Breakfast off for Oscar Kightley

By Martha McKenzie-Minifie

Entertainer Oscar Kightley will not return to breakfast radio on Niu FM this year amid a shake-up at the broadcaster.

Co-host Teuila Blakely is also not returning to the show, while Mario Gaoa, another member of the Naked Samoans, will move to a different slot.

The loss of the high-profile team - who all appeared in the movie Sione's Wedding - drew criticism from some in the Pacific Island community served by the public service station.

It followed a drop last year in the number of Aucklanders listening to the show.

Chief executive Sina Moore said the move was not related to the radio ratings slump but followed a review of programming.

Ms Moore said the weekend show hosted by Sandra Kailahi - who also works on TVNZ's Fair Go - would also not return.

She would not release further details of the line-up until an official announcement mid-February.

"Programming line-ups change in radio and TV right across any media all the time, from time to time," said Ms Moore.

It comes ahead of Niu FM's merger with Radio 531pi next month.

The Herald understands the breakfast slot was likely to be filled by two significantly lower-profile hosts, including an existing announcer and one from Radio 531pi.

Pacific Island broadcaster Will 'Ilolahia, who worked as a producer at Niu FM last year, said Kightley was perhaps the world's best-known Pacific Islander and his loss was "a ridiculous move".

"For us, it just seems to be another mistake from an inexperienced management that has been happening for the last couple of years."

Niu FM had received around $20 million in Government funding since it launched in 2002.

Latest radio survey figures showed it took a 0.7 per cent share of listeners aged 10 and above during the commercial listening hours of 6am to midnight, a drop of 0.3 per cent on the same period a year earlier.

Satiu Simativa Perese, chairman of Niu FM's governing body, the National Pacific Radio Network, said the station was guided by public service concerns in addition to ratings.

He said major formatting changes were in the pipeline to further align the station with its public service objectives.

He said Kightley and Blakely's contracts had ended, but the pair maintained a working relationship with the station and it was possible they would work in another capacity.

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf03 at 19 Dec 2014 13:37:22 Processing Time: 546ms