury earthquake, and continued broadcasting from a temporary studio in a motel room when its studio was damaged in the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.[73][74]

Website and social media

The Hits website claims to reach 16,000 unique visitors a day, and 43,000 unique visitors and 164,000 page impressions a week. It targets women 35-44 with families, who are buyers of furniture, appliances, cars and holidays.[75] The website was launched in 2005, and redesigned in 2007, 2011 and 2014.[22] It currently features sections on recipes, parenting issues, videos, events, galleries, competitions and breaking news. The network has Twitter and Facebook pages, and each station has a Facebook page.[3]


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  36. Akuhata, Karla (2 February 2010). "Co-host faces a curly farewell". Fairfax New Zealand. Waikato Times. Retrieved 5 June 2015.
  37. "New Zealand Girls by Jason Reeves". SoundCloud. melhays. Retrieved 5 June 2015.
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  41. "Sarah gets a weigh in". YouTube. New Zealand Media and Entertainment. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  42. "Fiat Punto find its first home". YouTube. New Zealand Media and Entertainment. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  43. "Community Netball Sponsors". My Netball. Netball Waikato Bay of Plenty. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
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  49. "Simon Mardon is the Run Mahana King". iSaavy. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  50. "Classics of the Sky Tauranga Air Show". Classic Flyers. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  51. "Classic Hits Greymouth Motorcycle Street Race". Motorcycling New Zealand. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  52. "Advent Calendar - What's On". Waterfront Auckland. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  53. "The Home of Cycling announces new exclusive radio partner". Cycling New Zealand. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  54. "Classic Hits Driving Range". 2CU. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  55. Dickinson, A., Peacock, K., Fair, N., Thomas, M., Nicol, R., Mikkelsen, J., & Johnstone, L. (2009). The implementation and evaluation of an oral healthcare best practice guideline in a paediatric hospital. International Journal of Evidence‐Based Healthcare, 7(1), 34-42.
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  58. "To celebrate The Hits Kitty Cam". Facebook. New Zealand Media and Entertainment. Retrieved 5 June 2015.
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  65. 1 2 "Anderson and 3 Others and Cruise FM Waikato - 2012-133" (Authority decision). Broadcasting Standards Authority. 25 July 2013. Retrieved 5 June 2015.
  66. One example is GE Free Northland, which encourages its supporters to focus campaigns on Classic Hits."Writing to the media". GE Free Northland. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
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  69. "Second night without power for many in North". Northland Regional Council. Media release. 11 July 2007. Retrieved 5 June 2015.
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  71. "Civil Defence Website". Far North District Council. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  72. "Nelson Tasman Civil Defence". Nelson City Council. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
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  74. Francesca Lee. "Fresh digs for radio staff". The Christchurch Press. Fairfax New Zealand. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  75. "". Ad Hub. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
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