Radio Sports tenure on the Tauranga FM frequency was short lived after management decided to pull the plug shortly after eight months.
Die-hard sporting enthusiasts will now be forced to tune back into the 1521 AM frequency from today with hip hop station Flava taking over the broadcasting slot.
Radio Sport will be broadcast solely on the AM frequency after an eight month period on Tauranga’s 99.0FM.
In June last year the Radio Network added four new FM frequencies in the main centres of Auckland, Tauranga, Hawke’s Bay and Wellington in the aim to broaden the potential audience for the station.
At the time, The Radio Network group general manger content David Brice said moving to FM would attract a new market to the station and further strengthen the appeal with an even wider audience.
“A large part of the listening audience never thinks to visit the AM dial. I’m very pleased that we are going to deliver an enhanced listening experience for the Radio Sport audience using the superior broadcast quality of FM.”
However, Radio Network Bay of Plenty Region general manager Andrew Love says this shift back to AM is totally a business decision with annual survey results released in October showing audience listener numbers remaining the same during the initial four month period.
“At the time we had a spare frequency and decided to broadcast the show simultaneously on both the AM and FM frequencies.
Andrew says this is because listeners do not tune into the station every day, like ZM or Hauraki, rather when major sporting events are in action.
“It’s silly to have Radio Sport broadcasting on FM and AM when you can strongly pick it up everywhere on the AM.
“It’s still there as strong as ever and people still tune in.”
The installation of Flava, aimed at listeners aged between 18 and 34-years-old, comes as a result of public demand and businesses spotting an opportunity to advertise through the station.
“Flava is a popular station and there has been constant listener demand for the station to return.
“We’ve listened to that feedback and are thrilled Flava is coming back to Tauranga on its original frequency 99FM.”
Initially launched eight years ago, Radio Sport began as a FM station before being shifted to an AM frequency when the Radio Network bought Hauraki into the market.
During that time it has risen to become New Zealand’s most popular talk-radio style sports station with about 160,000 listeners every week.
The Radio Network will operate seven stations in Tauranga which in addition to Flava also includes Newstalk ZB, Classic Hits, ZM, Radio Hauraki, Radio Sport and Coast.