New Zealand Media and Entertainment (NZME) is launching The Country, which will see its radio, digital and print brands merge to become the hub for all rural content.
The Farming Show, fronted by Jamie Mackay, will be renamed The Country to better reflect the wide scope of content from the programme. The show, targeted towards the farming industry, has become increasingly diverse, ranging from news and sport to politics and social commentary.
Murray Kirkness, acting managing editor of The New Zealand Herald, says expanding the reach of The Country is a natural progression.
"With the range of content Jamie and the team are covering on The Farming Show, it has become a programme for the whole country. It makes sense to increase its reach by broadcasting it across our channels. It has a strong following in the farming community and also plays a social role in helping bring town and country closer together, shedding light and a different perspective on everyday issues," Kirkness said.
The Land, published Thursdays within daily NZME regional newspapers, will also be rebranded The Country. All content will be housed on thecountry.co.nz under the rural section on the NZ Herald network.
Mackay says it's an exciting development that highlights the importance of rural New Zealand.
"The majority of us have a strong, albeit sometimes distant, identification with the land, whether it is time on a farm as a child visiting the 'country cousins' or something stronger. We are, after all, a nation built off the sheep's back. NZME's investment in The Country is significant and I'm excited about fronting it," Mackay said.
The show is broadcast noon-1pm weekdays and will maintain this time slot across three networks and 59 frequencies to 26 markets across the country. It will be broadcast on Newstalk ZB in regional and provincial markets, on Radio Sport in Christchurch and Wellington, and on Christchurch ZB (1017AM frenquency), and be available for all of New Zealand on iHeartRadio. There will be no changes to the Hokonui frequencies.
Kerre McIvor and Mark Dye will still be on Newstalk ZB in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch and nationwide on iHeartRadio while The Country will be heard in regional and provincial markets.
The Country will be rolled out in early May, with digital and radio changes launching on Monday May 2, and regional papers printing The Country the following Thursday.