Newstalk ZB has hit its biggest audience ever, with Mike Hosking, Marcus Lush, Kate Hawkesby and the new Kerre McIvor Morning Show leading the charge.

Newstalk ZB has reached a record 555,579 listeners, up 48,287 listeners, according to the latest GFK independent commercial radio survey.

ZB has extended its lead as the number one commercial station across New Zealand and is in the top spot in the three biggest markets - Auckland, Wellington (first equal) and Christchurch.

Nationally, the station grew to a 12-point share (age 10+) - more than 3.5 points ahead of its closest rival - and in Auckland, its audience share grew 2.7 points, to a 14.6 share.

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The Mike Hosking Breakfast reached a 22.6 share in Auckland – ZB's biggest result in 18 years in the 6am-9am slot, and almost double its nearest breakfast rival. At the other end of the day, Marcus Lush is a similar juggernaut – with a staggering 24.7 share.

NZME managing editor Shayne Currie paid tribute to Newstalk ZB's sensitive and respectful coverage of the Christchurch mosque shootings and for leading the debate and discussion around the Government's now-scrapped capital gains tax proposal.

"The New Zealand media performed an important and critical role in the Christchurch tragedy, and aftermath, and Newstalk ZB epitomised this – not only for its accurate, up-to-date information and analysis, but as a trusted source for people to engage and discuss the impact on them personally.

"In a time of crisis, we have been proud of how all of our broadcasters rallied together around Christchurch to support the community and New Zealand."

Kerre McIvor has picked up where Leighton Smith left off – number one in Auckland with the same 11.6 share for Mornings – while the 9am-12pm slot (McIvor, Heather du Plessis Allan in Wellington and Chris Lynch in Christchurch) grew to a 9.5 share across New Zealand.

Kerre McIvor's Morning Show helped lift Newstalk ZB to a record level. Photo/File.
Kerre McIvor's Morning Show helped lift Newstalk ZB to a record level. Photo/File.

ZB head of talk Jason Winstanley praised the work of the entire station, saying the results reflected the hard work and commitment seen and heard every day.

"Without question, Newstalk ZB is home to the best radio talent. Our announcers, producers and news team work hard to deliver the best for our audience. I am so proud of our incredible team.

"From our first show of each weekday - Early Edition with Kate Hawkesby - through to Marcus Lush Nights, we are producing outstanding radio."

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Hawkesby has a 32% share in Auckland and is a dominate number one in her 5am-6am timeslot.

Winstanley also paid tribute to Drive host Larry Williams, who leaves the station today after 27 years - and who goes out as number one across New Zealand.

NZME head of entertainment Dean Buchanan said 2019 would be a big year for talent joining NZME with Simon Barnett and Phil Gifford reuniting on Newstalk ZB, and the recently announced Mike Puru joining Stacey Morrison on The Hits' Drive show.

"The quality of the content our stations are producing and the extension of this online and through social media means we continue to attract strong talent like Simon, Phil and Mike. With the recent additions of Tracey Donaldson on Mix and the new Flava line up, we are in for a formidable 2019."

Meanwhile, NZME – the owner of ZB, ZM, The Hits, Coast, Hauraki, Mix, Flava, Radio Sport and Hokonui - and partners once again retained the number one position in the all-important Auckland market for 10+ share and has over two million New Zealanders tuning in each week nationally.

Across the country, NZME has grown in both audience cume and share in the key 25-54 year old demographic.

NZME's iHeartRadio continues to connect Kiwi fans to their favourite music and radio personalities through thousands of live radio stations, millions of custom artist stations and podcasts. Registrations remain in growth mode, up 16%, to just over 863,000 registered users, with the podcast audience doubling year on year.

NZME chief commercial officer Matt Headland is thrilled to see NZME continue to punch above its weight in radio.

"Seeing growth across multiple stations, day parts, regions and demographics shows our teams are delivering content that is hitting the mark. When you consider the reach of NZME's overall audience across print, radio and digital, NZME is able to deliver for our clients time and time again."

NZME is the publisher and owner of the Herald.