Fans of The Beatles and David Bowie will have a new radio option within the next few weeks.

NZME has announced a new radio station. Photo / File
NZME has announced a new radio station. Photo / File

Dubbed Gold, the new NZME-owned radio station will feature a hybrid strategy that combines a greatest hits playlist on FM frequencies with a rural and sport element added into the Gold AM frequencies.

The new station, which launches on July 1, will occupy the FM frequencies currently held by The Mix and the AM frequency previously reserved for Radio Sport.

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FM listeners will receive a steady stream of the greatest hits - including The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Prince and The Police - while AM listeners will also have their own breakfast show targeted specifically at the rural community.

NZME is yet to announce the full lineup of hosts for Gold FM but has announced the Country Sports Breakfast show will be hosted by Lee Piper, sharing heartland New Zealand focused content and delivering a good dose of sports content.

Popular rural show The Country with Jamie MacKay will also broadcast across the Gold AM network every weekday from midday, when it is also broadcast on Newstalk ZB.

Gold AM will broadcast Newstalk ZB Sports live sports commentary (Super Rugby and ANZ Netball) on weekends and weeknights.

From a strategic perspective, Gold AM targets heartland New Zealand, particularly those aged 45 and above.

Asked why NZME is eager to appeal to this demographic, NZME chief marketing officer Katie Mills pointed to the advertising opportunity presented by this group.

The station will play classic hits from artists like David Bowie. Photo / Getty Images
The station will play classic hits from artists like David Bowie. Photo / Getty Images

While NZME does broadcast Coast, Mills said that NZME had decided to add a brand to its portfolio dedicated to those older than 45.

"This audience is certainly under-served when they are in fact a key demographic," said Mills.

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"We've created an environment to super-serve these fans -  deliberately lighter on the chat and leaning into tracks that have stood the test of time."

Research released by advertising giant WPP earlier this year showed that New Zealanders over 50 commanded the most spending power in New Zealand but didn't like the way that brands, organisations and marketers communicated with them.

The research showed that over-50s account for 34 per cent of the population, 59 per cent of the private wealth and have access to 49 per cent of the disposable income in New Zealand.

While media companies often push hard to reach younger consumers, the research showed that the over-50 demographic outspends millennials across categories and accounts for 41 per cent of all car sales, 43 per cent of all travel and 45 per cent of all alcohol sold in this country.

Mills said the playlist selected is designed to specifically tap into the memories and nostalgia or this group.

"This is the music they know and love from their formative years," Mills said.

"It's the music that was with them with all of their firsts - first kiss, first job, first car, first partner, first child – it's timeless. And it continues to be one of the biggest formats, even providing perhaps the biggest soundtracks of 2019 with two of the biggest movies in Rocket Man and Bohemian Rhapsody."

Another advantage in targeting this demographic is that they don't need to be coaxed into listening to the radio, says Mills.

"This audience is made up of highly engaged and heavy radio users," she says. "They're the generation that have loved and listened to radio as their main source of music discovery from some of the most formative years of their lives."