Hits Taranaki radio announcer Emma Helleur is a finalist in the prestigious New Zealand Radio Awards.

Emma's daytime show, which airs on weekdays between 9am and 3pm, has been named a finalist in the Best Music Non-Breakfast Solo Host - Non-Network category.

Emma says she is thrilled that she has made it to the top three.

"Even if I don't win, just being a finalist alongside the other two announcers is a huge achievement. It shows me that I'm doing something right. I put everything into my show and I feel that has paid off with this nomination."

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Emma is no stranger to the awards, having been named a finalist in the Best New Broadcaster category back in 2012. Back then, says Emma, she had only just started on her career path in radio.

"I didn't actually set out to be an announcer. Originally, I thought marketing and promotions was the role for me. Over my career I did announcing here and there and loved it. I'm so happy this is the path I did eventually end up going down."

Since those early days, Emma says she has learned plenty on the job, and applies that learning daily.

"Every day I make sure my content is as local as possible. When it comes to breaking news in our region, I frequently have stories on my show hours, or even days before other media outlets. Obviously it helps being part of NZME, with the NZ Herald, Stratford Press and other news agencies, means we have access to plenty of great news coverage as well."

The award nomination is based on content from 2018, and Emma says the year certainly had plenty of local news for her to cover.

"Cyclone Gita and the fall out from that affected a lot of people. Schools had to close, thousands lost power and water. It was a big event. The Waverly car accident is something that affected the whole region. Together our hearts broke and we grieved."

While covering sad stories like a car crash can be hard, Emma says it is rewarding to be able to help people as well.

"We were lucky to have the opportunity, thanks to local businesses, to visit some Taranaki families and bring them Christmas gifts, a meal and a tree after they had gone through a tough year. It was an absolute honour to be able to surprise those families with the gifts."

As an entertainment-focused station, Emma says she and the team at NZME Taranaki work hard to make sure listeners also have plenty of fun reasons to listen.

"Our french fry day was really popular, and we also have lots of cues to call for the national Hits competitions running at any given time."

Emma says she tries to be open and honest with her listeners, to build a relationship with them.

"Sometimes that means talking about stuff in my own life too. I have had columns in the Stratford Press on things like my own weight loss journey for example, plus last year was the 20th anniversary of my little brother being fostered by my parents - they went on to get legal custody of him - which I talked about with my listeners.

"Sadly, 2018 was also the year that we were told that he was losing his battle with life and we will lose him in 2019. All of that went on air, through tears, to share with my listeners."

The support and response she receives in return, says Emma, is incredible.

"I would like to thank every single one of my listeners for tuning in. Whether you listen to stay up to date with what's happening in our wonderful region, or because you love the music we play, thanks to you, I have made it to the finals."

NZME radio brands including Newstalk ZB, Radio Sport, ZM, The Hits and Radio Hauraki are nominated across a range of awards.