Revamp at talk radio

By Jonathan Marshall

One of New Zealand's oldest radio stations is to be revamped in a bid to attract a younger audience.

Talks are under way to transform Radio Pacific - a favourite among the 55-plus set - from a talkback station into a station devoted solely to sport.

"But that is just one of our options," said programme director, Mitch Harris, who confirmed that strategy meetings with Radio Pacific's owners, the TAB, and RadioWorks, the managers, have been taking place over the past month.

While Harris said any announcement on the future of the talk format was premature, he conceded it was time to consider the station's future.

Harris said since the departure of Auckland mayoral candidate John Banks - the former breakfast host - the network's executives had been brainstorming about what the next chapter would be. It is understood discussions have revolved around a schedule similar to Radio Sport, with interviews and commentary, and the addition of horse-betting information.

A younger audience was also thought to be desirable.

Banks, who began work at the station in the early 90s and won best new broadcaster at the New Zealand Radio Awards, described the end of Radio Pacific in its current format as "the end of an era".

In recent years, Banks said, the station had become health and wealth orientated and "a lot of people have made a lot of money selling supplements and giving financial advice to listeners".

The former Auckland mayor and National MP said with the advent of sister station Radio Live, the end of Radio Pacific in its current format was inevitable.

Hosts at the station include Martin Crump, Alice Worsley, Lindsay Perigo, Timothy Giles, Alan Dick, Ewing Stevens and Merv Smith.

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