Radio Hauraki's high-profile new host says the station has become "crap" and drastic change is needed - including widening playlists out from rock.
Martin Devlin, who quit RadioLive this year, will start as the new host of Radio Hauraki's Breakfast programme on January 7.
The 48-year-old began his career in music radio, and told the Herald he had much affection for Hauraki and its celebrated history. But he is frank about why he thinks listeners have abandoned the station in droves.
"The station was crap. Let's be honest about it - the station was a dog. And it needed a kick up its butt. And that's what [content director] Mike McClung was brought in to do, and that's what we were brought in to do." That would extend to broadening playlists beyond the rock music closely associated with Hauraki.
Devlin said there was an element of risk in any change.
"It's like anything new that you start, you ask people to give you a try ... There will be all kinds [of music]. We won't be playing Katy Perry."
Devlin will be joined on the new show by Laura McGoldrick, a host of Sky TV's cricket coverage.
Hauraki is owned by MediaWorks' rival The Radio Network. APN, the publisher of the Herald, is a joint owner of TRN.
Devlin said: "It's bitterly competitive, and there's a lot of money at stake, and there's a lot of pride and ego at stake."
War over Weet-Bix
Ratings for competing Auckland breakfast radio shows 6-9am, cumulative audience of males 25-54:
* The Rock - 24,400 (MediaWorks)
* Classic Hits - 12,600 (Radio Network)
* The Sound - 12,200 (MediaWorks)
* Hauraki - 8200 (Radio Network)
Source: The Radio Bureau, T2, 2012 Research International survey.