Radio listeners in New Zealand would be hard pushed to believe there is a recession on.

Listeners around the country are being bombarded with on-air contests as stations scrap for listeners in the annual six-week ratings period. Prizes on offer include $100,000 in cash, smartphones, exotic holidays and petrol.

Radio Hauraki sent a listener to Thailand to fight a top-notch kick-boxer. He survived two minutes in the ring without getting knocked out, and won $10,000. Mai FM has five finalists willing to tie the knot during a skydive.

It's a serious business for stations.


MediaWorks owns The Edge, The Rock and More FM.

"During a ratings period it is fair to say we dial up the external marketing to create a bit more noise in the market," says Katie Mills, MediaWork's group marketing director. "The listeners are the winners."

David Brice, group general manager at The Radio Network, oversees ZM, Classic Hits and Coast. "Contests are an important part of the mix for a radio station because they bring fun and excitement to the listeners," Brice says.